Apply Sunscreen -- and Use Enough
"There are lots of things you can do to make skin look good, but the most important thing is sun protection so you never get a burn," Narins says.
"How high a number of sun protection factor (SPF) you need depends on how fair you are," she says. People with fairer skin, lighter hair, and lighter eyes often need stronger sun block than their darker counterparts.
Everyone should wear a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher with a broad-spectrum agent that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Some moisturizers have an SPF, but not all do. Check the label.
Apply it generously. "You can't skimp," says Bruce E. Katz, MD, medical director of the JUVA Skin and Laser Center in New York City. "People tend to underapply sunscreen. Put on enough to cover your entire body, no matter how much it takes."
Apply it before you reach the beach or outdoors. "Sunscreen takes 15 to 20 minutes to kick into high gear, so apply it before you leave the house, not when you get to the beach," he says.
Reapply it frequently. Remember that it only lasts for about two hours. "So by six hours you have no protection if you have been out all day," he says. Sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily.
And don't forget your scars. "The sun can lighten or darken scars so make sure to be extra careful and use an SPF of 30 or higher on those parts," Fallek says.
Shave Away Unwanted Hair
While there are no proven ways to make a shave last longer, Kunin suggests trying a shave-minimizing moisturizer after you shave. "If you start now, you may find that by summer you are growing less hair in all those areas that will be bare."
A good shaving strategy also helps. Shave in the opposite direction from which hair grows. In places where hair grows in different directions and in hard-to-reach areas such as underarms and the bikini area, try pulling the skin slightly, making it more taut and easier to shave.
Nothing can ruin the look of a clean shave like ingrown hairs.
"If you are prone to ingrown hairs, choose a specialized product that incorporates aspirin into its base," she says. Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory. When applied to the affected area, it decreases the likelihood of shaving bumps caused by ingrown hairs. Several treatments are available in drug stories to help eliminate bumps, ingrown hairs, and razor burns from waxing, shaving, and electrolysis.
You could also try waxing, Kunin says. "Waxing will buy you more time than shaving. But remember that when you go to rewax, you have to let hair grow to minimal length first," she cautions.