The problem: Sunburn
The Problem: Sunburn
Prevention is the first line of defense-and new SPF technology makes shielding your skin at the beach or pool easier than ever. But hey, no one (and no sunscreen) is perfect and sometimes burns happen.
The Solution: Ice-cold compresses can reduce the pain and cool your skin, says dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD, who also suggests using hydrocortisone cream. But if you're not able to get relief at home, see a doctor. She recommends the prescription wound-healer Biafine, used for years in Europe to soothe everything from sunburn to biopsy surgical wounds.
The problem: Uneven skin toneThe Problem: Uneven Skin Tone
While increased sun exposure can cause fair-skinned faces to freckle, darker complexions are also vulnerable: According to dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, women of color are more likely to get uneven pigmentation. "Once that blotchiness sets in, it's really difficult to treat," she says.
The Solution: Don't sunbathe. Even a slight tan represents injury to your dermis so keeping up with your sunscreen-slathering duties is a must; a formula with SPF 30 or higher should be reapplied every couple of hours. If the damage has already been done, invest in alpha-hydroxy acid peels. But consider yourself warned: Even though they'll reduce discoloration, peels will increase your skin's photosensitivity-making sun protection even more essential.
Dermatologist Tips for Treating and Erasing Pigmentation That Causes Uneven Skin Tone
The problem: Embattled bikini line
The Problem: Embattled Bikini Line
Whether you opt for a one-piece or two-piece, the area between your legs is going to get exposed-and sometimes the necessary upkeep can have not-so-fun side effects (think ingrown hairs or painful waxing).
The Solution: Downie recommends shaving with a sharp blade every other day using a calming oatmeal-based gel like Aveeno's; help pesky ingrowns wriggle out with a salicylic acid scrub or topical antibiotic like Evoclin foam. If you prefer waxing but hate the sting, try the BareEase & Cream Prep Kit for wince-free hair removal.
The problem: Frizzy hair
The Problem: Frizzy Hair
Depending on where you live, summer can mean hotter, more humid air-which can wreak havoc with defenseless, frizz-prone strands.
The Solution: When styling, use a ceramic blow-dryer with a diffuser for fast, smooth results and less heat damage. Finish with a product that's specially formulated to repel moisture from the humid air (we like L'Oréal EverSleek Frizz Taming Crème Serum).
More Hair-Smoothing Tips and Products
The problem: Parched lips
The Problem: Parched Lips
If you thought dry lips were only a cold-weather issue, think again! Drier climates can still cause puckers to shrivel and time outdoors can lead to burning.
The Solution: Skip medicated menthol- or camphor-based balms. The tingle is intoxicating, but these formulas will dry lips over time. Instead, look for salves and glosses with soothing ingredients like shea butter and beeswax. SPF is also a must-especially when wearing high-shine gloss, which tends to attract more UV rays because of its reflective shimmer; Avon's new SPF 15 formula is a smart choice.
The problem: Blemishes
The Problem: Blemishes
Pimples can happen year-round but extra oil, heat, and sweat make them more prolific in summer months. And, unfortunately, they're not limited to the face ("There's also backne and buttne," says Downie).
The Solution: Regardless of where acne crops up, the treatment plan is the same: Use a glycolic or salicylic-acid cleanser and make sure everything you apply to your skin-from makeup and facial soap to body wash and sunscreen-is oil-free so you don't further clog pores. "Using a glycolic is good twice a week, for no more than five minutes," says Downie, who notes that overdrying your skin will worsen breakouts. She recommends using a hyaluronic-acid serum to keep your face moisturized but not greasy.
The problem: Eczema
The Problem: Eczema
This skin condition-characterized by dry, scaly discolored skin that may or may not itch-is commonly caused by stress and heat. It tends to show up around the feet, elbows, knees, neck, and underarms. "Eczema is right up there with acne and affects millions of people," says Downie.
The Solution: Avoid triggers like perfumes and detergents, which can make the irritation worse, and opt for gentle fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers. If eczema is severe, topical or oral cortisone can help but Downie warns that overuse of the popular steroid can decrease its effectiveness, thin the skin, and lead to more itching and dryness-the exact symptoms it's meant to soothe. Longer-lasting results can be achieved through prescription products like Elidel or Protopic.
The problem: Bug bites
The Problem: Bug Bites
Mosquitoes are summer's biggest pests-and the swelling and itching that occur after being bitten by them can range from mild to severe.
The Solution: Mosquitoes thrive in areas where standing water is present; they're also attracted to body odor and high skin temperatures. Invest in a good bug repellent. If you're too late and become the unsuspecting (and unprepared) victim of an attack, avoid the urge to itch and apply an ice pack and/or over-the-counter hydrocortisone product for quick relief.
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