For temporary tightening, try a body cream formulated with caffeine, which "acts as a humectant, drawing water into the skin and filling in little divots," says Amy Wechsler, a dermatologist in New York City. Spreading on self-tanner can also "conceal lumps and bumps," but the effect is ephemeral. Although the market is inundated with a seemingly endless supply of anticellulite treatments, in Wechsler's opinion, the best option for smoothing out your rump is good, old-fashioned exercise!
Achieve a streak-free bronzy luster by applying a self-tanner that builds gradually. Before you smooth it on, be sure legs are shaved and skin is exfoliated so you sweep away dead surface cells that can contribute to an uneven application. Afterward, "run a cotton swab between fingers and toes to prevent color from congealing into muddy lines," says Carmindy, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City and author of "Crazy Busy Beautiful." "Also, use a moist washcloth to buff knees, elbows, and ankles, which helps eliminate dark staining." If the bottoms of your feet and the palms of your hands do end up a bit orange, rub on lemon juice -- the citric acid helps dissolve excess color.
The skin on the neck and chest is relatively thin to begin with, "Making it more susceptible to that weathered look," says Wechsler. People also tend to be less diligent about applying sunscreen to these areas even though they're just as vulnerable to UV damage. To keep your decolletage as fresh as your face, Wechsler advocates layering on a broad-spectrum block during the day and a retinol or Retin-A product at night. If you've already spied evidence of photo-aging -- i.e. sagginess, spottiness, wrinkling -- Wechsler suggests talking to your dermatologist about a rejuvenating Fraxel laser treatment, which specifically targets sun damage.
Bid adieu to your standing date with hot wax by investing in an at-home laser hair-removal device like the Tria ($395). This genius gadget is FDA-cleared for nixing body hair below the neck and can be used on sensitive sites like the underarms and bikini line. Paul Friedman, a dermatologist in Houston, Texas, says women can expect a "40 percent reduction in unwanted hair after six months of continued use." Plus, skin will be smoother and less prone to those itchy, uncomfortable ingrown hairs associated with waxing and shaving.
These banes of your bikini line don't have to ruin a day at the beach. After waxing, shaving, or depilating, swab on an antibiotic gel, such as Bacitracin, to keep bacteria from breeding in freshly shorn hair follicles. To help regrowth poke through the surface without twisting and turning, keep the area exfoliated by wiping on 2 percent salicylic acid pads daily -- just wait two days after you wax or shave, otherwise it'll sting. If an eruption arises, soothe the inflammation with a topical 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, then spot-treat with a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide solution.
Airborne allergies, harsh products, and seasonal climate changes can wreak havoc on your complexion, spurring on a flare-up of atopic dermatitis, which is characterized by redness, itchiness, and irritation. According to Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Santa Monica, California, "Inflammation leads to an increase in enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, which is why people with chronic eczema often look prematurely aged." To override an outbreak, quell inflamed skin with a topical 1 percent hydrocortisone cream for up to a week. It's also important to abstain from products containing common irritants and allergens like propylene glycol, beeswax, synthetic fragrances, and formaldehyde releasers.
In the shower, suds up with a body wash brimming with a chemical exfoliant like salicylic acid, which encourages skin cells to slough off. Skip harsh loofahs and grainy scrubs, which will only further aggravate skin. Also, be sure to wash your back and body after shampooing and conditioning, so you sweep away any silicones or comedogenic ingredients used to coat strands. Postshower, gently blot skin with a towel, then wipe 2 percent salicylic acid body pads on active breakouts. If you've got an uncomfortable bump that just won't go away, spot-treat it with 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide.
Pregnancy, aging, and on-the-feet jobs can lead to scads of spider veins, but that doesn't mean you have to commit to a lifetime of pants and ankle-length skirts. One effective in-office option is sclerotherapy, which involves closing the vein by injecting it with a concentrated saline solution like Polidocanol. Friedman has also seen success with pulsed-dye lasers like Vbeam, which contracts the blood vessel so it appears smaller. For more prominent veins, long-pulsed lasers can minimize vessels up to three millimeters in diameter. All three options entail the use of compression stockings post-appointment and often require a series of treatments for full results.
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