Over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments may help deflate under-eye bags, helping to tighten and smooth the skin. Also, green tea bags contain a natural anti-inflammatory chemical, which can reduce fluid buildup that contributes to puffiness. But these are temporary fixes at best. More permanent solutions include injectable wrinkle fillers or a surgical eyelift.
Lots of things contribute to dark circles, including heredity and genetics, and fatigue makes dark circles look worse. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, exaggerating the appearance of dark circles. Excess pigmentation and dilated blood vessels under the skin are often the underlying cause. The best treatment for your dark circles depends on what type you have.
If you have dark circles caused by thinning skin, laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments can vaporize the blood vessels that are the underlying cause of the discoloration. If they are due to pigmentation issues -- a common problem for both African-Americans and Asians -- skin-lightening treatments, such as hydroquinone, can help. If your problem is the result of shallowness beneath the eyes that casts a dark-circle shadow, your best bet is wrinkle fillers.
Laser rejuvenation procedures, such as CO2 laser skin resurfacing, YAG (yttrium-aluminum-garnet) laser surgery, and intense pulsed light, can rejuvenate and tighten the skin. There are several types of nonsurgical treatments, used either alone or in combination, that can help tighten skin in a sagging neck and jowl. Botox can be used to diminish the visible bands on the neck, and products that contain skin-firming ingredients, such as niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and hexamidine, can be helpful in treating milder signs of aging.
Chemical peels and antioxidants can be useful for rejuvenating the look and feel of the skin, improving the appearance of skin discoloration, sun spots and dull skin texture, but they are not as helpful for improving sagging skin. And dermatologists say that collagen products that are applied to the skin will not penetrate and remain as intact collagen.
Hydroquinone is a one of the most effective treatments available for age spots. This topical bleaching agent is available in prescription strength and as an over-the-counter cream, however, the FDA has been considering a ban on the ingredient in over-the-counter products because of concerns about toxicity. Chemical peels and light and laser treatments also help treat age spots.
Topical retinoids -- derivatives of vitamin A -- are among the most common treatments for wrinkles and other signs of aging skin and can help with a wide variety of skin issues. They work by increasing skin turnover and increasing collagen in the skin, making it firmer and plumper.
Antioxidants like vitamin E, alpha-hydroxy, and beta-hydroxy acids can improve the appearance of skin and reduce the signs of aging.
Products containing vitamin E combined with retinoids may provide additional skin-smoothing effects.
People with sensitive skin may want to avoid alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid. Beta-hydroxys, antioxidants, and retinoids also can cause irritation. Instead, consider products that contain polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), which may be less irritating. If your skin is excessively dry, you should decrease your daily use of alpha-hydroxy acids and apply moisturizing creams. Also, be sure to use daily sunscreen when using any of these products.
Adult acne differs markedly from teen pimples, both in how it appears and how it’s treated. Teen skin tends to be a little stickier and they’re more likely than adults to get clogged pores. Most of the over-the-counter products involve salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which are good for whiteheads and pustules, but not as good for deeper adult acne.
Some experts say rinses may not be as effective as other over-the-counter whitening products, because a whitening rinse is in contact with the teeth for such a short time -- only two minutes a day, compared with 30 minutes for many strips.
Several studies have shown that supplements of biotin (a B vitamin) increased nail thickness and prevented splitting and breaking. Calcium, colloidal minerals, or gelatin may help nail strength, but nail hardeners can do more damage than good for most people, dermatologists say.
Minoxidil is an FDA-approved over-the-counter medication men can apply to the scalp. It slows the rate of hair loss in men, and some men even grow new hair. But once you stop using it, hair loss returns. Finasteride is a prescription drug that slows hair loss by slowing down the body's production of DHT, a hormone that causes hair follicles to shrink. Like minoxidil, it works only as long as it's used. And several studies show a significant relationship between smoking and how fast male-pattern baldness gets worse.
Essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and, consequently, healthy skin. While most of us have diets rich in omega-6s from such sources as baked goods, cooking oils, grains and poultry, our diets tend to be short on omega-3s. For healthier skin, eat more omega-3s from salmon, mackerel, flax, safflower oil, walnuts, sardines, soy, and fortified eggs.