Save Yourself From A Real Beauty Crisis

rbcRough hands The skin on your hands says a lot about your age. Keep it soft, supple, and young-looking with a lotion that quenches dryness and makes skin feel baby-smooth. Try Curel Soothing Hands, straight off the drugstore shelf. It contains a good dose of glycerin, a potent lubricant, and lasts through numerous handwashings. Also effective: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream ($4.57), Eucerin Plus Alphahydroxy Moisturizing Lotion ($7.99), and Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream ($13.50). Avoid washing with very hot water, it dries out skin. Reapply moisturizer throughout the day.

Yellowing nails A base coat is key the pigments in polish can penetrate and discolor nail layers. Also, be sure to remove every trace of an old manicure before applying new polish, and avoid products containing formaldehyde, which can turn nails yellow.

Nails that break Keeping them coated (even if only with a clear base coat) and moisturized helps hold off cracks and splits. One way to counteract dryness is with a soothing cream or moisturizer like Creative Nail Design Solar Oil ($8), made with sweet almond oil. It prevents brittleness and keeps cuticles scruff-free. Apply daily before bed, when your nails can have about 8 hours away from the sink.

Stretch marks Your chances of diminishing these badges of pregnancy or weight gain are better if they’re just showing up. Most over-the-counter stretch-mark creams don’t deliver; doctors recommend prescription-strength Renova (about $40 for a 4-month supply) to fade the lines. Emergency cover-up for the beach or pool: a self-tanner.

Spider veins These little netlike clusters are caused by genetics and the passage of time-especially time in the sun. A quick fix: Estee Lauder Bare Legs Waterproof Leg Makeup ($25), which conceals imperfections and comes in 3 shades. And don’t role out sleek, sultry nude stockings, like Donna Karan The Nudes ($17) and L’eggs Sheer Energy ($4.49).

Ingrown hairs These look ugly and feel worse after a shave or wax-especially if you have to put on pantyhose. But there are ways to prevent them. Use a loofah daily in the shower to gently scrub skin. After drying off, apply Tend Skin ($20/4 ounces; 800-940-8423), a clear, cooling liquid that contains isopropyl alcohol and glycerin. It’s recommended by salon pros, including Kim Todd at San Francisco’s diPietro Todd Salon.

No cleavage Our GH Institute pros recruited 10 women to try out bras that promise to pump up Mother Nature. Front-runners: The Hollywood Kiss from Frederick’s of Hollywood ($28; 800-323-9525), a lacy confection in colors like cotton-candy pink; and, just slightly off the deep end, The Liquid Enhancement Bra ($29.90; 800-284-3100, item # 227-267)-special pockets in the cups are filled with [H.sub.2]O for a surprisingly natural feel. The Click Miracle Bra from Victoria’s Secret ($42) won votes from 4 of our 10 panelists for its front closure that snaps to tight, tighter, tightest for more cleavage.

Leathery feet As the skin on your feet gets older, it gets drier. Exfoliate it regularly in the shower;, after drying, rub in a heavy-duty emollient. Good old Vaseline or The Body Shop’s Olive Body Butter ($11.95) works well.


SOLUTION: Nail polish at chips in 24 hours

SOLUTION: Don’t skip a top coat-it’s essential to fend off nicks and peeling. (Some expels suggest brushing it on every day to keep a manicure shiny and fresh-looking.) The newest ones have ingredients that are, well, hard as nails! Sally Hansen Teflon Tuff Top Coat ($5.95) contains the same tough resin used to coat nonstick cookware. Another brand to try: L’Oreal Jet-Set Quick Dry Top Coat ($4.60).

Also, be gentle: If you use your nails as tools to turn screws, open letters, or remove price tags, color can’t survive.


“Chicken skin” on your legs or arms

SOLUTION: Keratoses pilaris–you know it as tiny, irritating bumps on your arms and legs–is caused by thickening of the skin around the hair follicles. Nicholas Perricone, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Yale University, recommends hydrocortisone cream and moisturizers made with AHAs to improve the condition. Check out Aqua Glycolic Hand & Body Lotion ($17; at drugstores)

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