Chances are, a few things you'd rather not, from traces of laugh lines to the beginning of crow's-feet. But with the help of skin-care ingredients that really work, and some common sense, you can minimize the signs of aging and keep your face smooth and glowing for years to come.
RULES TO LIVE BY1. Protect your skin from the sun. It causes nearly 95 percent of aging, from fine lines and rough, mottled skin to sagging. You should wear a full-spectrum sunscreen every day of the year -- even indoors, since UVA rays can pass through windows, says Marianne O'Donoghue, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, in Chicago. Typically, a moisturizer with SPF 15 is adequate. But if you'll be outside for longer than an hour at a time, use a full-spectrum sunscreen (that guards against both UVA and UVB rays) with SPF 30. The best UVA blocks: products with Parsol 1789, titanium dioxide, or micronized zinc. To properly protect your face, you'll need to apply a blob about the size of a quarter.
2. Use anti-aging skin-care products with one or more of the ingredients dermatologists swear by: alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), vitamin A derivatives, and vitamin C.
3. Apply moisturizer daily. Even a product without specific anti-aging ingredients can plump up the skin so fine lines are less noticeable, says Deborah Sarnoff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine. (If you're breakout-prone, use an oil-free moisturizer, like Nivea Visage Shine Control Mattifying Fluid.) Moisturizing also protects against wind, heat, and pollution.
4. Wear sunglasses with full UV protection. They'll shield the eye area from sun damage and help prevent squinting, which deepens crow's-feet and frown lines.
5. Change the way you sleep. Lying on your stomach or your side puts pressure on your face and can contribute to wrinkles, says Kathy Fields, M.D., clinical instructor of dermatology at University of California Medical Center at San Francisco. Try sleeping on your back with a neck-roll pillow, or if you prefer your side, shift your pillow so you lean on your ear rather than on your cheek.