Summer Skin 101

Jennifer Scruby on how to get totally clear skin (all over), cure a sunburn and more…

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The Problem: Breakouts

Solution: Intensify your anti-acne routine.

• Benzoyl peroxide, sulfur and salicylic acid all work to kill acne bacteria, reduce oil, calm inflammation and clear pores. Even though they wash off, cleansers with those ingredients can make a huge difference.

• Physical exfoliants—scrubs,
a brush like the Clarisonic—clear pores and bring down the bacterial content, says New York/Miami dermatologist Fredric Brandt.

• In-office Isolaz lasers treat acne bacteria and can keep your skin flawless for weeks.

• Always shower right after exercising­­­—sweat can up bacteria levels—and apply antibacterial lotions or sprays wherever you’re prone to body acne.

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The Problem: Sunburn

Solution: Be extra vigilant with sunscreen; get inflammation down as fast as possible.

• Treat burns immediately with a cold compress. “If the burn is smooth and red, apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream,” says New York dermatologist Amy Wechsler.

• Taken immediately, aspirin or Advil can actually lessen skin damage overall by reducing inflammation.

• Soothing ingredients like aloe can speed healing. If skin starts to peel, resist the urge
to touch it.

• One bad sunburn more than doubles your risk for skin cancer. “Get checked once a year,” says Miami dermatologist Alicia Barba. “This is especially true if you’ve had more than one burn.”

• Apply and reapply at least SPF30 every two hours and after swimming. Staying in the shade is ideal.

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The Problem: Ashy Skin

Solution: Exfoliate, hydrate, repeat.

• Moisturize and moisturize again—it makes all the difference. Don’t overscrub, warns Dr. Wechsler.

• Alpha-hydroxy-acid-based lotions or washes loosen dead skin cells and strengthen your skin’s outermost layer.

• Foundation shades should have golden tones and no SPF (which can sometimes look gray against skin).

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The Problem: Uneven Tone

Solution: Combine brightening and exfoliating treatments—and stay out of the sun.

• For an at-home regimen, combine Retin-A with a prescription or over-the-counter lightening cream. Do the treatments at
night, as they make your skin sun-sensitive.

• A series of in-office chemical peels—which combine a variety of alpha hydroxy acids and/or lighteners—can speed the process.

• Fraxel—a non-ablative, skin-resurfacing laser—
is best for more severe cases. It’s not recommended for darker skin tones, though, since it can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (a.k.a. more spots). And recovery can be up to a week.

• Sun exposure causes the problem, so during the day—whether it’s sunny or not—wear an antioxidant serum with sunscreen for protection. “A physical block containing zinc or titanium dioxide is best,” says Dr. Barba. “Brown patches and melasma are notorious for recurring—if you’re going outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat, too.”

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