Photo: Roger Neve
A Spotless Décolletage
A retinoid cream—either prescription, like Retin-A, or over-the-counter (look for retinol in the ingredient list)—will lighten discoloration and soften rough patches caused by sun damage. Two to four treatments with a KTP laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) can more dramatically minimize both the brown spots and redness caused by UV exposure. (Cost: At least $500 per session.) A fractional nonablative laser, like the Fraxel Dual, greatly improves not just the color but also the texture of the skin. You'll probably need at least two treatments. (Cost: Around $1,000 each.)
A rich shaving cream and a four-blade razor (try Bic Soleil Bella, $7) are all you need to get smooth legs for at least a day or two. Laser treatments can drastically reduce the amount of hair on your legs (or bikini line or underarms) for good. After three monthly sessions, most patients have 50 to 80 percent less hair in the treated area, says Tina Alster, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center. (Cost: About $350 for each laser session.)
Self-tanner works like magic to make leg veins less noticeable. Try L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Clear Self-Tanning Gel ($10.50) for natural color and nonstreaky finish. Sclerotherapy—in which a solution is injected into individual veins—will get rid of those blue squiggles permanently. Until recently, most doctors used saline, which could sting, but many have now switched to the painless Asclera, made with a detergent solution called polidocanol (approved by the FDA last year). Two or three treatments are usually necessary, and the veins look worse before they get better in about a month. (Cost: Around $350 per treatment.)
While a stretch mark or scar is still red (which can last from months to years), three or four treatments with a Vbeam pulsed-dye laser will improve its appearance considerably, says Arielle Kauvar, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Medical Center. (Cost: At least $300 per session.) Once the mark has turned white, the best treatment option is a nonablative fractional laser. Four or five sessions can improve the mark's color and texture from 50 to 90 percent. (Cost: $400 to $1,600 each.) For an immediate fix, use a heavy, full-coverage concealer (like Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer, $22); match it to the darker skin around the mark.
Next: How to firm up your whole silhouette, from your love handles down to your knees
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