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What to Expect in Your 50s

Better sex. Fewer allergies. A more positive outlook

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Save Your Skin

The Good News: The likelihood of getting an outbreak of acne on the day of your son's wedding is greatly reduced. That's because your skin is getting drier, making blemishes less common.

The Not-So-Good News: The loss of muscle, bone and fat under the skin — along with changes in collagen and elastin — is making fine lines and wrinkles more dramatic, especially if you've smoked or sunned significantly. One remedy: prescription retinol products like Retin-A or Renova, says Helen M. Torok, M.D., medical director for the Dermatology & Surgery Center at Trillium Creek in Medina, Ohio. These creams repair damaged skin by speeding cell turnover. Pick skin products with antioxidants and glycolic acid, which promote skin thickening and increase collagen production.

What's Up With That? In your 50s you're likely to notice age spots and skin tags. For the former, consider trying a dermatologist-prescribed hydroquinone product — "the gold standard for reducing age spots," Torok says. Skin tags are usually benign, if unsightly. A dermatologist can remove them through freezing, snipping or cauterizing.

What's Ahead: In your 60s you may develop dilated superficial blood vessels (called telangiectasias) on the cheeks, nose, chin and legs, but don't worry: Doctors can zap them with a laser that destroys the blood vessels underneath the skin — with no scarring. Other options to help make skin look younger: radio-frequency-emitting devices that tighten the skin, and plasma skin resurfacing. Also, Botox and injectable fillers like Radiesse, Restylane and Juvéderm can reduce wrinkles.

eyesight; eye exam; 50s; vision; glasses; medicare; chart

More than 150 million Americans wear glasses or contact lenses. — Photo by Craig Cutler

Preserve Your Senses

The Good News: Your senses of taste, smell and touch remain mostly intact.

The Not-So-Good News: You'll probably need reading glasses. The cause? As you age, the lenses in your eyes stiffen, making it harder to focus up close. You may become sensitive to glare, and your night vision may decrease, as those same lenses begin to lose clarity. Plus, dry eye becomes more common, says William B. Trattler, M.D., an ophthalmologist at the Center for Excellence in Eye Care in Miami, Florida. Medications like Restasis can help, as can omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon.

What's Up With That? Floaters, tiny specks of debris in the eye that cast shadows on your retina, can appear in your line of vision. They are typically harmless unless you suddenly see dozens of them.

What's Ahead: Hearing loss becomes more common in your 60s, due to the effects of a noisy environment.

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Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Walt Handelsman adapts a  classic Allan Sherman tune for wry take on kids moving back home.

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