Your 4 Worst Summer Skin Problems, Solved

With the warm weather comes every girl’s nightmare: sweaty, sticky, sometimes bumpy, less-than-perfect skin. This summer, don’t let your skincare take a vacation! We spoke with Ashley Aldridge, a dermatologist at Affiliated Troy Dermatologists in Michigan, and Janet Koprince, a Michigan-based dermatologist, to get fixes for the season’s biggest problems.

Sunburn

You get caught up in the excitement at your favorite amusement park, forget to apply sunscreen, and four hours later, you’re as red as a tomato. A painful sunburn can really put a damper on your summer fun.

To prevent it:

To avoid a burn, Aldridge says all people, no matter what skin color they have, should wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply it every two to three hours. When choosing a sunscreen, she recommends using one that contains physical blockers, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. “Physical blockers are natural minerals that provide instant protection, whereas chemical sunscreens, found in a lot of over-the-counter brands, take half an hour to be effective,” she says. Dermalogica’s Super Sensitive Face Block ($45 at DermStore.com) and Neutrogena’s Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum ($10.49 at Neutrogena.com) are some great physical blocker sunscreens to try.

To fix it:

While sunburn is highly uncomfortable, it can be relatively easy to soothe your symptoms! Aldridge says using anti-inflammatory gels will help alleviate the stinging pain associated with burns. Mill Creek Botanicals’s 99% Aloe Vera Gel ($5.99 at Walgreens) or another generic brand of aloe vera will do the trick. She adds that over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, like this one by Aveeno ($5.60 at Aveeno.com), is also effective for treating inflammation caused by mild sunburns. For more extreme cases, you can take ibuprofen to help ease the pain. While it isn’t ideal to stay inside on a beautiful day, avoiding the sun will help quicken the healing process. If you must go outside, try to stay in the shade and keep the burn covered.

Dull or Dry Skin

Hanging out by the pool is a summer necessity, but the continuous exposure to sun, chlorine, and heat can make your skin drier than the Sahara. Hydration plays a major role in your overall health, and it’s also the key to healthy skin.

To prevent it:

Moisturizing is crucial here! Aldridge says the best time to moisturize is when your skin is still damp. She suggests that after you shower, you apply lotion generiously to areas that are prone to being dry: your elbows, knees, ankles, and thighs, as well as behind your arms. After applying lotion, gently pat your skin dry with a towel. This helps trap the water molecules in the surface of your skin. Keeping a bottle of body lotion in your bathroom can make this step super easy! Nivea’s Smooth Sensation Triple Action Daily Lotion ($17.69 at Walmart.com) and The Body Shop’s Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion ($12 at thebodyshop-usa.com) are lotions that will help lock in moisture for smoother skin. Drinking lots of water is also a simple way to hydrate your skin!

To fix it:

A buildup of dead skin cells leads to the dry, cracked skin that every girl loathes. In order for lotion to do its job, the dead cell wall needs to be removed. You can do this by exfoliating in the shower or using an acidic lotion when you moisturize. Aldridge says that lotions with salicylic acid double as an exfoliator to remove these unwanted dead skin cells. Looking for a good exfoliator? Try C.O. Bigelow’s Mentha Body Exfoliating Soap ($7.50 at Bath & Body Works).

Koprince says your skin becomes sensitive after exfoliating, so it is important to wear sunscreen or stay covered if you know you’ll be going outside. She also says wearing sunscreen after exfoliating helps lock the moisture in.