In days past, a woman who wanted to wipe away the lines got a face-lift. Then, in the late 1980s, came Retin-A, a prescription cream that was developed as an acne medication but that also smoothed away wrinkles and removed sun-damaged spots.

Suddenly, anti-aging help was affordable for the masses. And since then, a whole industry has developed to help people turn back the hands of time - or at least look as if they had.

Now, you can find a way to fight time at your favorite discount store, your favorite plastic surgeon and a whole lot of places in between. Prevention remains the best medicine, of course.

Dermatologist Chris Moeller says that staying out of the sun and away from cigarettes goes a long way toward heading off wrinkles. Eating the way you should also makes a difference.

Even so, you might eventually decide it's time to do more. The chart here shows some of your options, what they'll do and how long they'll last. When it is time to act, remember this: Unless you're willing to do the things you need to do to take care of your skin the results you get won't last, no matter how much you spend or what you have done.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Creams

Costs: Inexpensive to expensive What you can expect: Some can be helpful in minimizing fine lines and wrinkles Risks and side effects: Some people may have redness or other sensitivity How long it lasts: Temporary Who can do it: Anyone

Microdermabrasion

Costs: $130 to $160 What you can expect: Exfoliates outer layer of skin to diminish fine lines and reduce appearance of skin damage; can be repeated Risks and side effects: Minor discomfort, temporary redness and flaking skin How long it lasts: Permanent; aging continues Who can do it: Physician or designee

Chemical Peels

Costs: $125 to $1,500 What you can expect: Range from superficial to deep; can erase "mask of pregnancy," brown spots, fine lines, age spots Risks and side effects: More aggressive peels may cause redness, increase recovery time, cause pigment changes How long it lasts: Several years Who can do it: Physician or designee

Nonablative "Cool Touch" Lasers

Costs:$150 to $500 per treatment; requires two, three or more treatments What you can expect: Results aren't as dramatic as with ablative lasers, may take six months to appear Risks and side effects: Scarring, blistering, redness, pain How long it lasts: Permanent; aging continues Who can do it: Physician or designee

Botox

Costs:$200 to $300 What you can expect: Erases frown lines between eyes, upper lip wrinkles, crow's feet, downturned mouths Risks and side effects: Unintentional saggy eyelids or eyebrows, local pain, bruising and swelling How long it lasts: Three to five months; can be repeated and subsequent treatments may last longer Who can do it: Physician or designee

Fillers

Costs: $450 to $500 What you can expect: Collagen and other fillers are injected or inserted to plump skin from within, filling moderate to severe wrinkles such as those from the nose to the corners of the mouth; many are used with Botox, to keep lines from re-forming Risks and side effects: Collagen doesn't last very long and some people are allergic to it; Restylane and Hylaform are "natural" fillers but can cause swelling, lumps, redness or infection How long it lasts: Six months, on average Who can do it: Physician or designee

Photorejuvenation

Costs: $450 to $2,000 What you can expect: Uses pulsed light to reduce appearance of sun damage, age spots, pigmented lesions, spider veins, fine lines; can be repeated Risks and side effects: May cause temporary redness, swelling and peeling How long it lasts: Permanent; aging continues Who can do it: Physician or designee

Radiofrequency, such as Thermalift or Thermage

Costs: $1,000 to $2,500 What you can expect: Tightens skin, not by an inch but by 2 to 3 millimeters Risks and side effects: Low risk but it does hurt; chance of burn, blister or scarring How long it lasts: Permanent; aging continues Who can do it: Physician or midlevel provider such as nurse practitioner

Ablative Lasers

Costs: $5,000 What you can expect: Burns outer layers of skin; takes off 20 years Risks and side effects: Requires general anesthesia, two weeks of downtime; may result in sun sensitivity and redness; may leave scarring How long it lasts: Permanent; aging continues Who can do it: Physician

Blepharoplasty

Costs: $1,000 to $2,000 What you can expect: Eyelid surgery, done under conscious sedation, to remove excess skin and fat around eye Risks and side effects: May cause bruising for a week or longer, risk of infection, risks of surgery How long it lasts: Permanent; aging continues Who can do it: Physician

Browlift

Costs: $3,500 to $4,500 What you can expect: Surgery, under general anesthesia, to lift forehead to correct drooping brows, minimize frown lines and smooth the forehead Risks and side effects: Risks of surgery, infection and anesthesia plus bruising, swelling, discomfort for up to three months How long it lasts: Permanent; aging continues Who can do it: Physician

Rhytidectomy (Face-Lift)

Costs: $5,500 and up What you can expect: Surgery, under general anesthesia, to remove excess fat, tighten underlying muscles and redrape the skin on your face and neck Risks and side effects: Risks of surgery, infection and anesthesia, risk of nerve injury, plus bruising, swelling, discomfort How long it lasts: Permanent; aging continues Who can do it: Physician