Try these tips for perfect skin in any climate1. New Orleans Climate
TOP SKIN DOC: Deirdre Hooper, M.D.
SKIN WOE: Acne, especially on your back.
SOLUTION: "Use your facial skin care on your body, but choose acne-fighting salicylic acid, not benzoyl peroxide (BP). If a BP lotion gets wet during the day - when you sweat, for example - it can bleach your clothes. Instead, use a 2% salicylic acid wash on your back when you get in the shower, leave it on for a few minutes while you cleanse your face, and then rinse it off." Try Clean & Clear Advantage Daily Soothing Acne Wash ($7.50, drugstores).
SKIN WOE: Little red bumps between the breasts, on your rear, and in other skin folds.
"Women think they have acne, but it's actually folliculitis - inflamed hair follicles, often due to an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. A common cause is working out and then leaving your exercise clothes on all day. Even wearing tight clothes like leggings at an event like our famous Jazz Fest, where you'll sweat in the heat and humidity, can be problematic."
SOLUTION: "Wear breathable clothes. And try an antidandruff shampoo - its zinc is an anti-inflammatory - on the bumps as a body wash." A good option: Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo ($5, drugstores). After you shower, blast any folds with cool air from your hair dryer to make sure skin is completely dry.2. Chicago Climate
TOP SKIN DOC: Amy Derick, M.D.
SKIN WOE: Dry skin from low humidity both indoors and outdoors. Common cholesterol-lowering drugs may exacerbate itchy skin, too.
SOLUTION: "Skip soap - it's drying. Try Eucerin Skin Calming Dry Skin Body Wash ($8, drugstores). On your body, use a loofah to get air into the cleanser, create a lather, and then spread it. If you use your hands, you'll put on too much, which also parches skin. Follow with a moisturizer with a humectant like glycerin - it draws moisture from the air. And if you have to wash your hands a lot, use a hand sanitizer. It's less drying than soap. That's what I use in my practice; otherwise I'd be washing my hands 80 times a day."
Related: Best Anti-Aging Beauty Products
TOP SKIN DOC: Lisa Garner, M.D.
SKIN WOE: Sunburn
"Come late March, it's sunny and only 75°. People think, Oh, it's so cool. I don't need sunscreen. And then they show up in my office with terrible redness."
SOLUTION: "At this latitude, you need a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. I'm in the office today, and that's what I am wearing. But once it gets hot out, the minute you sweat, the moisturizer will lose its effectiveness. That's when you need to switch to a true sunscreen that's labeled 'water-resistant.' From April to October, I use that and skip moisturizer. During outdoor activities, remember to reapply it every two hours. If you're a golfer, that's at about hole nine. And apply it to your chest and neck every day, too: You can always get your face resurfaced, but treating discoloration on your neck and chest is more difficult."
SKIN WOE: Reactions to sunscreen - like itching, bumps, or redness.
SOLUTION: "Many people think they're allergic to the active ingredients when the culprit is actually something else in the formula - most often the fragrance or a preservative like quaternium-15. A dermatologist can do a skin patch test to determine the cause of a reaction so you can find a sunscreen that works for you. Another common problem: patients who are using prescription retinoids and complain of stinging when they apply sunscreen. It's not a big issue, but if it's bothersome, I've found that Solbar Avo SPF 32 ($14.50, dermstore.com) usually doesn't sting."4. Los Angeles Climate
TOP SKIN DOC: Karyn Grossman, M.D.
SKIN WOE: Wrinkles caused by free radicals from the sun and smog.
SOLUTION: "Wear a skin-protecting antioxidant serum in the morning. I like Pro+Therapy MD C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment ($95, through doctors' offices), which has antioxidants vitamin C, kinetin, and zeatin, as well as peptides to help minimize wrinkles. Top it with a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Since studies show people apply about one-seventh to one-tenth of the sunscreen they need to get the SPF on the label, I'm a fan of high SPF numbers - they give you that much extra protection."
SKIN WOE: Incidental sun damage.
"Patients claim they don't sit in the sun, but they must be outside in a tank top all day, because they have tank top tan lines!"
SOLUTION: "There's a resistance to wearing special sun-protective clothing because it's not necessarily fashionable. My fix: I get breathable long-sleeved shirts from Lululemon or Nike, then wash them with SunGuard Detergent ($2 per box; sunguardsunprotection.com), which gives clothes a protection factor of 30. I look for a shirt with thumbholes to give my hands some coverage, too."Related: How to Prevent Wrinkles
5. Denver Climate
TOP SKIN DOC: Erin Welch, M.D.
SKIN WOE: Keratosis pilaris, a genetic condition that causes bumpy skin - most often on the upper arms.
"Sometimes I'll see a patient who's moved from a humid climate like Miami, and now here - in our dry, mile-high city - that bumpy skin, also known as 'chicken skin,' is showing up for the first time."
SOLUTION: Use an exfoliating moisturizer daily to get rid of the dead skin creating those bumps. An effective one is AmLactin Ultra Hydrating Body Cream, with more than 12% lactic acid ($16, drugstores).
SKIN WOE: Nummular dermatitis, a dry-skin condition.
" 'Nummular' means it's coin-shaped: Little round eczema patches - between the size of a pencil eraser and that of a quarter--appear on the legs, hips, and torso."
SOLUTION: "The treatment is simple: Use a heavy cream every day. It will help clear up the patches and keep them from returning. A 1% over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can speed up healing, too."
SKIN WOE: Wrinkles and skin cancer.
"We have about 300 days of sunny weather a year. I see more skin cancers and slightly deeper lines on the left sides of people's faces - because of driving - than I have in other parts of the country where I've practiced."
SOLUTION: Build sunscreen reapplication into your routine. "Heat can degrade sunscreen, but in the cooler months, keep a tube in the glove compartment of your car. Put some on your face and hands before you start the return or second leg of your trip. While you're at it, get in the habit of layering on more sunscreen when you're on the ski lift or on a granola-bar break during a hike."
6. Boston Climate
TOP SKIN DOC: Ranella Hirsch, M.D.
SKIN WOE: Too much moisture, which can mess up your makeup.
"As the weather gets warmer, there is more ambient humidity. Skin needs less moisturizer."
SOLUTION: "You can lose a layer. In the colder months, moisturizer plus heavy foundation does a good job of smoothing makeup over dry bits so it doesn't cake or flake. Now a multitasking beauty balm may be all you need." Try Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream ($13, drugstores; three shades).
SKIN WOE: Insect bites.
"One 60° day in April and a bad bout of bug bites will have you tucking your shorts away for weeks."
SOLUTION: When shorts and bare-leg season hits, steer clear of scented body lotions: "They're meant to be attractive, but what they attract are bugs." Avoid fragrance with a pick like Jergens Daily Moisture Dry Skin Moisturizer in Fragrance-Free ($7, drugstores).
Related: 5 Ways to Fight Fine Lines
7. Miami Climate
TOP SKIN DOC: Leslie Baumann, M.D.
SKIN WOE: Sun sensitivity (and damage) from exfoliation.
"Anti-agers with exfoliators like alpha hydroxy acids thin skin, making it more vulnerable to UV damage like spots and lines."
SOLUTION: "If you know you're going to be at the beach or out playing tennis during the day, save exfoliating for nighttime. Your skin will regenerate some cells by morning. The one exception: Go ahead and slough skin if you want it to look great for a special event." Try Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub ($7, drugstores), and remember to wear sunscreen in the A.M.
SKIN WOE: Melasma, a patchy discoloration on the face.
"Ultraviolet rays are one cause, but heat worsens melasma, too. I'm seeing more people who use their laptops on their laps come in with similar discoloration on their legs."
SOLUTION: Try to keep cool. "If you're outdoors, keep an Evian Mineral Water Spray ($11, sephora.com) on hand and be sure to spritz your face periodically. When you're at home cooking, stand aside as you open the oven and let the heat come out before you peek in."8. Phoenix Climate
TOP SKIN DOC: Paul English, M.D.
SKIN WOE: Parched skin.
SOLUTION: "Moisturizer here is as essential as a toothbrush. It takes twice-daily application for a minimum of 30 days straight - without missing a day - to get skin back to healthy and hydrated, which shocks my patients. A cream supplies heftier moisture than a lotion, which has a lot of water with a little bit of oil. A cream is just the opposite - a lot of oil with a little water. For an extra boost, choose one with a moisture binder like glycerin or urea." Hydrators like Curél Intensive Healing Cream ($12, drugstores) and Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream ($13, drugstores) both fill the bill.
SKIN WOE: Sensitivity, like itching, redness, or swelling.
"If you've ever seen a dry lake bed, you've seen the cracks in the mud. When your skin dries out, it has similar fissures, except they're microscopic - you can't see them. Ingredients meant to be kept on the surface of skin, like scents, get into those fissures and cause reactions."
SOLUTION: Use fragrance-free skin care if your skin is especially dry. "Other ingredients, like the anti-ager glycolic acid or certain preservatives, could also cause stinging and burning, so first get skin hydrated, then try using potential irritants." For a scent-free anti-ager, try Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Fragrance-Free ($25, drugstores).
What are your tips for keeping skin smooth? Let me know in the comments!
--by Nina Judar