Better Skin, Fast and Cheap

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So many women look for the fountain of youth in a tube of high-priced skin cream or plastic surgery.

But "Good Morning America" contributor Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, professor of dermatology at the University of Miami, says that you don't need to spend a lot of money -- or go to the dermatologist -- to rejuvenate your skin.

"The solution to some of the most common problems is a mixture of common sense and medical knowledge," Ciraldo said.

"And it took me a long time, too, to discover what works and what doesn't. I heard some of these things, but I didn't always believe them. Experience -- personally and in my practice -- is the best teacher."

Ciraldo's new book, "6 Weeks to Sensational Skin," is filled with low-cost and free tips on how to freshen up your skin, no matter your age.

Below are a few of her favorites.

Photograph Your Problem Spots

Take "orientation" photos of your face to get a clear picture of your problem spots. You'll want to take three -- one head-on shot and profiles for each side of your face.

Photographs will give you a much more accurate depiction of your skin problems than a magnifying mirror, which distorts the appearance of your face. The pictures will help give you a realistic idea of what to address.

Over a six-week period, keep updating the photos to see how far you've come.

Upgrade Your Pillowcase

Puffy eyes happen for a few reasons. Many of the most popular lotions women use at night contain Retin-A or glycolic acid. Both can cause a minimal irritation to the skin. Then, when you lay your head on your pillow, you're increasing the risk of irritation.

An easy solution is to get a pillowcase with a high-thread count, like 400 -- which is much softer on the face.

Another solution is to wash the case in a detergent like All Free & Clear, one that removes all dust mites, cat dander and fragrance -- three things that might cause allergies and contribute to puffy eyes and creases. Wash your pillowcase twice a week to really protect your skin.

Cut Back on Washing Your Hair

A lot of women don't realize that while skin-care products have eliminated ingredients that are problematic for skin, hair-care products haven't. I call hair-care products the poison ivy of your skin. Very often, hair-care products will have ingredients that clog pores.

The problematic ingredients in shampoo are fragrance and sodium lauryl sulfate, which helps produce the lather we all like in our shampoos, but is also an irritant.

Instead of washing your hair every day, wash it every other day. And after the age of 35, try to do it once a week.

If You Must Lather Up, Take Precautions

If you must wash your hair every day, use a clear shampoo rather than a creamy one. Look for products without fragrance and sodium lauryl sulfate. They're not always easy to find, but they're out there.

And make sure you pull your hair back when you wash it, so that residue from the shampoo doesn't clog the pores around your hairline. Also, use leave-in conditioner and apply more on your hair than on your scalp.

Smile More to Banish Lip Lines

Many women get concerned about lines around their lips as they mature. But if you spend five minutes every morning and night smiling in a broad smile, you'll actually build up the muscles around your lips.

By the end of six weeks, you should see the depth of the lip lines lessened, and the corners of the mouth can start to turn upward.

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