Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Fighting Aging Skin Will Have It Made in the Shade

DEAR ABBY: I know you're not a beauty consultant, but I'm hoping you can help me. I'm a middle-aged woman with a small income and aging skin. What can a woman who cannot afford cosmetic procedures do about this inevitable problem? My medical insurance will not cover Botox or surgery.

A number of celebrities endorse "anti-aging" products on television. The over-the-counter ones I have tried have not helped. Any suggestions? -- FAITHFUL READER, UTICA, N.Y.

DEAR READER: I'll share some advice my mother -- who still has beautiful skin at 91 -- shared with me after she noticed the faces of her golfing and sun-worshipping friends were beginning to look like leather: Shun the sun. Dermatologists have also mentioned that nothing ages skin like exposure to sunlight -- unless it's smoking. So when you're outside, "preserve your assets" by always wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat, even if it's overcast.

Also, because a celebrity has her name on a product is no guarantee that it will work. The best beauty secret I know is a good dermatologist. So save your pennies until you have enough to consult one. Dermatologists offer products that are not sold in stores, and can help you select something that will work for you.