Refresh your complexion and boost your skin’s radiance by exfoliating with an at-home scrub or peel once a week or more, depending on the product. “You can do this mechanically, with scrubs or soft brushes, or chemically, with acids that gently dissolve the outermost skin layer,” says cosmetic dermatologist and aesthetician Lisa R. Ginn of Cultura in Washington, D.C. At-home picks: Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub, $8, drugstores, or Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel, $65, sephora.com.
Tip: For professional results, ask your dermatologist or aesthetician about in-office microdermabrasion treatments or chemical peels. Both allow for the top layer of the skin to be removed in a controlled environment.
Halt hyperpigmentation (dark spots) by wearing sunscreen, every day, rain or shine. At night, use a topical treatment to even out your complexion and lighten dark spots. Note: Now that the Food and Drug Administration is clamping down on hydroquinone, once the lightener of choice for most derms, look for alternative skin brighteners that contain ingredients such as kojic acid.
Tip: Ask your dermatologist about prescription retinoids. Because some patients experience irritation and peeling, be sure your doctor starts you on an appropriate strength for your skin and adjusts it periodically as indicated. As early as four weeks, you could notice improved texture and fewer dark spots and breakouts.
Prevent flesh moles by watching your exposure to the sun. “Those small, raised brown lesions often seen on the face and neck are commonly called moles, but they aren’t. They’re medically known as dermatosis papulosis nigra, or DPNs,” says dermatologist Lori M. Hobbs of Beverly Hills. Some experts say they’re hereditary, but most agree they’re an adverse effect of the sun.
Tip: “DPNs can be easily removed by your dermatologist through a process called electrodesiccation, in which a pin with current is stuck into the lesion to zap it off,” says Hobbs. “They take a few weeks to heal, but they usually heal nicely.” It’s best to get rid of DPNs when they’re small, she adds. Once they grow and spread, they’re much more difficult to remove.
Clear up occasional acne with over-the-counter products such as cleansers with salicylic acid, which exfoliate, act as an anti-inflammatory, and inhibit bacteria. And remember to hydrate the skin, as acne-fighting agents are often drying. This perpetuates more oil production and causes further breakouts. Check out the AcneRecovery System ($99, nordstrom.com), which allows you to adjust the amount of acne-fighting ingredients with each use to meet your daily acne demands.
Tip: If you suffer from highly visible inflamed pimples, it’s best to get on a professional program and curb your breakouts with professional facials. Extractions and exfoliation by an expert can help turn your skin around.
If you haven’t had a pedicure in months, don’t go overboard with your first one of the season. “If you remove too much of the calloused area and leave a soft, raw heel, you’ll just end up with blisters,” says Shelena Robinson of Creative Nail Design. Start off slowly at home in the shower with scrubs, pumices or a foot file a few times a week. “Both salt and sugar scrubs are great for at-home pedicures,” adds Robinson. She also recommends foot exfoliation creams or scrubs with mild alpha-hydroxy acids, which go a bit deeper than the typical grainy scrub.
Tell us: What’s your secret weapon for keeping your skin beautiful?
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