Fast fixes for the season's biggest problems
As anyone who's ever had a scorching sunburn or a nasty case of poison ivy can attest, summer can be hard on skin.
Fortunately, most of the damage is easy to remedy.
Here are fast fixes for five common seasonal snafus, plus steps to safeguard your skin through Labor Day and beyond.
You're breaking out on your back, shoulders, and chest, and your regular soap isn't helping.
Wash with a body cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, ingredients that unblock pores and dry up excess oil.
(Don't scrub; it may inflame skin.)
To prevent breakouts, dust talcum powder on your back and chest to help absorb perspiration.
And look for oil-free products that are labeled noncomedogenic, which means they won't clog pores.
Avoid form-fitting clothes that hold heat and moisture close to your skin and change into fresh gear ASAP after perspiring heavily.
Don't forget to consider the laundry detergent you're using.
Some detergents contain harsh chemicals and/or scents that can play havoc with your skin.
I personally use a mild detergent such as Ivory Snow.
Summer-Skin-Care & Sunburn
You got caught up in the excitement of your kid's Little League tournament and forgot to re-apply sunscreen.
Now your skin is lobster red.
Avoid the sun until the skin has healed completely.
Sunburned skin temporarily loses its protective barrier, so it's more susceptible to subsequent burns.
To reduce inflammation and pain, pop an aspirin and take as directed until the burn fades.
Soaking in a bath of cool or lukewarm water laced with a handful of baking soda will also ease the burn.
Afterward, gently pat on a topical over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to help reduce swelling.
Try not to pick or peel skin that's beginning to flake because those dry patches protect forming skin from the environment.
Next time, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and re-apply every 2 hours.
Summer-Skin-Care & Ingrown Hairs
Your quest for an ultraclose shave left you with ingrown hairs around your bikini line.
Wash with an anti-bacterial soap to quell inflammation.
Gentle use of a loofah or washcloth every other day will help dislodge trapped hairs and prevent their return.
For a chronic case, try an exfolient containing salicylic acid, this keeps ingrown hairs at bay.
In the future, shave in the bath or shower as the water plumps up hair, making it easier to cut.
Change blades as soon as you feel any pull or drag as a dull blade is more likely to cause ingrown hairs.
Summer-Skin-Care & Poison Ivy
That "grass" you rested in after your hike was poison ivy, and now you can't stop itching.
Treat mild rashes with hydrocortisone cream.
Bathing in tepid water with 1 cup of oatmeal may also alleviate the misery.
If that's not enough, take an antihistamine such as Benadryl.
Because heat and sweating can aggravate the itch, stay as cool as possible.
See your doctor if the rash is on your face or genitals, is blistering or oozing, or doesn't improve after a week of self-treatment.
On future outdoor adventures, steer clear of plants that have three shiny leaves coming from a central stem.
If you act quickly to wash the plant's oily resin off your skin (it becomes irreversibly bound within 15 minutes of exposure), you can prevent or minimize a reaction.
Summer-Skin-Care & Dry Skin
A beach vacation left your skin looking and feeling drier than a desert.
After swimming, rinse with fresh water to remove any salt or chlorine buildup, which can further dry out and irritate skin.
Keep subsequent baths and showers short (no longer than 5 minutes) and use a mild cleanser and warm water.
Gently use a loofah, washcloth, or exfoliating scrub to slough off dead cells.
After bathing, towel-dry and moisturize immediately with a rich lotion.
You need to seal in the moisture while you're still slightly damp.Tweet
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