Prepare for Hair Removal
If, like many women, you've paid a lot less attention to body hair during winter months, you may be facing a major de-fuzzing come spring and summer. According to beauty expert Claudia Spagnolo, among the best things you can do for your skin is a full-body exfoliating scrub before you do any hair removal treatments.
"If you use a mild natural ingredient like brown sugar to gently, and I repeat, gently rub your body several days before having a waxing or chemical hair removal, you'll loosen and remove dead skin cells, which will not only make your hair removal easier but also safer," says Spagnolo, director of the DeFranco Spagnolo Salon and Spa in Great Neck, N.Y.
Spagnolo says that the full-body scrub is also a great way to get ready for an application of any faux tanning product, adding that it "helps to ensure a more even application with less streaking."
Do not however, use any body scrub or exfoliation product the day of your treatment -- even your faux tan. The best time to pretreat, she says, is 24 hours to 48 hours prior to your hair removal or tanning.
Facing Spring Skin: Makeover Magic for Your Face
While exfoliation may be key to achieving a sleeker, satiny smooth body -- with or without a faux tan -- that's nothing compared to what the same treatment can do for your face. But this is where the similarity between seasonal face and body care ends. The reason? Waldorf says never use a mechanical, exfoliating scrub on your face.
"Scrubs that contain walnut shells or apricot pits, for example, can cause microscopic tears in the skin that can ultimately make dry winter skin look and feel much worse, especially on your face," says Waldorf. Even the brown sugar scrub, she says, can be too harsh for some skin.
Instead, she suggests a cleanser or moisturizer (or both!) containing an alpha-hydroxy or beta-hydroxy acid -- a far safer way, says Waldorf, to rid your skin of those dull, dead cells. If you feel you must try some "mechanical" form of exfoliation, Waldorf suggests gentle cleansing cloths like the type made by Dove or Oil of Olay.
"This is as harsh as you should get with the skin on your face, and even the skin on your body, particularly when coming out of the winter season," she says.
Citron agrees and adds a caution concerning the use of home acid peels to recondition skin for spring.
"While some of the milder commercial preparations may be OK, don't try to buy a professional-grade acid peel, like the kind sold over the Internet, and use it on your own -- you have to be very careful and you have to know what you are using, or you could end up with some serious problems," says Citron. This includes a condition known as "hyperpigmentation" -- blotchy, uneven, chemically damaged skin that happens most frequently in darker complexions.