The biggest perk of summer beauty is that your routine instantly becomes fairly low-maintenance. Air-drying won’t leave you shivering and you don’t have to layer on nearly as many skincare products. That doesn’t mean this season is free from its own unique issues, though. With chafing, bug bites, and sunburn to contend with, summer’s beauty problems can be tough to beat. Luckily, we consulted with a few pros and got the quick fix for every single annoyance. Take a look below.
The Problem: Chafing
Whether it’s from skin-to-skin or skin-to-clothing contact, chafing is the result of friction between two surfaces. According to Dr. Howard Murad, that friction causes a dry, flaky, or inflamed irritation that can even bleed and is most common on the inner thighs or under arms.
The Fix: “Gently treat the affected area with a healing ointment, like Murad’s Soothing Skin and Lip Care, and cover with a bandage to prevent further damage to the skin,” says Dr. Murad. “Cool the area with ice packs to reduce redness or consider taking a soothing bath while avoiding hot water, which can dry out the skin further.” Just one more extra step as you walk out the door can save you some pain. Dr. Murad says that using a powder on the places where the irritation usually pops up can help reduce the friction.
The Problem: Body Acne
We can’t point our finger to just one reason you may be getting zits on your back, but Dr. Murad says that it may be more common in the summer simply because we sweat more. That combined with bacteria on the skin’s surface can contribute to clogged pores.
The Fix: Your first line of defense is getting in the shower right after you workout. “Follow with a salicylic acid cleansing scrub like Murad’s Acne Body Wash, using a long-handled loofah to apply,” he instructs. Next, our expert recommends using an oil-reducing toner. If you can’t make it to the shower, he recommends using a cleansing wipe with acne-fighting ingredients or a chemical exfoliant that can get rid of pore-clogging dead skin cells.
The Problem: Poison Ivy
Don’t underestimate this little itch-inducing leaf. The irritating rash it generates is no joke—and it comes on quicker than you realize.
The Fix: If you start to notice the rash forming, Dr. Hadley King, a dermatologist at Skinney Medspa, suggests rinsing the area with lukewarm soapy water. This will help prevent the irritating urushiol oil found in poison ivy from spreading. While it’ll be itchy, try not to scratch to avoid infections. Instead, Dr. King suggests applying calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or taking oral antihistamines. To further soothe the sitch, she recommends trying a cold compress, taking short cool showers, or lukewarm baths with baking soda or colloidal oatmeal.
One dip in the pool isn’t going to leave your skin screaming for hydration, but over time chlorine can definitely contribute to dryness. “Chlorine strips away the surface layer of oil on your skin that usually locks in moisture,” says Dr. King. “Moisturizing before getting into the pool may help, but there’s not much you can do while in the water.”
The Fix: The key to this problem is fast action after you exit the water. Dr. King says you should shower to remove the chemicals and follow up with moisturizer. “If you have sensitive skin or if the pool is highly chlorinated, a specialty body wash and lotion from Triswim may be helpful,” she notes. “They work together to neutralize chlorine and add moisture to the skin.”
If you’ve been out exercising in the heat too long, you may have noticed blotchy, bumpy areas showing up on your complexion. Prevention comes from working out in loose clothing during the sun’s off hours, slathering on zinc oxide to prevent sweating, and applying baby powder to keep the skin dry. If you already have a little rash, there are a few options.
The Fix: “Immediate treatment for heat rash begins by stopping exercise or other outdoor activity, shielding yourself from sun exposure and moving to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned area,” says Dr. Murad. He explains that the next step would be using calamine lotion, cool compresses, and anhydrous lanolin to soothe your skin. Alternatively, look for products with ingredients such as azelaic acid for hydration and goji berry, which reduces inflammation.
Got bit by one of those little buggers? Clean the area, stop scratching and follow these tips!
The Fix: After you’ve washed up, Dr. King says you should apply a calamine lotion or cortisone cream to the area or take an oral antihistamine. While she says products like DEET will help keep the bugs away, you don’t have to slather on chemicals if you prefer to go all-natural. Consuming garlic or garlic pills could help, and she mentions that some believe vitamin B supplements can aid in shooing away bugs.
Forgot to reapply your SPF? Just don’t make it a habit. While the rosy burns are temporary, they can contribute to more serious skin damage over time.
The Fix: Taking an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofin could help reduce pain and inflammation, but you should talk to your doctor first, according to Dr. Murad. He points to topical products that hold anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich, and hydrating ingredients, including goji berry extract, peppermint leaf extract, pomegranate extract, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and white ginger root extract. Sunblock isn’t the only way to protect your skin—what you eat can also provide another line of defense. “Increase your intake of brightly colored water-rich fruits and vegetables because they’re full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to help your skin heal and protect against future damage from the sun,” he says.