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Roseanne Colletti

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Anti-Age Attack

Posted: 02/19/09 09:39 AM ET

Okay, so there's a recession and maybe you lost your job or fear you will lose it.

That's enough to make you look and feel older, and at a time when that's the last thing you need to look and feel. So, how do you turn back the hands of time without turning over a lot of cash to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

"You'll get the most bang for your buck with Botox, plain and simple," says Manhattan dermatologist Dr. Robyn Gmyrek of Columbia Eastside. "You get both an immediate reduction in wrinkles injected as well as a long-term benefit by weakening the muscle. While you'll have to repeat the treatment a few times a year, it's the best way to stretch your face-saving dollar."

On the other hand, Botox treatments are still too rich for many wallets, leaving rejuvenation in a jar the only alternative. But which jar, tube or bottle and how do you connect the dots to erase the lines on your face? According to Dr. Gmyrek there are six essentials no dressing table should be without.

#1 Retin-A: The vitamin A cream stimulates new collagen production and exfoliates the top dead skin layer to give your skin a healthy glow. That makes you look younger.

#2 Sunscreen: But don't just grab one off the shelf. Look for one containing not only spf protection for UVB rays associated with skin cancer, but also one containing mexoryl SX, for preventing wrinkles caused by UVA damage. Dr. Gmyrek likes Anthelios SPF 40, now more readily available in drug stores.

#3 Vitamin C Serum: This high potency ascorbic acid stimulates new collagen and serves as an anti-oxidant to prevent environmental damage. You have to be careful in your selection because the vitamin C is not necessarily an active ingredient and inactive C will do you little good. Call the manufacturer's 800 number and ask for details if you're uncertain.

#4 Micro-Dermabrasion in a Jar: These granular products exfoliate the dead skin cells and reveal the fresher face beneath. Use once a week, not every day.

#5 A Gentle Cleanser: Avoid anything that makes your skin feel too tight after you use it. On the other hand, some people complain some products are too mild and leave them feeling, less than clean. This one is a real balancing act and comes down to whatever works for you.

#6 A Good Moisturizer: Regardless of all the glossy ads you see, you don't have to spend a lot. In fact, for the delicate eye area a dab of petroleum jelly is as good, if not better, than anything else.

That's it. You can assemble all of these tools for around $150 and they last a long time.You really don't have to spend on anything else. However, If you have uneven skin tone or brown spots that make you nuts, you may want to add in just one more thing.

#7 A Bleaching Agent: Ask your doctor about hydroquinone. You can find a 2% formula over-the counter. 4% requires a prescription.

What you don't want to do is use too many different things at one time or you will end up in the dermatologist office with a mess that used to be your face. Dr. Gmyrek says when she sees patients in that situation, she tells them to stop using everything for awhile. A lot is not better than a little in this case and starting slowly one product at a time is best.

The regime Dr. Gmyrek recommends is use of Retin-A at night, the vitamin C serum in the morning before your moisturizer and sunscreen and moisturizer. You didn't get those wrinkles in a wink and you can't wink them away overnight.

If you want to see more of my stories, go to www.nbcnewyork.com.