Sure, you start the season excited to spend the warm, sun-filled days outdoors, but if you’re like us, by the time July and August roll around, everything from painful red sunburn to embarrassing sweat-stained clothes manages to dampen your sunny demeanor. To revive your looks and boost your spirits, we asked top beauty and fashion pros for affordable, fast-acting tips that not only prevent summer-related arghs but fix them as well. Read on for the savvy strategies that will help you power through the dog days of summer with beauty, confidence and a smile on your face!
For a shine-free complexion
The season’s heat and humidity cause oil glands to go into overdrive, leaving skin looking greasy.
- Prevent it: Before applying skin care or makeup in the morning and after washing it off at the end of the day, saturate a cotton pad with a witch hazel toner like Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel Deep Cleansing Astringent ($6.57, Walmart.com) and sweep onto the face. “The astringent plant controls excess oil production to fend off a greasy complexion,” says West Islip, New York, dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, M.D.
- Skin already greasy? Sop it up with a stone roller like Revlon Oil-Absorbing Volcanic Stone Roller ($10, Walmart.com). The absorbent stone whisks away oil without removing makeup. Plus, it fits easily in your bag for grease-free on the go.
For wrinkle-free clothes
We love the airy feel of silk and linen during the summer; it’s just too bad these lightweight fabrics crease so easily — especially when up against the heat and ensuing perspiration.
- Prevent it: Pretreat delicate fabrics with a starch spray like The Laundress Stiffen Up ($16, TheLaundress.com) before ironing or steaming, advises celebrity stylist Anna Katsanis. Its cornstarch gives lighter fabrics some hold so they’re less prone to wrinkling.
- Clothes already creased? Whip up a DIY wrinkle-nixing spray made of 1 ⁄2 cup of water, 1 ⁄2 tsp. of liquid fabric softener and 1 ⁄2 tsp. of rubbing alcohol. The softener smooths wrinkles while the alcohol helps it evaporate to prevent spots. Just pour the mix into a small spray bottle (so you can carry it wherever you go); shake. Then mist on creased fabric, gently tug on wrinkles and let dry 5 minutes.
For sunburn-free skin
It’s easy to forget to reapply SPF every 90 minutes when lounging by the pool or spending an afternoon gardening. The result? A red, painful burn.
- Prevent it: Take a supplement infused with fern extract like Heliocare Daily Use Antioxidant Formula (Buy on Amazon, $27.99). Antioxidants in the plant aid in neutralizing free radicals in the body and help skin defend itself better against UV rays, says New York City dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D. Simply take one capsule in the morning and another a half hour before going outside. Note: The supplement should be used in tandem with wearing sunscreen.
- Already sunburned? Heal it with a frozen cucumber. The fruit’s anti-inflammatory compounds soothe redness and irritation, and the chill takes the sting out of a burn. To do: Cut a cucumber in half, store in the freezer until chilled and apply to burns.
For a blemish-free back
Hot temperatures tend to open pores, allowing blemish-causing irritants like sunscreen, sweat and environmental toxins to seep in.
- Prevent it: Add activated charcoal powder to your body wash daily, says New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. “As the body wash cleanses skin, charcoal absorbs dirt, oil and other impurities that result in breakouts.” The slightly abrasive powder also whisks away the dead, dry skin cells that clog pores and contribute to breakouts. Simply mix 1 tsp. of activated charcoal powder (like Solaray Activated Coconut Charcoal Powder, $16.49, iHerb.com) with a palmful of body wash, lather onto skin and let sit for 1 minute before rinsing.
- Already have bacne? Eliminate it with a salicylic acid–infused patch like Peace Out Salicylic Acid Acne Healing Dots ($19, Sephora.com). The acid kills acne-causing bacteria, while it’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness. Best of all, the patches are clear so you can wear them while out and about.
For rash-free skin
Whether from perspiration that gets trapped in skin, bug bites or a reaction to too much sun, the discomfort and appearance of inflamed, itchy red bumps along the chest, arms, belly or legs can easily ruin our day.
- Prevent it: Spritz skin with a DIY aloe and lavender spray. Compounds in aloe called saponins create a protective film over skin that hydrates to keep skin’s barrier healthy and strong to thwart rashes from forming. And anti-inflammatory lavender oil wards off potential irritation. To do: Add 1 ⁄2 cup of water, 1⁄4 cup of aloe vera gel and 4 drops of lavender essential oil into a spray bottle; shake to combine. Spritz on skin before going out.
- Already have a rash? Soothe it with a yogurt and honey salve. Yogurt’s probiotics have antiinflammatory properties that relieve pain and itching, while its lactic acid gently exfoliates skin to help unclog sweat-trapping glands. And moisturizing honey nourishes skin to speed healing. To do: Mix 1 Tbs. of plain yogurt and 2 tsp. of honey. Apply to rashes and let sit 15 minutes, then rinse.
For sweat-free soles
Sweat not only leaves our feet feeling and smelling icky, but it makes them prone to slipping out of our sandals!
- Prevent it: Soak feet in an apple cider vinegar and baking soda bath before putting on shoes. Apple cider vinegar has astringent properties that temporarily constrict sweat glands to limit perspiration. And alkaline baking soda balances skin’s pH levels to further prevent feet from sweating, while it also kills odor-causing bacteria so feet are dry and smell-free. To do: Add 1 ⁄2 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 ⁄4 cup of baking soda into a basin filled with water. Soak feet for 5 minutes; pat dry.
- Feet already sweaty? Dry them with dry shampoo. The absorbent spray-on powder sops up sweat in seconds. And one like Aquage Travel Size Dry Shampoo ($9, Ulta.com) is invisible so it won’t ruin your shoes.
For sweat stain–free tops
Come mid-summer, it seems no matter how much antiperspirant we apply, sweat still manages to seep through our clothes, leaving those unmistakable wet spots that make us self-conscious.
- Prevent it: While antiperspirant helps reduce sweating, it doesn’t stop it completely. So medical aesthetician Cassandra Bankson suggests using an ultra-absorbent powder made with cornstarch, arrowroot powder and kaolin clay (like Megababe Body Dust, $20, Ulta.com) with antiperspirant to help wick away moisture so clothes stay dry regardless of the temperature. To do: After applying your regular antiperspirant, pour a palmful of the powder into one hand and rub onto sweat-prone areas like the underarms, breasts and back.
- Already have sweat stains? Remove them with a dryer sheet, suggests celebrity stylist Anna Katsanis. “Made of absorbent polyester, dryer sheets soak up moisture from a fabric so it will dry quickly.” Even better? Using scented dryer sheets instantly nixes any odor that can accompany sweat. Simply blot moist areas of clothing with one dryer sheet for 1 minute. Bonus: It’s easy to stow a few sheets in a plastic baggie and toss in your bag for quick touchups no matter where the day takes you.
For chafe-free thighs
It’s such a relief to slip into a pair of thin shorts or a lightweight skirt on a hot day. But if you’re like us, it’s not long before sweat-causing friction between the inner thighs creates a painful rash that has you regretting the fashion choice.
- Prevent it: Grab an anti-chafe gel that contains dimethicone, like Monistat Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel ($8.10, Walmart.com). The silicone-like polymer dries down to a powder-like finish that creates a slippery barrier on skin to thwart friction-causing irritation from the get-go, says Bankson. Simply massage a nickel-size amount onto skin along the inner thighs before getting dressed.
- Already chafed? Repair it with a mask made of oatmeal and coconut milk. Anti-inflammatory oats calm redness and irritation and their beta-glucans repair skin’s outermost layer, while moisturizing coconut milk is packed with antioxidants that help skin heal faster. To do: Mix 1 ⁄4 cup of old-fashioned oats and 1 ⁄4 cup of coconut milk, let soak for five minutes. Apply to chafed skin; rinse after 10 minutes.
For blister-free feet
Strappy sandals feel so freeing, but as feet sweat and swell with the heat we end up with painful blisters galore.
- Prevent it: Sweep a balm containing ozokerite wax and apricot oil (we like Body Glide Foot Anti Blister Balm, $10.90, Walmart.com) onto feet before slipping into shoes. The wax and oil combo creates an invisible, slick shield over heels and toes to limit blister-causing friction between skin and shoes. And because both of these ingredients are emollients, they hydrate the often-overlooked skin on feet to soften calluses at the same time.
- Already have a blister? Treat it with a hydrocolloid bandage like Compeed Blister Cushions ($6.99, Walmart.com), says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. Placed on the blister, the patch creates a stay-put barrier that helps skin retain its natural moisture to speed healing while also keeping infection-causing dirt and bacteria out. Plus, the cushion prevents any rubbing that can worsen the wound. Tip: No need to remove the patch, it will remain in place for several days, allowing the blister to heal before detaching on its own.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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