Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Looking Great This Summer—and Beyond
Nourish Your Neck
Why: The skin on our necks, more delicate and thinner than facial skin, loses elasticity faster.
The fix: There are a few ways to reshape sagging on the neck; all depend on the type of sagging you have. One of the more common: two defined folds that run from under the chin to the lower neck. Relaxing those bands with Botox can make the neck look softer and firmer for about six months, but treatment can be expensive, says Mary Lupo, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine. The only surefire fix for more general sagging is a neck lift, which, according to Kyle Choe, MD, director of facial plastic surgery at the Laser Skin & Vein Center of Virginia, typically involves lifting both the neck and lower face to create a distinct jawline and taut neck-at $7,000 to $9,000 plus ten days' downtime. Tightening lasers and infrared devices such as Fraxel and Titan are showing encouraging early results. "But they're not a substitute for surgery," says David McDaniel, MD. "They're simply an alternative for people who don't want a lift or aren't ready for one." Because sagging is difficult to improve, Leslie Baumann, MD, preaches daily prevention: Use a moisturizer with SPF, and retinoids, such as Differin or Retin A.
Moisturize Your Body-All of It
Why you're dry: Dry heat, hot showers, harsh detergents, and... forgetfulness? It's true: Eighty percent of us claim to have dry skin, according to Olay, the global skincare brand, but only 43 percent moisturize daily. You do the math.
The fix: "Moisturizer draws water into the epidermis and prevents it from escaping," says Howard Murad, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA. And because they work best on wet skin, new in-shower body lotions-which you use after cleansing, like a conditioner, to hydrate and soften skin-make a lot of sense. They also make it easy to moisturize (or remember) hard-to-reach places like our back and stomach. Most formulas contain a humectant, such as glycerin, to attract water and a concentrated dose of ultraemollient petrolatum to lock it in. The real trick for scientists was getting the stuff to stay on when you rinse. David Canestrari, senior research and development manager for Unilever Skin Global Innovation Center, says that their in-shower lotion (Suave Skin Therapy Skin Conditioner, $3) has a slight positive charge, so it adheres well to skin, which naturally has a slight negative charge. (Whatever. It works.)
Smooth the Cellulite
Why you've got it: In women, fat is stored in honeycomb-like sacks. When these sacks expand, they push up into the dermis, compressing connective tissue and creating visible dimples in the skin.
The fix: "You can't 'cure' a woman of cellulite, because she needs this stored fat for pregnancy and lactation," says Mitchel Goldman, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Diego. You can temporarily smooth lumps by stimulating blood flow to help eliminate fluids and by strengthening the walls of the "honeycomb" compartments. A recent French study proved that when Endermologie, a combination of suction and deep massage with rollers, is performed twice a week for eight weeks ($80 to $120 per session), it can reduce the appearance of cellulite for up to six months. Another procedure, the TriActive System, incorporates a low-energy laser, a skin-cooling mechanism, and suction massage to stimulate collagen, circulation, and lymphatic drainage. It's painless, says Goldman, and study results seem promising. VelaSmooth, the newest cellulite machine, uses radio frequency, infrared light, suction, and massage to increase blood flow and push fat cells back into the fat layer, where they won't show through the skin. Both VelaSmooth and TriActive can reduce cellulite by 40 to 60 percent after 12 to 16 sessions (at about $200 each).