"Before a beach vacation, I wear sunscreen on my body every night. I do it for two to three weeks ahead so the sunscreen builds up in my stratum corneum, and it makes my skin less likely to burn," says Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Top dermatologists share their summer skin-care tips: what they do themselves to prevent sun damage, uneven skin, redness, and more.
"I always look for 'oil-free' on [sunscreen] labels—'sheer' doesn't necessarily mean oil-free. I like Topix Citrix Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 30," says Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.
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Simplify Your Routine
Heidi Waldorf, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, relies on La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60. "I've stuck with it because it soaks in like a body lotion," she says.
"Many sunscreens look white or ashy on dark skin. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are typically the problem," notes Susan C. Taylor, founding director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. She recommends Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55 and her own Rx for Brown Skin Age Block UV Shield SPF 15.
Go Big at the Beach
"For heavy-duty outdoor activities, like a day at the beach, I use Blue Lizard Sport SPF 30 sunscreen. It contains a chemical sunscreen and zinc oxide," says Waldorf. "I don't use it daily because it's thick and takes a long time to rub in, but it's very water-resistant. I can feel it on my skin, so I know it's there, and I like that."
"It's all about getting the inflammation down as soon as possible to curb damage in the skin and to calm redness," says Patricia Wexler, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "I soak a facecloth in a bowl of skim milk and ice and apply it to the area for five to ten minutes. I also take aspirin or ibuprofen and apply hydrocortisone cream."
These facial mists "have natural minerals that will calm skin, and they make you look dewy," says Ranella Hirsch, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine. Plus, when you sweat, you lose minerals necessary for healthy skin. "These sprays are like Gatorade for your face," explains Hirsch. Try Vichy Laboratoires Thermal Spa Water or La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.
"An in-office salicylic acid peel twice a month is my mainstay," says Taylor. "It clears up dulling, dead skin cells, which not only helps even out any discoloration, but also draws excess oil out of the pores and leaves skin less shiny." Alexiades-Armenakas gets a superficial chemical peel that's a combination of trichloroacetic acid and glycolic or salicylic acid twice every summer. "It clears out the pores, kills bacteria inside, and slows oil production," she says. "And it tightens the look of pores."
"I wash with a prescription sulfur-based cleanser called Sumaxin and follow it with Finacea gel, which reduces flushing and oil production. I've never found mattifying products that I love, but with this regimen, I don't need them," says Alexiades-Armenakas.
Trade in Foundation
"I switch to daily moisturizer with gradual self-tanner and SPF; my favorite is from Jergens [Natural Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20]. It gives me a glow, so I look better overall—more awake and fresh," says Hirsch.
Get More Out of a Bronzer
"When I want a hint of color, I use Per-fékt Body Perfection Gel, a body makeup that goes on like tinted moisturizer. It's a good hydrator, and it doesn't rub off on clothes like other tinted lotions can," says Wexler.
|Photo: Condé Nast Digital Studio|
Stop Redness in its Tracks
"A facecloth soaked in ice water, then wrung out and held to the neck, cools the blood that's flowing to the face and reduces redness. I do this in part for vanity, but also because, over time, chronic flushing can lead to permanently dilated capillaries on the face," explains Mary P. Lupo, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
"Pores look more obvious in hot, humid weather," explains Lupo. "I advise my patients to add one extra [exfoliation] session per week. I use kits that give you control over the intensity, like Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel." (Lupo is a consultant for Philosophy.)
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