Wednesday, August 13, 2008

5 ways to save face


The most important face-saving product is sunscreen. One of the best is Anthelios with Mexoryl made by LaRoche, said Dr. Spencer Holmes, a Park Nicollet dermatologist. It's pricey ($30), but it lasts longer and protects against UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Still want that glow? Try spray-on tans, bronzers or self-tanners. Check out cosmetics guru Paula Begoun's top picks at, which reviews more than 35,000 products ($25 annual fee).

Skin care regimen

A good skin-care regimen includes gentle cleansing, moisturizing, protecting and correcting, said Eagan dermatologist Dr. Charles Crutchfield. Try Cetaphil or Purpose cleanser and a fragrance-free moisturizer. For correction and protection, Retin A is still one of the best for reducing wrinkles, smoothing skin and stimulating collagen. Start with the generic Tretinoin, said Holmes, available by prescription for about 30 percent less than Retin A. Some patients experience redness, flaking and burning initially. Apply every other day or twice a week with moisturizer to reduce irritation. Begoun suggests moisturizers and exfoliants with alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids and antioxidants.

Botox and fillers

Botox is the most powerful wrinkle reducer for the upper face, and fillers such as Restylan are best for the lower face, said Edina plastic surgeon Dr. Edward Szachowicz. For smoothing the forehead and crow's feet quickly, purified botulinium (Botox) reduces lines by blocking muscle contractions that cause wrinkles. It lasts about three to six months. Downside: Botox can cause bruising and swelling and persistent lumps. Cost: Doctors charge per unit, which runs about $12 to $17. A typical botox treatment is 30 units. Fillers run $500 to $1,200 per syringe.

Chemical peels

Acid solutions brushed on the face lift away upper layers of skin. The peels fade freckles, age spots and stimulate collagen. Weaker solutions of up to 12 percent can be done in salons or at home. A doctor's stronger solutions go up to 80 percent and while they are more effective, they are also more irritating to the skin, said Crutchfield, who charges $75 per peel for 12 peels over six months. The procedure can take 10 years off your face, he said. Downside: Can result in severe burns if not used properly. Results are not as immediate as a laser treatment. Cost: Some peels cost $250 or more per treatment.

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