A combination of earlier magazine work and new blog posts

Youth in a Jar

You don’t have to spend a fortune to maintain a youthful glow

Curious to see what was new in the fast-changing world of skin care creams, I recently popped into one of New York’s famous luxury department stores. I was price-shocked. A yam and soybean cream was $500 for 1.7 ounces! Another seemed a bargain at $375. When I examined the ingredients, I instantly realized I could duplicate these outrageously priced fountains-of-youth from the shelves of my local drugstore.

Beauty mantra: Moisturize!

It’s never too early to start moisturizing. Many young girls think it’s not necessary, but trust me, the time from your first kiss to your first anti-aging cream is shorter than you think. By 20, skin starts losing its elasticity. Environmental factors like second-hand smoke, sun and pollution take a toll. I’ve been moisturizing since my teens, and while genes help, good skin products keep the aging clock at bay. And remember these are not your mother’s moisturizers-the smart shopper can take advantage of scientific breakthroughs in skin care.

Breakthrough ingredients: Good-for-you vitamins like antioxidants A, C and E are now in everything from sunscreens to moisturizers. Minerals like copper, aluminum and zinc have spilled over to the skin care shelves. Copper: A natural collagen-building mineral essential for firm skin. Scientists have figured out how creams can deliver minerals like

copper deep into the skin where they are effective. One of my favorite lines is Neutrogena’s Visibly Firm, whose products gently replenish the copper your skin loses. Lab tests show that after a few weeks, users have firmer skin, softer lines and less puffiness. Both the face lotion and eye cream contain sunblock, so they’re great to use before running out of the house.

Peptides: Olay has followed the latest developments with its Regenerist line-ranging from daily serums to perfecting creams to night moisturizers. All have an “Amino-Peptide Complex.” Behind the fancy name is a great skin saver, including an amino acid compound (not real acid, so don’t worry about the skin!) that stimulates collagen. Olay throws in vitamins like B and E, and some light-diffusing ingredients that soften the skin’s appearance. Studies show that 80% of women thought their skin looked better after eight weeks.

L’Oreal has stayed abreast of what’s new with their Revitalift line. It has Dermo-Peptides to freshen the skin, while the L’Oreal Visible Results

creams have “active-cell” to encourage the body’s own vitamins to more thoroughly protect your skin.

Coenzyme Q10: Not to be left out, Nivea Visage Q10 Plus is one of my faves. The line includes day, eye and night creams, and also a daily lotion. All have vitamins A and E, sunscreens and, more importantly, two of the skin’s natural age fighters, Coenzyme Q10 and Biotin. Q10 is the body’s wrinkle control agent and Biotin aids skin in restructuring for firmness. Combined by Nivea, these products give back the anti-wrinkle power your skin loses with age.

Soy: Finally, don’t overlook soy, Asia’s wonder ingredient. Studies show that active soy added to moisturizers minimizes the appearance of unwanted facial hair, making it softer, finer and less noticeable in as little as two weeks. Try Aveeno Positively Smooth moisturizer to help reduce troublesome hairs.

Zinc oxide: Used in ancient Egypt to heal wounds, Zinc Oxide has found new life as the best sunblock available. You don’t want to make your skin look flawless and then destroy it with too much sun, so start using year-round products like Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer. It has a 30 SPF, is non-oily and goes on sheer, and comes in tinted or untinted.

Want to keep your face looking luminescent, even-toned and youthful?

Remember a few simple rules.

Use gentle non-soap cleansers like Cetaphil, put on sunscreen before going outdoors and moisturize morning and night. You can look great without buying those ridiculously priced face creams, and you’ll have saved money to spend on other fun things.