Savvy Consumer: Smooth skin secrets, for just about every climate
Whatever your top skin concern wrinkles and spots, super-dry skin or acne it's very likely your climate is a key culprit. Here's advice from doctors on how to fix the common problems they often see from various parts of the country.
Chicago (parts of the Midwest and West) Say goodbye to bumps
Dr. Amy Erick
Skin woe • Dry skin from lower humidity, indoors and outdoors. Common cholesterol-lowering drugs may exacerbate itchy skin, too.
Solution • "Skip soap, it's drying," said Erick. "On your body, use a loofah to get air into the cleanser, create a lather and then spread it. If you use your hands, you'll put on too much, which also parches skin. Follow with a moisturizer with a humectant-like glycerin because it draws moisture from the air. If you have to wash your hands a lot, use a hand sanitizer. It's less drying than soap. That's what I use in my practice; otherwise, I'd be washing my hands 80 times a day."
New Orleans Banish "bacne"
Dr. Deidre Hooper
Skin woe • Acne, especially on your back.
Solution • "Use facial skin care on your body, but choose acne-fighting salicylic acid, not benzoyl peroxide," Hooper suggests. "If a BP lotion gets wet during the day when you sweat, for example it can bleach your clothes. Instead, use 2 percent salicylic-acid wash on your back when you get in the shower, leave it on for a few minutes while you cleanse your face, and then rinse it off."
Skin woe • Little red bumps between the breasts, on your rear or in other skin folds. "Women think they have acne, but it's actually folliculitis, or inflamed hair follicles, often because of an overgrowth of yeast on the skin," Hooper said. "A common cause is working out and then leaving your exercise clothes on [for long periods]. Even wearing tight clothes like leggings at an event like our famous Jazz Fest, where you'll sweat in the heat and humidity, can be problematic."
Solution • Wear breathable clothes. And try an anti-dandruff shampoo its zinc is an anti-inflammatory on the bumps as a body wash.
Dallas Outsmart the sun
Dr. Lisa Garner
Skin woe • Sunburn. "Come late March, it's sunny and only 75 degrees. People think, 'Oh, it's so cool. I don't need sunscreen.' And then they show up in my office with terrible redness," Garner said.
Solution • "At this latitude, you need a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. I'm in the office today, and that's what I'm wearing. But it gets hot out, and the minute you sweat, the moisturizer will lose its effectiveness. That's when you need to switch to a true sunscreen that's labeled 'water-resistant.' From April to October, I use that and skip moisturizer. During indoor activities, remember to reapply it every two hours. If you're a golfer, that's at hole nine. And apply it to your chest and neck every day, too. You can always get your face resurfaced, but treating discoloration on your neck and chest is more difficult.
Here are other great skin products to try:
Problem • Skin dryness
Products • Dove Beauty Bar $3.79 for two, drugstores; Eucerin Skin Calming Dry Skin Body Wash $8, drugstores.
Problem • "Bacne"
Product • Clean & Clear Advantage Daily Soothing Acne Wash $7.50, drugstores.
Problem • Red bumps (folliculitis)
Product • Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo $5, drugstores.
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