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March 2, 2012

Anti-Aging Time Management

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Whatever area you want to target, get the best results from topical treatments and other procedures by boosting your efforts with simple lifestyle changes. Even little things like chewing gum or using straws or, of course, smoking can contribute to lip wrinkles, says Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu: "All that puckering creases the skin and accentuates fine lines — so cut it out!"


3 to 6 months: Fight crow's-feet, lip lines, and acne scars. Start using a prescription retinoid to fight those outer-eye wrinkles, stat. Wu also swears by the Affirm machine, a noninvasive, fractionated laser that zeros in on lines around the eyes and lips via three treatments spaced a month apart, from $900 each. And Stevens recommends cutting-edge LaViV (about $3,000), injections a derm harvests from your own fibroblasts — cells that provide the structural framework for collagen — which may help erase acne scars and those annoying marionette lines between your nose and mouth.

1 month: Lift your face, neck, and frown lines. "I use Botox for vertical neck 'bands' and downturned corners of the mouth that make you look like you're frowning," says Wu. Her latest trick is a new technique out of Asia. "By injecting the filler Juvederm [about $560] deep into the cheekbone, temple, or jawline, a person's own muscles and fat are subtly lifted back into the position they were years ago. It's a more natural look compared with pumping filler just into the cheeks, which is quicker and easier but can give you a blowfish look."

1 week: Get a flawless face and décolletage. Ask your dermatologist for an LHA (lipo-hydroxy acid) peel, $300, for face and chest. "It's great for mild breakouts and minimizes large pores," says Wu. For those living in cooler, drier climates, "use a humidifier. It will help prevent dry skin."

1 day: Reduce under-eye bags and chapped lips. Wu has specific instructions for her celeb clients when they want to look amazing for an event: Be sure to avoid salt after lunch the day before. And she instructs them to sleep on an extra pillow later that night to encourage drainage. And don't forget a thick slick of Aquaphor on your mouth before bed for soft lips the next day, she says.

5 minutes: De-puff eyes. Wu suggests taking an antihistamine like Claritin, then dunking two cotton balls in cold soy milk (it contains several anti-inflammatory components), squeezing out the excess and holding over your closed eyes to shrink swelling.

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