skincare tips

Photo: Diego Uchitel

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Diffuse redness is often caused by rosacea, a chronic inflammatory condition sometimes accompanied by itching or burning. Treatments with a pulsed-dye laser or intense pulsed light can mitigate the redness for six months. There's currently no topical treatment for flushing, but doctors have high hopes for brimonidine, a soon-to-be-available topical vasoconstrictor that can reduce flushing for up to 12 hours. When rosy cheeks are accompanied by pimples, a topical antibiotic, like MetroGel, or low-dose oral antibiotics can stop the breakouts. For patches of broken blood vessels, two treatments with a pulsed-dye laser should greatly diminish them; expect to be bruised for several days.

Exfoliators fade dark discoloration by sloughing away the upper layers of the skin; options include retinoids, over-the-counter glycolic lotions and peels, and scrubs that buff away dead skin with tiny beads. The bleaching agent hydroquinone is also effective, but it's usually a better choice for concentrated areas of darkness. For fast and dramatic lightening, a doctor can intensively exfoliate the skin with a series of peels (usually glycolic acid) or several laser treatments (like the Fraxel Restore or the Palomar Emerge). Discrete dark spots can be erased with a Q-switched laser; you'll see some scabbing but be back to normal within a week.

As your skin and the soft tissue beneath it lose elasticity, your cheeks begin sagging. A thick hyaluronic acid filler, like Perlane or Voluma, can be injected over the cheekbones for some lift. A welcome side effect: When your cheeks are lifted, your nasolabial folds (the lines that run from your nose to the corners of your mouth) become less pronounced, says New York City plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono, MD.