Summer is just a few months away, and after this brutal winter, it can’t come fast enough. While you’re dreaming of the warm-weather outfits you’ll wear, take some time to get your body ready for all the skin-baring styles to come. Scroll on for expert advice on how to get clear, summer skin — starting now.
1. Even out skin tone. Clearing up acne marks and hyperpigmentation on the face and body is totally doable by summer. “For acne scarring and hyper pigmentation, you can do a series of specific laser treatments that would result in peak effects by summer — it takes three to four months to get these results,” says Newport Beach-based dermatologist Zena Gabriel. If you have dark spots or melasma and don’t want to go the procedure route, you can use an OTC two percent hydroquinone, or get a prescription for four percent. You can expect to see results within four weeks, depending on the concentration. Also SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum ($154) or products containing licorice root and Kojic acid can get rid of dark spots. According to Gabriel, redness, as seen in rosacea, can be eliminated with a laser procedure called VBeam. This, as well as the laser treatments to clear up acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, can be done in your dermatologist’s office.
2. Smooth roughness. Gabriel says it depends on the severity and type of texture abnormality (e.g. deep acne scaring vs. large pores), but a few laser procedures can fix these issues in a matter of a few weeks with two to three treatments. For acne scarring, procedures that combine microneedling with laser energy, or even a full laser resurfacing treatment, would do the trick and heal by summertime. Deep acne scar reduction could take longer (possibly two to three months), as it takes time for new healthy collagen to be stimulated.
3. Heal dry winter skin. As the humidity in the air increases, the skin loses less water, so dry, wintry skin will usually recover by summer with the use of emollients. “I like to use acid-containing lotions, like AmLactin Alpha Hydroxy Therapy Rapid Relief Restoring Lotion + Ceramides ($15) or Glytone Exfoliating Body Lotion ($43), to smooth out dry skin and have silky smooth legs by summer,” Gabriel says.
4. Get control of oily skin. If your skin type is oily and only gets worse in the summer, start revamping your product lineup now to help reduce the major oil slicks that come with warmer weather. Dr. Michelle Henry, clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, says that focusing on your cleansing regimen and transitioning from heavy winter moisturizers to more breathable spring and summer moisturizers is the best way to start. “Consider switching to a gel moisturizer that will be fast-absorbing without an oily residue — and transition to a foam cleanser to remove oil and debris from oily summer skin,” she says and recommends CeraVe Foaming Cleanser ($14) and Clinique Moisture Surge 72 hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator ($19).
5. Clear up acne from within. As temperatures rise, Henry explains that oil glands become more active and acne may worsen. One way to address this is through your diet. Avoiding foods like dairy, which worsen inflammation, and increasing foods like salmon, which is naturally anti-inflammatory, will help to curb breakouts.
6. Remove hair. Laser hair removal takes about three to five treatments approximately three weeks apart, so March is a good time to start. Try starting with a smaller area like underarms or the bikini area, which takes less time and is less painful, but still make a big impact come swimsuit season.
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