By  on September 20, 2007

The ever-growing armamentarium of products promising to smooth, tighten and invigorate the skin has the potential to overwhelm even the savviest beauty consumer. Not that that's stopping anyone from stocking up, of course: Last year Americans shelled out $8.3 billion for facial skin care products, according to Kline & Co. That kind of investment calls for some serious due diligence, particularly this fall, when dozens of new arrivals are hitting stores. We sorted through them all, separating the aluminum zirconium from the alkekengis extract, and canvassed top dermatologists for their take, too. Here, a decade-by-decade guide to the best skin care at any age.

the 20s

"The 20s are skin heaven," says dermatologist Jeanette Graf, author of Stop Aging, Start Living. "With any luck, there's no more acne, and lines and discoloration haven't set in yet." To that end, the ideal regimen focuses on gentle maintenance and early prevention. Three new lines geared toward those goals have arrived on shelves this fall. Face Boutique, exclusive to Space NK , offers eight straightforward, plantderived products created specifically with Gen Y in mind. The Peachy Clean Face Wash, for example, uses basil and geranium oils to balance sebum production, without leaving the skin feeling stripped or tight. Chanel's Beauté Initiale collection is formulated to defend against the very earliest signs of aging with antioxidant-rich blue ginger, an herb native to Madagascar. The extract is "polyfractionated" (Chanel's patented ingredient-purifying technique) so it's superconcentrated. The Beauté Initiale Energizing Multi-Protection Serum is also infused with taurine to help energize skin cells during times of fatigue. (This amino acid, incidentally, is a main ingredient in another favorite twentysomething pick-me-up, Red Bull.) MyBlend by Dr. Olivier Courtin (of Clarins family fame) offers eight formulas of lotions and creams, each calibrated for a specific life stage. Formula 03 combines oil-absorbing micro-spheres with an antiaging peptide blend—ideal for a complexion combating both shine and the first signs of lines. MyBlend has also taken a page from the Jamba Juice school of nourishment and concocted five Boosters to address specific needs. The Soother reduces inflammation with licorice; The Energizer draws on ginseng to impart a luminous glow.

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