How to Look Younger – Anti-Aging Tips

Maybe this sounds familiar: You find a photo taken a decade ago at the bottom of a drawer. It shows you barefaced, grinning, while hiking with family or friends. Back then, you thought that without makeup, eye crinkles clearly visible, this photo made you look old. If only you could get that look back now! Plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and the makers of many face creams will tell you that you can, but their wares can be expensive and invasive. We asked dermatologists what affordable, at-home steps will help restore your more youthful appearance. Here are six moves that research proves can deliver; two are even free!

Step 1: Shun the Sun

Why this works: Repeated sun exposure eventually leads to brown spots, fine wrinkles, deeper creases, and sagging skin. If you need proof, just look at the skin on the underside of your arm where the rays are less likely to reach. Does it look smoother and less blotchy? “What the sun does is fast-forward your aging clock,” says Doris Day, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. “Around age 40, you cross that line — your collagen and elastic tissue have experienced enough damage to really start showing a change. You look in the mirror, and uh-oh, you can no longer ignore it or easily cover it up.” Protecting your skin year-round will help prevent you from further accelerating your age.

What to try: To start, make sure you always have broad-spectrum protection with an adequate long-wave UVA shield, says Richard Glogau, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. “Those UVA rays give you the wrinkles and the muddy skin tone that ages you,” he says. Dr. Glogau recommends UVA filters like Mexoryl and Helioplex, which provide longer-lasting protection. Try Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunblock SPF 90+ ($9.49, drugstores) or Lancôme UV Expert 20 Sunscreen SPF 20 ($35, department stores). Also use a product — like these — with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect against burns. Get even better coverage by including antioxidants like vitamins C and E and pomegranate extract in your protection. “Antioxidants boost the benefits of sunscreen. They help neutralize the damage caused by UV light,” says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a dermatologist at Boston University Medical Center. Try C.O. Bigelow All-in-One Protective Day Lotion SPF 25 ($19.50, Bath & Body Works), which contains vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidant-rich berry extracts, and UV protection. Of course, behavior counts, too: Whenever possible, avoid midday rays. Wear a hat and sunglasses (less squinting). If you want some color, try self-tanner. We like Jergens Natural Glow Health Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20 ($9, drugstores). Or go with your own glow. “It will definitely help you look younger,” says Dr. Day.

Years younger: 5. Within six months, your sun-protected skin should appear smoother and more even-toned, says Jeffrey Dover, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine and coauthor of The Youth Equation. The catch: You have to continue protecting skin daily and avoiding the harsh rays, or you’ll redo the damage.

Next: The power of retinoids

Step 2: Smooth Lines with Retinoids

Why this works: In studies dating back over the past 20 years, they have been shown to help soften the look of fine lines and brown spots by increasing collagen production and normalizing skin-cell activity. “These vitamin A derivatives have a better-established track record than any other wrinkle-reduction creams,” says Dr. Glogau. Even the milder, nonprescription-strength retinol may reduce the effects of chronological aging — albeit more gradually. When University of Michigan researchers applied a .4 percent retinol lotion to one of the study participants’ upper inner arms as many as three times a week for 24 weeks, skin biopsies revealed that that arm had more of the building blocks that make skin smooth and resilient than the untreated arm.

What to try: The biggest challenge with retinoids is dealing with the potential side effects, such as redness and peeling skin. Your skin will, however, build up a tolerance, usually within six to 12 weeks. Retin-A is still the gold standard in prescription strength, though there are several less-irritating options — costing $100 per tube on average — including Retin-A Micro, Differin, Avage, and Tazorac. Researchers continue to seek ways of making retinoids more tolerable; one theory currently being tested at the University of Michigan is that using an ultra-mild facial cleanser and moisturizer will help calm the irritation. (The study findings are still a few years away.) Dermatologists also suggest you ease into using one: Apply a pea-size amount at night (sun exposure makes retinoids less effective), and try it every second or third night until your skin handles it better. If that’s still too irritating, go with an over-the-counter retinol. These formulas are less potent, but are still effective. Try L’Oréal Paris Advanced Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Creme ($20, drugstores) or DermaDoctor Poetry in Lotion Intensive Retinol 1.0 ($75, Sephora).

Years younger: 6-7. You should start to see an improvement in a matter of weeks with a prescription formula, but don’t stop there. “Keep using it,” says Dr. Dover, who claims he can always spot a woman on a prescription retinoid because her skin looks “too good” for her age. Over-the-counter retinol converts to the active form, called retinoic acid, at a lower concentration — but the benefits will start to show up after a few months if you stay with it.

Step 3: Load Up on Antioxidants

Why this works: Antioxidants act as scavengers that neutralize free radicals — the particles that, in skin, cause sun damage and wrinkles, and can lead to skin cancer. They can also help protect against damage from environmental assaults like pollution and smoking, says Dr. Hirsch. Though there is still some debate about whether they can reverse sun damage, at the least they deliver modest skin brightening, says Dr. Dover, since better-protected skin appears more even-toned.

What to try: Some foods are loaded with antioxidants that are beneficial to the body overall, “but most people don’t eat enough of them to benefit skin,” says Dr. Hirsch. She recommends ingesting them and applying them topically. Look for vitamins C and E, pomegranate, idebenone, soy, green tea, niacinamide, and coenzyme Q10 in the top half of a product’s ingredient list to get the most benefits from these often-pricey potions. Try Vichy Liftactiv CxP Bio-Lifting Care ($43, drugstores) or Desert Essence Organics Age Reversal Pomegranate Face Serum ($15, Whole Foods).

Years younger: 1-2. If your skin immediately radiates youthfulness after slathering on an antioxidant-rich cream, thank your moisturizer; antioxidants won’t work that fast. You have to keep using them for five or six months, says Dr. Dover, to see the benefits. After that time, not only should your skin tone be more even, but some of the fine lines may smooth out, and drier-looking skin will appear revitalized.

Next: Why sleep is so important

Step 4: Sleep Well

Why this works: Lack of sleep definitely saps your glow, instantly aging you (think puffy, red eyes). But it also affects your skin in stealth ways: Fatigue causes cortisol, the stress hormone, to rise sharply. “If cortisol is chronically high, it can age you by breaking down collagen in skin,” says Amy Wechsler, M.D., dermatologist, psychiatrist, and author of The Mind-Beauty Connection. Just one nighttime sleep disruption can prompt your immune system to turn against healthy organs and tissue: When researchers at UCLA interrupted volunteers’ shut-eye from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., they found that sleep loss triggered the body’s inflammation response; curiously, this effect was found in women only.

What to try: “The one thing that seems to ring true for everyone is to pick a bedtime, and then an hour beforehand, no more BlackBerry-ing, e-mailing, or TV news,” says Dr. Wechsler. “Instead, read a novel, watch something funny on TV, or have sex.” Cortisol is at its lowest when you’re sleeping, during exercise, and after sex, she says. Then, if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, do something that bores you, like reading your least favorite section of the newspaper (hello, sports page).

Years younger: 2-3. If your skin is aging due to lack of zzz’s, improving your sleep habits will definitely give it a youth boost. “It’s hard to know exactly how much younger you will look by sleeping more,” says Dr. Dover, “but when someone who doesn’t get enough sleep or tends to stress a lot comes back from a relaxing holiday, she almost always looks a few years younger.”

Step 5: Exfoliate Gently and Often

Why this works: At-home peels or even a simple face scrub can make your complexion look much more youthful and radiant and may also boost collagen production, says Leslie Baumann, M.D., director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute. “It’s one of the best ways to see a quick difference,” she says. As you age, skin tends to be drier and dead cells cling to the surface, giving it a rougher texture. When you shed those dead cells with a scrub or peel, it enhances the functioning of your skin: Water-retaining cells come to the surface, and active ingredients in your skin care — like antioxidants and retinoids — penetrate better. “Regular exfoliating is also therapeutic if you have acne-prone skin,” says Dr. Glogau. One caveat: People who have sensitive complexions or rosacea should skip this step — or at least exfoliate less often — since those dead cells actually shield skin from irritation.

What to try: The most effective, least expensive options are grainy scrubs that have small, round particles. Try St. Ives Elements Microdermabrasion ($7, drugstores) or SkinEffects Cell2Cell Anti-Aging Exfoliating Cleansing Scrub ($10, CVS). “The particles should be smooth and feel like sugar in your hand,” says Dr. Baumann. If they are too big or rough, they can tear skin. At-home chemical exfoliators work more slowly and may cost more, but they too help loosen dead cells. If manual scrubs are too harsh for your skin, choose a chemical wash with glycolic acid, or try a gentler salicylic acid formula (it may also treat acne). Try Aveda Enbrightenment Brightening Cleanser ($35, aveda.com). And if you’re also using a retinoid, try sloughing skin twice instead of three or four times weekly.

Years younger: 2-3. There are two provisos, say experts. First, you’ve got to stick with it to keep seeing improvement. You’ll get even better results by also doing monthly doctor’s-office peels (glycolic acid or microdermabrasion), which remove the upper layer of skin and may stimulate collagen production. Second, you’ll benefit the most if you combine this step with one (or more) of the others listed here.

Next: Replenish skin with moisture

Step 6: Add Moisture

Why this works: By menopause, the majority of women need a daily moisturizer. “It’s what gives skin that smooth, radiant look,” explains Dr. Glogau. In fact, most skin care that promises to improve the look of wrinkles in just a few weeks is probably doing it by moisturizing.

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What to try: Effective hydrators include those, like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, that draw water into the skin, and others that prevent water from escaping, such as petrolatum and lanolin. Try Dove Deep Moisture Facial Lotion SPF 15 ($7.49, drugstores) with glycerin. Natural moisturizers, like olive, sunflower, and coconut oils, can also hydrate skin; skip them, though, if you’re prone to acne. Try: Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic Under Age Ultra Hydrating Moisturizer ($21, Whole Foods) with sunflower and grapeseed oils. What won’t work: drinking more water. There’s little evidence that staying hydrated internally can do anything to reduce wrinkles, though if you’re dehydrated, water will definitely give your skin a smoother look.

Years younger: 2-3. Though they have to be reapplied in order to keep up the benefits, moisturizers can help you look a few years younger almost immediately, says Dr. Glogau.

Can light make you look younger?

Handheld LED machines — scaled-down versions of the ones in dermatologists’ offices and spas — promise to stimulate collagen, improve skin texture and tone, and smooth fine lines when their red and/or infrared light is directed at your face. True? The Good Housekeeping Research Institute put five recently introduced devices and their anti-aging claims to the test. Volunteers followed each manufacturer’s protocol, using the handheld gizmos daily to once a week for four to six weeks. But with very few exceptions, testers’ fine lines and wrinkles were unchanged after the prescribed periods. The bright spots: Evis M.D. Platinum Red LED Rejuvenating Facial Light ($295, department stores) and Tända Regenerate Anti-Aging Starter Kit ($275, Sephora) improved sunspots, pores, and skin texture in lab evaluations. The bottom line: Though you may get some skin benefits from at-home LED devices, these costly, time-consuming treatments appear no more effective than a good face cream at turning back the clock.

What’s your skin’s real age?

This is no ordinary beauty quiz. It was created for The Mind-Beauty Connection by Amy Wechsler, M.D., by two scientists — Axel Goetz, M.D., Ph.D., and Harriet Imrey, Ph.D., both researchers with RealAge, an anti-aging Website in San Diego — who pored over a decade’s worth of peer-reviewed scholarly papers to find a scientifically valid way to measure how old you look versus how old you are. Before you answer the 13 questions on the next page, either shower or wash your face; then dry off and rub in some moisturizer (it won’t affect your visual exam). Look in the mirror without smiling. Finally, add up your score using the box below. (Note: You must be between the ages of 27 and 81 to get a valid result.)

Next: Take the quiz!

beautiful skin

How Old Is Your Skin?

1. Is the skin of your cheeks (and maybe your forehead, too) smooth or sagging?
A. Smooth
B. Somewhat sagging
C. Sagging and forming jowls on my jawline

2. Do you have bags under your eyes?
A. No
B. Small ones
C. Distinct bags

3. Are your upper eyelids drooping, almost touching your upper lashes?
A. No
B. Slightly

C. Definitely

4. Do you see fine lines on your forehead and/or cheeks?

A. No
B. Some
C. Quite a few

5. Do you see deep wrinkles on your cheeks?
A. No
B. Yes, some deepening wrinkles
C. Yes, several deep wrinkles

6. Do you see smile lines leading from the corners of your nostrils to the corners of your mouth?
A. No
B. Yes, soft lines
C. Yes, very clear lines

7. Do you see crow’s feet at the outer corners of your eyes? 
A. No
B. Yes, slight lines
C. Yes, marked lines

8. Do you see wrinkles under your eyes?
A. No
B. Yes, fine wrinkles
C. Yes, very marked wrinkles

9. Are there any frown lines running horizontally across your forehead and/or vertically between your eyebrows?
A. No
B. Yes, slight lines
C. Yes, very marked lines

10. Do you see fine vertical lines above your upper lip?
A. No
B. Yes, a few
C. Yes, many

11. Do you see fine up-and-down lines on your lips?
A. No
B. Yes, some
C. Yes, many

12. Instead of the coloring on your cheeks or forehead being even, do you have any small red dots or uneven coloring?
A. No
B. Some dots or uneven coloring
C. A lot of dots and uneven coloring

13. Do you have any milia on your forehead or cheeks (milia are small bumps that look like little whiteheads but don’t go away)?
A. No
B. Yes

Determining your skin’s age
To figure out just how young or old your skin really is, circle the points for each answer, then add them up.
1. a=0; b=3; c=6
2. a=0; b=1.5; c=3
3. a=0; b=1.5; c=3
4. a=0; b=1.5; c=2.5
5. a=0; b=1; c=2
6. a=0; b=0.5; c=1.5
7. a=0; b=0.5; c=1.5
8. a=0; b=0.5; c=1.5
9. a=0; b=0.5; c=1.5
10. a=0; b=1; c=2
11. a=0; b=1; c=2
12. a=0; b=7; c=14
13. a=0; b=5

TOTAL POINTS+ 27 =THE AGE OF YOUR SKIN

Did your skin turn out to be younger, equal to, or older than your chronological age? If it’s older, don’t panic. Just imagine how good you’re going to feel when you take up to seven years off your face with the plan in this article. If this quiz shows that your skin is younger than the number on your driver’s license, use the plan as maintenance. Ironically, the longer you’ve been neglecting your complexion, the bigger the difference you will see when you take this quiz again in six months.

Aging Skin Makeup Solutions

Change up your palette and erase years from your face.

There is no age limit on beauty. Every season of life, however, brings challenges and changes. One of those opportunities is to revisit and reinvent your look.

When it comes to makeup, don’t settle for what worked for you decades ago. Open yourself up to a new approach that fits who you are now.

Hiding Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Some women mistakenly draw attention to the fine lines and wrinklesaround their eyes by overdoing the area with makeup. Wrinkles become more noticeable as the makeup settles and cakes into lines.

Prevention begins with a moisturizer. Celebrity hairstylist Billy Lowe, beauty expert for television shows such as Extreme Makeover and TLC’s 10 Years Younger, says, “After you wash your face in the morning, apply moisturizer while the skin is damp. That will plump it up and even it out, helping makeup glide on.”

Don’t forget to moisturize around your eyes. “Start with a silicone-based eye serum that will gel to the concealer and prevent it from slipping,” Lowe says. “Packing on the makeup to cover lines or dark circles will bring out the creases.” Avoid using heavy concealers that will look cakey around the eyes.

Makeup instructor Bridget Winton says to learn the bone structure and features of your face. “Focus on your bone structure to lift the face,” she says. “Give yourself a youthful look by using lighter and darker shades to make hard lines soft and soft lines hard.”

For example, work with a foundation that is one or two shades darker than your foundation to “lift” a sagging chin. Cover the darker area with a translucent powder.

How to Brighten Aging Skin

If your skin looks dull, use warm colors to brighten up. Experts suggest using a foundation that is a half-shade lighter than your skin tone.

To dim dark circles under your eyes, apply foundation that’s a shade lighter than your foundation to the area. Top it with a concealer and then add a loose powder to set the makeup and hide the color difference.

Illuminators and bronzers can also add a sun-kissed glow. But don’t overdo it; a bad fake tan can make you look older. Get a more natural glow by blending the bronzer into your moisturizer or foundation and then applying it evenly to your face. A loose powder just one or two shades darker than your skin tone can also add warmth.

Spritzers and moisturizing sprays help set makeup and give skin a dewy look, Winton says.

Apply moisturizer and sunscreens as a base each morning, and reapply sunscreen throughout the day. You Wash it all off every night and try a heavier, nighttime moisturizer.

“You know the saying, ‘an ounce of prevention,'” Lowe says. “Take care of your skin at any age.”

Soften Your Colors

Ruby red may have been your signature lip color since your 20s. But as you mellow with age, so should your color palette. “You don’t want bright, vibrant colors that call attention to the eyes, lips, or cheeks because they will draw attention to damage and not blend with the skin,” Winton says. “You can still stay with the harmony of your hair and eye color, just do it with softer colors.”

“I’m a sucker for soft tones. I use them on everyone,” Lowe says. “I like neutrals and pastels and find they complement aging skin well.”

Black mascaras and eyeliners are appropriate around the eyes. If your hairis gray, you might try a softer mascara color, such as brown or gray.

Eyelashes also tend to lose their volume and thickness over time. A volumizing, defining mascara will plump them up. To make them even fuller, “apply a very fine layer of translucent powder to the lashes in between two coats of mascara,” makeup artist Jemma Kidd says. You might consider having your lashes and brows tinted with semi-permanent color as a longer-lasting alternative, but never do that yourself.

Plump Lips

Your lips can thin with age. But there are ways to make them look full again.

Choosing the right color for thinning lips matters. Again, avoid strong colors like red. Those can make lips appear even thinner. Peach and beige colors, lip glosses, and tawny liners make them appear fuller and more defined.

Liners can help complete the illusion of fuller lips. Draw just on the outside of the lips and fill in with color, but don’t to make them too rigid. “Most people use the pencil to outline the lips first,” Lowe says. “This creates too much definition in the lining of the lip. Instead, use color first and then line the lip. It gives it a softer line that is still defined.”

If you have feathery lines around your lips, use matte lipsticks and lip liners to keep lipstick from bleeding into them. Kidd recommends mixing a good lip balm with your favorite lip color for a glossier, more subtle look.

The 5 Stages of Buying Expensive Makeup

We’ve all been there.

In the makeup universe, there are a plethora of drugstore brands that sell their makeup for affordable prices. And don’t get me wrong, they’re awesome.

Sometimes, however, you’ll find that a drugstore brand simply can’t satisfy your craving, whether you’re coveting a limited-edition eyeshadow palette or a long-lasting foundation that perfectly matches your skin tone.

This is when you bite the bullet and shell out for an expensive product.

Hundred Dollar Bills

Stocksnap.io

Whenever I think a product might be worth its outrageous price tag, there’s always an epic internal struggle before I buy it. All makeup lovers can relate to pining over hyped-up products with earth-shattering price tags.

These are the 5 stages all beauty fanatics experience when making an expensive makeup purchase:

1. Denial

“There’s no way this $75 makeup product is worth my hard-earned money!”

“The drugstore has products that are just as good!”

“I have complete control over myself and my wallet, and will NOT be buying this!”

Woman Looking Serene

Stocksnap.io

Whenever I see an expensive piece of makeup, my first instinct is to immediately tell myself that I can live without it. Most of the time, I’m able to convince myself that’s true. (Hooray for drugstore dupes!)

Some products, however, really get caught in my mind. Which brings me to the second stage…

2. Anger

“Who gives the green-light for these outrageous prices??”

“This foundation better have life-altering abilities for THAT price!”

“Why is this $120 eyeshadow palette calling MY name, specifically?! Go bother someone else!”

Woman Covering Face with Hand

If an expensive product intrigues me enough and I can’t talk myself out of it, I then start feeling anger towards:

  1. Whoever talked this product up online to make me want it.
  2. The company for charging an arm and a leg.

Basically, I’m looking for someone to blame for my weakness, when in reality I know I have no one to blame but myself. Sigh.

I try to move past this stage as quickly as possible since I always come to the same next step….

3. Bargaining

“If I’m going to miss out on this amazing product, I really deserve some good karma.”

“Please, give me the strength to resist the temptation!”

“Maybe if I delete my Sephora app I won’t have any more urges to buy anything…”

Woman in Deep Thought

We’ve all tried internally negotiating with ourselves to avoid spending a big sum of money on something that isn’t a “necessity”.

For me, most of these unnecessary purchases consist of various makeup and beauty-related items, which is why I have more makeup than any one human should need in his or her lifetime (as my mom describes it).

In a predictable turn of events, I then … drumroll please … usually move right past this phase and end up spending the money anyway.

Which leads me to…

4. Disappointment

“There is no hope for my wallet.”

“I can’t believe my whole paycheck is going straight into Ulta’s cash register.”

“Why am I so weak when it comes to fancy makeup??”

Sad Girl Looking Out Window

Whenever I decide to make an expensive purchase, I immediately feel disappointed in my lack of willpower. It’s not so much that I can’t control my makeup-related spending habits, it’s more that don’t really want to

And thus, I’m disappointed in myself all over again.

Luckily, my mental gymnastics don’t end there, friends. There’s a fifth stage I ultimately reach:

5. Acceptance

“Just think of all the reward points I’m going to get from this one purchase!”

“I’m going to cherish this product for the rest of my life (or just the rest of the year!)”

“I can’t wait to go to a special event that calls for such a pricey product!”

Girl Smiling While Holding Shopping Bags

When the money has officially fled your bank account, the pain is lessened by holding your new makeup and realizing that you actually own it now (after all that agony).

If I have made it to the acceptance stage, that usually means the product I ended up buying was worth all the pain in the end.

I really like to prolong this stage in the buying process, because I know that when the next month rolls around I’ll be going through all 5 stages again.

Does this all sound familiar?

Are you well acquainted with the five stages of makeup splurging? (Tell me I’m not alone.) What’s the most expensive makeup product you’ve purchased recently?

Can You Shrink Your Pores?

Being a micromanager isn’t all bad. Show your pores who’s boss and score smoother, more radiant skin.

Model with clean makeup

Gentl & Hyers

The age-old idea that you can shrink your pores—using anything from a splash of ice-cold water to an egg-white mask—is a fantastic one. Sadly, it’s also a fantasy: “Pore size is genetically determined,” says Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist in New York City, and you can’t make pores physically smaller. So to a certain extent, you have to accept what you were given. But there are things you can do to minimize the appearance of your pores.

Pores: A Primer

Those tiny dots you see on the surface of your skin are actually the openings of hair follicles. Each one contains a sebaceous gland, which produces your skin’s oils. (Pores are more noticeable on parts of the face, like the forehead and the nose, where the sebaceous glands are bigger.) The size of your pores depends primarily on your genes. Typically, says Jaliman, fair-skinned people have pores on the small side; those with olive or darker skin have larger pores. Your skin type, too, can play a role. Naturally dry skin tends to appear poreless, while oily skin often has more-visible pores.

Several other factors can affect pore size. Dead skin cells and trapped sebum—which, put together, form a pimple—can stretch out pores. UV rays weaken the collagen that supports pores and keeps them tight, so they can also make pores look bigger. Similarly, the collagen loss that comes naturally with aging can increase the appearance of pore size. And picking at or squeezing a pimple can cause trauma to the skin, which may permanently widen the pore.

Easy Pore-Minimizing Strategies

The key to making pores appear smaller is to keep them clear. During the day, stick with noncomedogenic moisturizers and makeup; avoid products that contain heavy ingredients, like petrolatum and mineral oil, both of which may irritate pores and make them look bigger. Always wash your face with a gentle cleanser before bed to prevent the day’s dirt and makeup from clogging pores, says Heidi Waldorf, a dermatologist in New York City. (For product suggestions, see below.) Cleanse before and after working out, since sweat can carry cosmetics and debris to pore openings, where they’ll settle in and stretch the skin. When you cleanse, consider doing it with a power brush, such as the Clarisonic MIA Skin Cleansing System ($129, sephora.com). The company’s research shows that its system is more than twice as effective as using your hands to wash your skin.

Exfoliating is also crucial, since it removes pore-enlarging dead cells from the skin’s surface, says Jaliman. Exfoliate daily if your skin is hardy and doesn’t get red, one to three times a week if your skin is sensitive. Choose an over-the-counter gel, mask, or lotion that contains a proven sloughing ingredient, such as alpha hydroxy acids, retinol, or fruit enzymes. If in addition to having large pores, you tend to break out, choose a lotion with salicylic acid instead, says Patricia Farris, a dermatologist in Metairie, Louisiana. Try Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($13, amazon.com). It will exfoliate while treating blemishes. And remember: When you exfoliate, you need to use an SPF 15 product daily, since removing dead cells can make skin more sensitive to UV light.

RELATED: How to Fake Fresh, Dewy Skin

Dewy skin tout

 

Stronger Solutions

For stubborn pores, you’ll need to take your treatment to the next level. A dermatologist can prescribe a more powerful exfoliant, such as Retin-A Micro. In-office glycolic or salicylic acid peels are also a good way to keep pores clear, says Waldorf. You’ll probably need at least three treatments, at a cost of about $100 each. For even more dramatic results, Jaliman likes to use a nonablative laser. The procedure is quick, taking about 20 minutes, and is designed to increase collagen, which tightens pores. Although you’ll see results in a single treatment, most patients need two to three, at a cost of about $500 each.

And in a pinch? Apply a silicone-based primer under your makeup. Try Benefit the Porefessional ($31, benefitcosmetics.com). It will temporarily fill in tiny holes so you appear (practically) poreless.