How to fix the 9 worst signs of aging
A little line here, a sag or bag there -- your body may be giving away your age, or even making you look older than you really are. But here we've got the best ways to tackle these trouble spots, with at-home fixes or with the latest medical technology.
--By Laurie Herr, Health.com
Dull, thinning hair
Childbirth, certain medications, and stress all can cause temporary hair loss, but hormonal shifts that happen around menopause may lead to permanent thinning.
At home: Beginning from the scalp, gently pull a small hank of hair all the way to the tips of the hair. If more than six hairs come out, you have a thinning problem. Dexter Phillip, owner of New York City's DEX salon, recommends Esuchen Hair Care products to add body and shine. Another option: Rogaine, which is available over the counter.
At the doctor's office: Ask for blood tests to rule out lupus, thyroid disease, or anemia. Hair loss is often a sign that something else is wrong, so take it seriously.
Nora Ephron wasn't the only woman in America to feel bad about her neck. Crepey skin leads to the dreaded "turkey neck."
At home: Pamper delicate neck skin with a moisturizer that contains peptides for collagen production. To draw attention away from your neck, look for tops with ruffles or prints or wear a long necklace, says Alison Deyette, wardrobe expert for TLC's 10 Years Younger.
At the doctor's office: Fraxel laser treatments can improve the skin's texture, while Botox can soften vertical lines. Some doctors use Thermage or ReFirme, radiofrequency and light devices, to stimulate production of collagen in the neck.
Loss of tissue and fat makes breasts lose their fullness. Gravity, breast-feeding, lack of proper support, and lower levels of estrogen make the girls head south.
At home: Stand sideways in front of a mirror with your elbows bent to 90 degrees. The fullest part of your breasts should hit halfway between your elbows and shoulders, says Patti Ficorilli, a bra fitter for Maidenform. If they're low, tighten the straps. If they're still dragging or if your bra hikes up in back, it's time to get a new bra.
At the store: Ask for a professional fitting. Once you know your size, try on several different styles. Seamed cups offer the most support. If you're full-busted, consider minimizer styles, which can make you look up to an inch smaller.
A loss of collagen leads to less volume, making veins stand out more. Brown spots and other signs of sun damage begin to make their debut, too.
At home: Apply a sunscreen daily on the backs of your hands to prevent further sun damage. Keep hands well-hydrated, says New York City cosmetic dermatologist Lisa Airan, MDs. And ditch the dark polish -- pale shades look more modern and take the focus off your hands, says Rodrica Constantin, national trainer for nails at the Red Door Spas.
At the doctor's office: Laser treatments can repair sun damage, and fillers can plump up hands that have seen better days. There's also photodynamic therapy (a light-based treatment typically used to fade age spots), which may stimulate collagen production.
Years of punishing your feet in ill-fitting shoes can cause painful bunions, cracked heels, and calluses.
At home: Moisturize cracked heels at bedtime. Shop for comfortable shoe brands like Aerosoles, Söfft, or Cole Haan, which builds Nike Air cushioning into dress shoes and boots.
At the doctor's office: Cortisone injections or surgery are options for painful bunions.
Wimpy brows and lashes
Changing hormones can make eyebrows and lashes sparse. Years of over-tweezing damage the eyebrow follicles, making it harder for hairs to grow back.
At home: Jeannie Mai, makeup expert for TLC's 10 Years Younger, suggests this trick for covering thin spots: Use a small-angled brush to fill in with soft strokes of pressed eye shadow in a shade that matches your hair color. False lashes are another option. "I put them on when I'm having a tired day, and it makes a huge difference," says Amanda Sanders of New York Image Consultants.
At the doctor's office: Ask your doctor about Latisse (bimatoprost), an Rx solution used to treat glaucoma that's also approved by the FDA to stimulate eyelash growth.
Wrinkled knees and elbows
Who wants elephant elbows or knees? Lax skin creates wrinkles, and dry, flaky patches tend to appear.
At home: Soothe dry skin with moisturizer containing ammonium lactate or urea -- both help moisture get through the skin barrier. Take the focus off wrinkly knees by giving your legs an allover glow with tinted body moisturizer. And exfoliate elbows with your favorite cream or brush.
At the doctor's office: You could consider a knee lift like Demi Moore famously had done. But here's a better idea: Sign up for a yoga class. Poses that strengthen the quadriceps (e.g., Chair, Warrior I, and Warrior II) support and strengthen the knee joints, and also tighten the surrounding skin and muscle. If dry, droopy elbows bug you, ask about skin-tightening injections.
Fine lines and wrinkles
A loss of collagen and elasticity reduces skin volume, causing fine lines and wrinkles. Repeated muscle motions -- laughing, squinting at the computer screen, sipping lattes through a straw -- etch crow's-feet around the eyes and marionette lines near the mouth.
At home: Prevention is the best treatment, says Tina B. West, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in Atlanta. She suggests adding these basics to your skin-care routine: antioxidants (which help fight free radicals), sunscreen (look for an SPF of at least 30), and retinoids.
At the doctor's office: See a doctor for treatments like Botox, fillers, and lasers. In general, think Botox for the upper part of the face (forehead lines, that crinkle between your eyes) and fillers for the lower half (laugh lines, thin lips).
Tooth enamel wears away over time, exposing yellow beneath and making your smile gummy and more prone to stains.
At home: Brush-on whitening gels in trays tend to work better than strips, says cosmetic dentist Debra Glassman.
At the doctor's office: Debra Gray King, a cosmetic dentist in Atlanta and an expert on ABC's Extreme Makeover, says Zoom! Professional Teeth Whitening gives the best results: "In less than an hour, your teeth can get five shades whiter."