The sunshiney season brings with it weird rashes, bumps, and bites-and a lot fewer clothes to cover them up. Wishing you had a dermatologist on call? Luckily, we have a phone full of top docs, so we got their clever remedies and tips for all your summer skin care woes (and saved you the copay). By Nicole Catanese, REDBOOK.
1. Soothe a sunburn, stat
To reduce pain and swelling, pop two aspirin or ibuprofen as soon as possible, says Francesca Fusco, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Next, do a milk compress: Soak a washcloth in a bowl of ice-cold whole milk (skim won't cut it), and drape it over the burn until the cloth is room temperature. Ahh, that's better.
2. Ward off skeeters
If you're planning a trip to a mosquito-y place-or you always seem to attract the little buggers-start taking a daily vitamin B12 supplement, suggests Vivian W. Bucay, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in San Antonio. "Studies show that it causes your skin to give off a scent that repels mosquitoes," she says. (And no, humans can't smell it.)
3. Shrink a pimple in minutes...
...with Fusco's clever trick: Wet the tip of a cotton swab with Listerine and dab it on the spot. "The alcohol in the rinse dries up a zit fast," she says.
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4. Beat back summer dandruff
Steamy weather revs the oil production on your scalp into high gear, which slows down your natural skin-cell exfoliation process. When this happens, dead cells build up and dandruff gets worse. Control it with a flake-fighting shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione-use it at least once a week. A good one is Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Complete Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $6; amazon.com.
5. Quit breaking out from sunscreen
For acne-prone skin, "try a mineral sunscreen-the active ingredient listed will be zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both," says Bucay. "These sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed, so you're less likely to react." (We like Aveeno Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $10.99; ulta.com) If you have dark skin, avoid the ghostly cast of a mineral formula and go with a sunscreen that says oil-free and non-comedogenic on the label, such as Coppertone Oil Free Faces Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+, $8.99; amazon.com.
6. Stay drier, longer
An antiperspirant labeled clinical strength contains the highest levels of sweat shields to block sweat glands temporarily. (Try Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response, $7.99; amazon.com) After swiping it on your underarms, glide a thin coat on other hot spots like your lower back or cleavage to keep dry there, too.
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7. Avoid backne by rinsing shampoo and conditioner off your skin
They can leave oils and film behind on your shoulders and back-and that can lead to breakouts. So make sure your hair and skin are rinsed before you hop out of the shower.
8. Get your face squeaky clean
Sunscreen, particularly a water-resistant one, can be hard to wash off-and any residue left behind can clog your pores. An oil-based cleanser such as Philosophy Purity Made Simple Facial Cleansing Oil, $25; ulta.com, breaks down the product so it rinses away completely. Here's how you can tell: If, after you've rinsed, the water beads on your skin, you didn't get off all the sunscreen, so wash your face a second time.
9. Stop midday shine, permanently
Apply a retinol treatment to your T-zone nightly, "and over time, it helps slow down overactive oil glands, so you'll be less likely to develop that afternoon oil slick," says Noëlle S. Sherber, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Washington, DC. Try RoC Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum, $24.99; amazon.com.
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10. Calm razor burn
Even the most careful shaver can burn the heck out of herself. Next time it happens to you, apply a thin coat of one-percent hydro cortisone cream, or Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $5.49 for 1.75 oz; drugstore.com, to soothe inflammation. "Then keep the area out of the sun until it heals, since UV exposure can worsen the bumps and irritation," says Bucay.
11. Nix those weird white spots
Are little flat white spots cropping up on your chest, back, arms, or legs? Don't be alarmed: It's probably a type of benevolent fungus (gross, we know) called tinea versicolor that occurs in warm, humid weather and acts like a bleach that lightens skin, says Neal Schultz, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. "Because this infection lives only in the upper dead layers of skin, it can be treated simply with an exfoliating body wash that contains salicylic or glycolic acid," he says. (We like Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash, $6.99; amazon.com) Leave the product on the spotty areas for five to 10 minutes before rinsing, and repeat every day for 10 days to prevent more flare-ups.
12. Zap a pimple while you cover it
Blend a few drops of a clear, salicylic-acid zit treatment like Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Gel, ($9.99; amazon.com), into a dollop of foundation and use a small concealer brush to pat the mix on the spot. It'll cut the pimple's lifespan in half-and hide it from the world.
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