What the Pros Know: Wrinkles

Dermatologist Fredric Brandt, plastic surgeon Sherrell Aston, makeup artist Jillian Fink, and our own life and love expert Helen Gurley Brown.

Aging isn’t for sissies, as practically anyone past . . . 35? . . . is quickly realizing. While the world has changed since the only real treatment for wrinkles was to grin (crink-ily) and bear it, the options in skin care are now so vast that you need an expert (or several) to navigate. Peels? Plastic surgery? Alpha-hydroxy acids?

Our experts absolutely agree on a number of things: One, all the breakthrough treatments available can’t completely reverse the ravages of age (or, to be more accurate, sun damage). “Sun destroys collagen fibers in the skin and breaks down the elastin,” says one of the world’s most famous plastic surgeons, Dr. Sherrell Aston. “No matter what you do, your skin’s elasticity remains permanently altered.”

Prevention, they unilaterally emphasize, is everything: “You have to moisturize. You have to use sunscreen. And don’t smoke,” says Dr. Michael Echavez, a San Francisco-based plastic surgeon who treats everything from fine lines to severe wrinkles. “There is definitely a limit to how deep we can go to treat wrinkles without causing permanent scarring.”

“The simplest—but most important thing—to do is to use sunscreen,” concurs dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt, whose New York and Miami offices are crammed with desperate, oversunned patients from 20 to 90. “Sunscreen not only helps to prevent future wrinkles, but it actually gives your skin a chance to repair itself.”

Former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown wears sunscreen every day, but says it’s not enough…

What the Pros Know: Wrinkles

Even makeup artist Jillian Fink, whose clients range from Minnie Driver to Calista Flockhart, talks prevention: “Makeup settles into wrinkles and accentuates them,” she says. “I strongly advocate sunscreen and regular facials to avoid damage in the first place.”

Prevention is easy (except that for most of us, the damage is done). Treatment is more complicated. On the following pages, our experts sort through the options—and pick their favorites: