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The future of (anti) aging

A trip to the cosmetics counter says it all: Skin care is an ever-changing business. Last year’s big news is this year’s snooze as fresh products hit the shelves, promising to tone, tighten, and smooth better than anything that’s come before. Here, the pros address your biggest aging concerns, tell us what’s hot and what’s not, and offer a glimpse of what the future might bring.

Expression Lines

Old Think: We learned early on that squinting, frowning, even smiling can lead to expression lines. The first fix, Wrinkle Eradicators, arrived in 1889: What was merely tape to train muscles to stay relaxed quickly became a Hollywood secret and was later renamed Frownies. The self-adhesive pads are still sold today ($20 for 144 pads).

New Think: At home: Topical muscle-relaxing creams help reduce muscular contractions, leading to a subtle smoothing, says New York- and Miami-based cosmetic dermatologist Fredric Brandt. Look for GABA, found in 24.7 Skincare Smoothing Anti-Aging Moisturizer, $30; Argireline, in Therapy Systems Line Tox for Lips, $68; and Ameliox, in KaplanMD Perfecting Serum, $295.

At the Doctor’s Office: So far, nothing beats Botox. Botulinum toxin is injected into the muscle to prevent it from contracting so wrinkles can’t be etched into the skin. The smooth results last up to four months.

Future Think: A new way to relax! Reloxin, expected to get FDA approval in early 2009, works similarly to Botox but is said to kick in a little faster (Botox takes a week to work its magic) and lasts a little longer. Bonus: “A little Botox competition might lead to a decrease in price,” says dermatologist David E. Bank, M.D., director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY.

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