Most of us layer on several facial potions a day in the pursuit of younger-looking skin, while slathering our body skin with nothing more than a thin coating of lotion. The problem with that: "Much like skin aging on the face, the body endures the same effects from sun damage, maturing, heredity, and hormones, including wrinkling, sagging, and spotting," says Marina Peredo, M.D., a dermatologist in Smithtown, New York. It's the same reason why we so often see women with facial skin that looks like porcelain, but a décolleté that resembles leather.
So should we use our face products on our body, too? Not exactly. "The skin on the body is thicker than that on the face, so facial anti-aging treatments don't penetrate as well," she says. Plus as we get older, cell turnover slows down. The result: a buildup of dull, dry skin, and uneven patches that further block the way for active ingredients. To remedy this, Peredo suggests exfoliating one to two times a week with a glycolic acid-based product. Try Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash ($30; dermstore.com). Regular sloughing will not only leave skin smoother and more radiant, but it will also help any anti-aging products you layer on top penetrate better. Another benefit: Brown spots (an unwanted side effect of too much unprotected sun) will also fade with exfoliation.
Another (easy!) way to get younger-looking body skin: Upgrade your daily lotion. Peredo recommends moisturizers with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, protective antioxidants (like vitamins C and E), collagen-stimulating growth factors, and firming ingredients such as caffeine, seaweed, or CoQ10. We like Jergens Age Defying Multivitamin Moisturizer ($5; walmart.com) with vitamins A, C, and E. If your formula doesn't contain at least SPF 15, layer it with a separate sunscreen. "While it's important at any age, as we get older it's imperative to protect delicate and exposed skin from harmful UV rays -- especially the skin on the chest, neck, and hands, which gets exposed most and is thinner than other parts of the body," she says.