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June 16, 2009

Top 10 Secrets from the Skin Experts

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Water, paper, chemicals: all enemies of soft hands. "You have to fight back every day," says Jan Arnold, founder of Creative Nail Design, whose posh polishes are now a runway favorite. "First, exfoliate to slough off the dead cells. Then, while skin is moist, slather on a cream rich enough to compensate for how few oil glands your hands have." (Most body or face creams don't cut it here.) "Treat your hands to a paraffin-wax dip next time you're getting a salon manicure," adds Arnold. "Wax enables hydrating ingredients to penetrate deeper."

Always hard to fight: heredity and hormones, the chief causes of dilated "spider" veins. But not impossible. "Lasers, which are so effective in other cosmetic procedures, don't work on big veins and often bring about bruising," explains Steven Victor, M.D., director of Victor Dermatology & Rejuvenation in New York City. "Injections are faster, easier, and cheaper." Some dermatologists, including Victor, prefer polidocanol injections over the more painful saline, which causes veins to collapse and disappear. Two to six rounds are usually necessary, at $375 per session.

Nothing beats a razor for quick hair removal. Invest in a sturdy one to ensure a shave that's close but not treacherous. Let your skin soak up some water for a few minutes (this is why shower time is ideal), so that hair is literally standing at attention, which makes it easier to lop off. Prepping skin with a protective shaving gel with hydrating vitamin E is best, although your hair conditioner will work in a pinch. New to the market: razors with built-in creams and gels. Love 'em.

Celebrity podiatrist Suzanne Levine, DPM, treats the non-glam side of glamorous people: yellowed toenails, fungi, calluses, and fissures. "I can tell someone's age the moment they take off their shoes," she says. Prevent dead-skin pileup by using a pumice stone in the shower — and don't be tempted into using a razor."That will only cause more skin to grow back," says Levine. Pamper your feet with occasional moisturizing facial masks, and take a pedicure holiday on occasion: Let nails go lacquerless once in a while, and brighten up the natural nail by swabbing on hydrogen peroxide.

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