Wash up. Never skip cleansing your face before you nod off. "It's the cardinal sin of skin care," says New York City-based dermatologist Macrene Alexiades. "This is the skin's time to repair and rejuvenate."
Use a cream with benefits. What was good enough in your mother's day just doesn't cut it anymore. For a night cream that's more than moisture, retinoids are a sure bet. With over 40 years of clinical research behind them, retinoids have been proven to reduce brown spots and reverse sun damage, increase exfoliation and collagen production, and even treat acne (all while you snooze). Over-the-counter retinols (less potent vitamin A derivatives) have the same anti-aging benefits and are less irritating, although they take longer to delive results.
Treat beyond your face. Don't stop facial care at your jawline. Take it down a notch -- directly to the delicate skin of your neck and décolleté. The same cleansers, sunscreens, serums, and night creams you apply to your face can also treat those areas.
Blot out spots. Fine lines aren't the only age giveaways. A 2006 study linked sun spots and discoloration directly to age perception?so even without telltale wrinkles, brown-speckled women were thought to look older. New research shows that inhibiting the production of melanin (age spots and freckles are formed from this chemical found in the skin) may help prevent new spotting, and that creams containing natural lighteners like soy, licorice extract, or kojic acid are helpful. At the doctor's office, combat spots with a prescription for hydroquinone, the only FDA-approved ingredient for skin lightening.
Sleep smarter. Which side do you sleep on? Your dermatologist can tell just by looking at the side of your face where the wrinkles are the deepest. To avoid compression wrinkles, train yourself to sleep on your back. Bonus: no pillow creases to rub away before you dash out the door!