Think back to last summer: the beach days, the picnics - the sunburns, the breakouts. Before the blazing sun and high humidity wreak havoc on your skin this year, make some smart changes to your skin-care routine. We asked David E. Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, NY, to analyze the skin of three REDBOOK readers and give each a skin-care cheat sheet based on her skin type - so they'll be glowing all summer long.
SKIN TYPE: Combination
Lisa, 37, finds that though she does get oily, she's also quite dry in the winter, so she's been using a line of very rich products. What Bank sees is a likely case of seborrheic dermatitis - a very common condition (we're talking 40 percent of the population!) caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the scalp. The yeast migrates down to the face, making skin both greasy and flaky; it also causes dandruff. "It's a vicious cycle," Bank says: Lisa feels dry, so she uses a heavy cream on her face, which is actually making the condition worse. His beauty checklist?
- Nix harsh cleansers; instead, use a cleanser that's gentle but still gives skin a "clean" feeling, such as Therapy Systems Calm and Clearing Facial Wash with Sea Extracts, $28.
- Keep skin quenched at night with an oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, which keeps skin hydrated, or retinol, an antiaging/anti-acne ingredient. One with both: Vichy Liftactiv Retinol HA Night, $42.
- Don't forget moisturizer: Use an oil-free moisturizer with sunblock for every day, like Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30, $15. Another way to go is an oil-free sunscreen that doubles as an anti-aging treatment.
- Treat unsightly spots with a sulfur-containing blemish treatment that is both antibacterial and antiyeast, such as Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Trifix Acne Clearing Lotion, $35.
- Once a week, apply an oil-absorbing mask, like the clay-based Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, $3.50. "When skin is feeling oily in the summer, this is a good quick fix," Bank says.
- Lather away dandruff by switching to a medicated shampoo, like Neutrogena T/Gel Shampoo, $6, once a week. "Even if Lisa doesn't have a scalp problem that she's aware of, a dandruff shampoo can kill off yeast at the source, so the skin on her face will benefit too," Bank says.
SKIN TYPE: Dry and Sensitive
Melissa, 30, is admittedly clueless about skin care. "I just use whatever's around," she says. "Free stuff from my grandmother, body lotion on my face." So for Melissa, Bank wanted to keep the regimen short and simple. "For sensitive skin, look for products that have the fewest number of ingredients, particularly fragrance; the more that's in there, the more the skin has to react to." To keep it even more basic, try sticking to natural products.
- Back to basics: Stick to a fragrance-free, gentle cleanser, such as Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar, $3 for two.
- Even the hottest celebs protect themselves from the sun. For sensitive skin, you should use a sunscreen with physical blockers (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) rather than chemical sun-protecting ingredients. Try SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50, $30.
SKIN TYPE: Oily and Acne-Prone
Nicole, 30, frets about the dark spots on her face and body - and the pimples that have caused them. She's been using a very basic, bland regimen that Bank would like to step up for summer: "Sweat will make Nicole more breakout-prone, so it's better to be proactive against acne rather than neutral." The most important thing for her: oil-free formulas, whenever possible.
- Use an oil-free face wash, like Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash, $22, with exfoliating beads. "Nicole should avoid exfoliating with salicylic acid, a common antiacne ingredient," says Bank. "It can make black skin look ashy."
- Watch spots fade sway by applying a spot treatment with hydroquinone, a skin-bleaching ingredient, like Palmer's Skin Success Eventone Fade Cream For Oily Skin, $7. Tackle facial redness, whatever the cause.
- Deep clean pores with weekly use of a pore-purger, to keep blackheads at bay, such as Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, $8.
- For body breakouts, use a medicated shampoo, such as Head & Shoulders Smooth & Silky Dandruff Shampoo, $5, once a week. As with Lisa, Bank suspects Nicole has seborrheic dermatitis, because of her body breakouts.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.