If you spend the holiday season eating all the wrong foods, sleeping too little, and celebrating too much, there’s a good chance that your complexion is going to look worn and lackluster. But once you begin the right skin-care routine, “you can start seeing superficial improvements, like tighter, smoother skin, in just a couple of days,” says Ellen Marmur, a New York dermatologic and cosmetic surgeon. Get going now with our top skin picks.
The skin around the eyes is the thinnest, which is why it tends to age first. Get your lids looking younger fast with twice-daily use of one of these new eye creams. Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica Eye Youth Generating Eye Balm ($44) contains plant extracts that deliver high doses of moisture for long-term benefits and mineral skin brighteners for immediate luminosity.Olay Age Defying Instant Hydration Eye ($12) infuses skin with antioxidants and vitamins for speedy plumping effects.
You could spend all day layering on skin-care products, but moisturizing twice a day is by far the most crucial if you want to maintain healthy skin. Make your morning routine a little less chaotic with a day cream that contains sunscreen protection, like Estée Lauder Advanced Time Zone Creme SPF 15 ($65). Surprisingly, says Marmur, “wintertime is when you get a lot of the sun that causes brown discoloration like melasma,” especially if you go skiing. “The risk of skin cancer and UV damage is most dangerous at higher altitudes.” Before going to bed, apply a rich, soothing cream with regenerative benefits, like Lancôme Absolue L’Extrait Regenerating Ultimate Elixir ($350) or SK-II LXP Ultimate Revival Cream ($350). Each contains a soothing rose extract that rejuvenates the skin.
You’re wearing SPF and moisturizing day and night. Now, to target the big issues like hyperpigmentation, sagginess, and stubborn wrinkles, add a serum. “Serums deliver high concentrations of antiaging ingredients directly into the skin, and they absorb faster than when applied through a rich moisturizer,” says Eric Schweiger, a New York dermatologist. Follow up with your SPF day cream. To boost moisture, try Darphin Hydraskin Intensive Skin-Hydrating Serum ($76), and Kate Somerville KateCeuticals Restor8 Replenishing Serum ($165) to fill lines and lighten dark spots.
If you don’t already have Retin-A, Renova, or a skin-care product with retinol in your medicine cabinet, purchase it immediately. Retinoids are still the gold standard when it comes to evening your tone and texture, reversing sun damage, shrinking pores, and reducing wrinkles — and you can see benefits in one week. Although prescription retinoids have a reputation for causing irritation, there are over-the-counter options that yield similar results with less sensitivity. For maximum benefits, apply it in the evening before your night cream, since “the sun degrades retinol, making it inactive,” says Marmur. Try Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution ($85) and StriVectin-ARAdvanced Retinol Night Treatment ($109).
Women in the know are buzzing about Venus Freeze, a new, pain-free treatment that, despite its name, uses heat to lift and plump the skin on your face and neck, with results after just one session. It may sound too good to be true, but “what makes Venus Freeze revolutionary is that it uses radio frequency and magnetic energy to increase blood flow and help stimulate collagen production,” says Schweiger. “This is not a face-lift, so you’re not going to get the same results as with invasive procedures. But you also won’t have any downtime; we have patients who come in during their lunch break and return to work immediately after.” Although it takes two to six months to see the effects of increased collagen, “there is an immediate firming post-treatment,” says Harold Lancer, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. “With cumulative visits, long-term firmness occurs.” After your doctor cleans your skin, a small device is glided over the desired area for 20 to 30 minutes. Schweiger recommends undergoing six to 10 sessions spaced a week apart for optimal results. And while the treatment is safe for all skin types, “people under 60 usually respond best,” adds Lancer. It’s too soon to know how long the effects will last, but annual follow-up treatments are advised. Prices range from $400 to $800 per session.