Get younger looking skin overnight! Banish fine lines and wrinkles instantly!

You've seen the ads, but face it. Products claiming to deliver instant skin miracles just don't work. If it were that easy to be wrinkle-free and have glowing skin, every woman would look 16 again. In reality, your skin is a complex, multipurpose organ that changes with each passing birthday.

Putting the Care in Skin Care

To stay healthy and functioning properly, your skin renews itself through natural shedding about every 30 days.

"As we age, the shedding process slows down, we produce less collagen, the moisture level in our skin declines and the fat beneath our skin starts to thin," says Wendy Williams, a licensed medical esthetician who operates her practice at Capital Women's Care in Clarksville, Maryland. "Because skin is the largest organ of the body, it's vital to take care of it daily."

Williams acknowledges that nothing can reverse skin's aging process, but many skin care services can support its continued health and make it appear more youthful – counteracting the visible effects of poor diet, sun exposure, lack of sleep and aging. In addition, you can avoid premature aging of your skin by practicing good skin care from an early age.

Cradle to College

"The most critical product at any age – and especially vital from birth through your twenties – is sunscreen," Williams states. "Although it's not as sexy as some new products on the market, sunscreen is still the best anti-aging product available – you should wear it every day, year round."

Cleansing teenage skin twice a day is key to treating the increased oil production – caused by hormone fluctuations – which can lead to pimples. Cleaners containing salicylic or glycolic acid help control oil and clear away dead skin cells. For dry skin, Williams recommends cleansers with soothing ingredients, like aloe vera or chamomile.

In your twenties, normal healthy skin is firm and glowing. "Make a decision to keep it that way," urges Williams. Now is the time to add an antioxidant to keep your skin radiant. Choose a product containing vitamins C and E, green tea, white tea, kinetin or grape seed extract.

30 Something to Fabulous at 40

Those days at the beach are catching up with you. The skin under your eyes begins to thin, dark circles and fine lines start appearing, you might notice a few age spots and, yes, you may be battling acne. Welcome to your 30s.

"During this time, your skin's shedding process slows down significantly," says Williams. Environmental damage over the years causes the skin's collagen production and elastin fibers to decrease and weaken. In addition, being a woman on the go – juggling responsibilities with kids, career and home – can be exhausting. It shows in your dull complexion.

"It's time for a peel," confirms Williams. "Artificially removing the outer layer of skin with a chemical peel or microdermabrasion is the best way to stimulate the body's natural process of skin renewal." Regular peels or microdermabrasion can make your skin better hydrated, less pigmented and more youthful looking.

Particularly in your 40s, Williams suggests, it's time to use antioxidants, bleaching creams, moisturizers and retinoids to improve the look of your skin's texture and to minimize discoloration from accumulative sun exposure. 

Foxy 50s to Still Supple at 60

Maturing skin is thin and sensitive. Fluctuating and waning hormones can cause dryness and breakouts. Though your skin's aging process is in high gear, you can still make considerable changes to the health and appearance of your skin in your 50s and 60s.

"This age is still a perfect time to visit an esthetician," Williams says.

She recommends products with salicyclic acid to minimize breakouts and slough off dead surface cells. "Maturing women should invest in the right collagen-boosting serums, alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids and rich moisturizers," adds Williams. "And, don't forget the sunscreen! At this age, your skin is more prone to burning."

Peeling Back the Years

As you enjoy life's journey, don't let your skin give away all of your secrets. With chemical peels and microdermabrasion, healthy skin can help you look as good as you feel – at any age.

"Think of me as a personal trainer for your skin," says Williams. "I evaluate your skin's needs and determine which treatments and products are best for you and your lifestyle."

She recommends 4 to 6 chemical peel treatments for the best cumulative effect. The treatments involve applying an alpha hydroxy acid – like glycolic acid (from sugar cane) or lactic acid (from milk) – to the skin to promote shedding. The extent of exfoliation depends on the type of acid, its pH and the condition of your skin. The results are smoother skin surface and texture; a minimized appearance of lines and wrinkles; increased production of collagen and elastin; and reduction of hyperpigmentation (dark spots).

If you're prone to breakouts or clogged pores, Williams suggests a beta hydroxy acid peel. This salicyclic acid treatment is lipid (oil) soluble to penetrate the skin's pores – refining the look of large and clogged pores, making lines and wrinkles less visible and fading pigmentation problems. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of beta hydroxy acid, this is an ideal treatment for acne and mild cases of rosacea.

Microdermabrasion uses harmless sand-like crystals to exfoliate the skin's surface without the use of acids. With a series of 5 to 10 microdermabrasion treatments, you will see a reduction of fine lines, decreased acne and acne scarring, an evening-out of skin tone and a lessening of visible sun damage.

You take care of your heart and lungs with exercise. You brush your teeth for optimal dental health. So, don't settle for fine lines, age spots or a dull complexion when smooth, glowing skin can easily be yours. When your skin looks healthy, it usually is healthy – and functioning properly. Look as good as you feel: Improve the health and look of your skin today!