Summer’s approaching, which means just one thing: swimsuit season! Everyone runs to the gym to get an amazing beach body, but the truth of the matter is that a large part of how you look in a swimsuit depends on your skin. Don’t believe us? Just try these four tips and you’ll be amazed at the difference.
They’re not just for your face—alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid) make your body look sensational too. In the dermatological community, glycolic acid is well-known for exfoliating, unclogging pores, evening out pigmentation, softening fine lines, and hydrating the skin. It’s available in lotions like Glytone with concentrations as high as 17%, or in the new Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel pads, at a concentration of 10%.
2. Exfoliate your body before you cleanse.
I think we were all brainwashed by the three-step system: wash, tone, then moisturize. However, for your body, it’s always a great policy to exfoliate with a scrub first and then follow up with a moisture-rich cleanser with petrolatum, like my drugstore favorite, Olay Complete Body Wash. Though some people claim that petrolatum can do horrendous things to your body because it’s derived from crude oil, the vast majority of those in the medical community feel that cosmetic-grade, highly-refined petrolatum is safe. When applied topically, petrolatum acts as an occlusive agent, trapping moisture on the skin.
3. Wear sunscreen daily.
Many people believe clothing is sufficient protection from the sun. Not so! Although your standard blue jeans have an SPF of 99, light tank tops may provide SPF protection of only 10 or less, depending on the type of material, the tightness of the knit, and the color.
The efficacy of ultraviolet protective clothing is measured by the Ultraviolet Protection Factor, or UPF. Unlike SPF, which quantifies only UVB protection, UPF measures both UVA and UVB (broad-spectrum) protection. A UPF of 10 equals protection of about SPF 30. The highest UPF for clothing is 50+, meaning that 2% of UV rays still manage to get through.
The point is this: UV rays cause more signs of premature aging than any other environmental stressor. Despite many women’s spending hundreds of dollars at day spas for body wraps and mud treatments, the vast majority of them do not apply sunscreen to their bodies daily, which is the easiest prevention of all! What’s more, it’s available for less than a dollar a day in Vaseline Advanced Benefits Aloe Fresh Protecting Body Lotion SPF 15. The average 150-pound woman should use about four ounces per day (or one-fifth of a bottle) on her entire body.
4. Eat a low-glycemic index diet.
High-glycemic index foods, like white pastas, bread, sugary cereals, pastries, and cookies hurt not only your waistline, but also your skin. Too much sugar stimulates insulin production, which in turn increases your body’s production of androgens (like DHT and testosterone). These ugly masculine hormones turn your skin ferocious as well, overproducing oils and clogging your pores with sebum.
Not to mention that high-glycemic index foods have been associated with sluggishness— how many Baywatch babes ever had a problem running up the beach? Time to eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and other low-glycemic index foods for that healthy glow!
Read more from Nicki at Future Derm, or visit her Facebook page.