By Leanne Beattie, for SparkPeople
The sunny days of summer are out in full force! But it's hard to enjoy the season's skimpier fashions if your skin isn't up to par. Ingrown hairs, body acne, and sunburn can take the fun out of the season. Get ready for the shortest shorts and the tiniest tanks with this guide to summer skin care.
Acne can make even the most confident people feel self-conscious-especially when it occurs on the body. "Backne" (acne on the back) is common among men and women, but you can get pimples almost anywhere on the body if your pores become clogged and infected.
- What causes it? Hot, humid weather often prompts the production of excess oil, resulting in acne on the back and chest, which can take longer to heal than facial pimples.
- What prevents it? Wear loose clothing made with moisture-wicking fabric to help release trapped moisture before it can contribute to the problem. Sweating in the summer sun can clog pores faster than you're able to get to the shower, so clean up as soon as you're done exercising and spending time in the heat.
- What eliminates it? Treat body acne with a medicated body wash containing salicylic or glycolic acid to help unplug pores. Consider applying a light layer of tea tree oil directly onto the acne for a naturally-antibacterial treatment.
Summer fashions for men and women expose more skin than during the cooler months. So make sure your skin looks healthy, not dry and flaky.
- What causes it? Sun exposure, tanning, dehydration and repeated dips in the pool can leave your skin dry and flaky.
- What prevents it? Exfoliating and moisturizing regularly can help keep skin in tip-top condition. Be careful when selecting an exfoliating product-it's easy to go overboard and treat the skin too roughly.
- What eliminates it? Combat the flakes with physical or chemical exfoliation once or twice a week. Physical exfoliants include facial scrubs and buffer pads. Stay away from products containing ground up nut shells, which can damage skin with their jagged edges. Instead try a product with exfoliating beads, which are round and much gentler. Chemical exfoliation uses alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids to loosen and remove dead skin cells. After exfoliating, always apply a moisturizer that won't clog pores or cause breakouts. Gel formulas are especially light and refreshing for the summer-store them in the refrigerator for a cool burst every time you use them.