Four experts break down all the scrubs, serums and sprays you need to shed those winter scales.
LET'S FACE IT: if you live anywhere north of L.A., no-shave (legs) November can too-quickly turn into March without a soul other than your significant other batting an eye. (Pause to apologize to said significant other.) What with our winter-long layers of cashmere-blend garments, it's easy to forgo care for anything neck down until that holy-sh*t-it's-almost-summer Pilates class when it suddenly becomes starkly apparent that your bare feet haven't seen the light of day—forget about a pumice stone—for five months too long.
And that's just the poorly-pedicured tip of the iceberg. There's also the whole issue of wind burned dry skin, body breakouts, opposite-of-Miley bikini lines, and the subsequent razor burn upon discovering said bikini lines. Not to mention the whole elbows reminiscent of your snakeskin Givenchy envelope clutch situation. Let's just say we’ve seen smoother days.
So with our inspirational itsy-bitsy Kiini bikini in one hand and six summer wedding invitations in the other, we beelined it to some of our favorite derms and expert estheticians to get the low down on all the scrubs, serums and sprays we need to get our skin head-to-callused-toe summer ready.
Clean up your bikini line
“We offer Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments for hair removal, more commonly referred to as laser hair removal, that promotes a 90% reduction in hair growth. The technology has become so revolutionary that the treatments are virtually painless, with a cooling tip from the device to alleviate any discomfort. This technique is safe and low maintenance with long-lasting results. For optimal results, we suggest 6 treatments, ranging from 4-6 weeks apart. We also perform waxing with an aloe-infused hard wax—which is gentler on the skin than other types of waxing like strip, and removes hair while preventing ingrowns. Waxing is recommended every 3-4 weeks and when done by a professional beauty therapist can have very little to no pain! Gently exfoliating the skin with a soft body cloth or body exfoliant on a regular basis (just not the day of your appointment) will ensure a smoother waxing experience with less chance of ingrown hair.” —Stephanie Gee, Partner at Gee Beauty
Remove armpit hair
“IPL is amazing for under the arms! Waxing is another great option so that you're not constantly shaving every other day in the summer.” —Stephanie Gee
Treat razor burn, stubble and ingrowns
“Use a cold compress or ice first. You can also take some aspirin to reduce the inflammation, redness and swelling.” —Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, cosmetic dermatologist & founder of 5th Avenue Dermatology Surgery and Laser Center
“One of our favorite products for treating stubble and ingrown hairs are the Bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads, which contain an alpha and beta hydroxy acid and green tea. Ingrown hairs are quickly diminished and the skin is left calm and soothed. We also suggest using a body cloth regularly in the shower to keep skin buffed. Dermalogica has a great one that is long enough to stretch across the entire back!” —Stephanie Gee
Keep your body breakout-free
“Since oil is a breeding ground for bacteria, one of the ways to reduce back and body breakouts is to shower often—and that means twice a day. Keeping the skin clean can make a huge difference. Be sure the cleanser you are using is antibacterial and formulated for acne-prone skin.
Since breakouts can be made worse when the skin has an abundance of dead skin cells on the surface, it is crucial to gently remove the cellular buildup by exfoliating your back every time you shower. It can be hard to reach all the way on your back to do it yourself, so a simple solution is to apply your antibacterial cleanser directly to a loofah.” —Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and founder of Renée Rouleau Skin Care
“Clear & Brilliant, also known as Fraxel Light, is a great treatment to exfoliate the skin, rid of scars and pigmentation, and resurface fine lines. There is minimal downtime, which will get you back to outdoor activities without worrying about sun sensitivity.” —Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank
“Use an antioxidant serum like the Renee Rouleau Vitamin C & E Treatment under your daytime sunscreen to help reduce redness and prevent discoloration (brown spots) from heat and sun.
Exfoliate often, but gently. One of the keys to managing skin discoloration, particularly once it has appeared, is to use exfoliating products such as facial scrubs (using round beads, not harsh natural grains like apricot kernels that can be too irritating) and mild alcohol-free exfoliating acids such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid. When used regularly, these exfoliants can help break pigmented cells apart, which will lessen their appearance.
It’s important to not overdo it with exfoliating products, because during the summer when melanin cells are active, too much exfoliation may actually trigger more melanin. In addition, the use of exfoliating acids can increase sun sensitivity, which can make the skin vulnerable to the sun.” —Renée Rouleau
“Use an exfoliating body cloth to exfoliate and remove dry flaky skin to reveal softer, smoother and more even-toned skin on the body. When you get out of the shower, apply a body lotion or serum containing glycolic acid, as this will help to dissolve and digest dry cells deeper within the skin.” —Renée Rouleau
Smooth and contour
“We love and recommend dry brushing all over the body all year round. Aromatherapy Associates Dry Brush is excellent for removing dead skin cells and smoothing cellulite while promoting healthy circulation in the body.
For the ultimate summer body prep we recommend body contouring treatments, which uses radio frequency waves to target and break down fat cells, and is done in our medi-beauty department at Gee Beauty. It’s the most effective treatment to tighten and contour skin on the body. When done in a series of treatments, you can see a decrease in body measurements by 3-6 centimeters!” —Stephanie Gee
“For an instant and gorgeous glow, we swear by James Read for his Liquid Bronzer. It instantly transforms the skin and gives sexy, sun-kissed color. Of course, SPF is the most important beauty product to use all summer long to protect and prevent. Goldfaden MD's 100% natural dermatologist-grade Sun Visor SPF 30 is a spray-on SPF that is great for the whole body and face.” —Stephanie Gee
“British podiatrist Margaret Dabbs has an excellent nourishing foot oil that contains emu oil, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and contains Vitamin A and E to nourish and heal skin on the feet. We also suggest doing at-home maintenance between pedicures by using a pedi-file on the heels and soaking the feet once a week to keep feet fresh and ready for summer.” —Stephanie Gee
“The easiest and the most effective way to remove calluses is an electronic callus remover on dry skin. This doesn't require a lot of effort and it thoroughly removes calluses. You can also use a foot file—diamond is best, but metal will work in a pinch—and either file the callus before or after soaking in water if you apply a callus removing gel. After soaking your feet use a pumice stone. This can be done daily in a shower, but is really more of a maintenance solution as it doesn't remove a lot of material at once.” —Jin Soon Choi, editorial manicurist and Founder of JINsoon Spas and JINsoon Nail Lacquer
“I usually apply a liquid gel band aid or skin tone band-aid to prevent blisters when wearing new sandals. To heal blisters, clean the blistered area with Epsom salt water or alcohol and apply an ointment and band-aid. It's really important to repeat this often as you have more chances to contract a bacterial infection with open toe shoes.” —Jin Soon Choi