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A Primer on Summer Skin Repair

If a season of summer fun has left your skin looking less than lustrous, don't despair. Experts say it's easy to look fabulous fast. This is the second of a two-part series.

Rebalance, Replenish, Renew Your Skin

Regardless of the method you use to remove the old cells, once that's accomplished, Asquith says we not only need to bathe our skin in moisturizers, but also to choose products that will regenerate, replenish, and rebalance it. Among the best, she says, are those which contain soothing, nourishing botanicals including borage, lupin, olive, and wheat germ oils, as well as essential fatty acids.

"When we think of these oils, we think of nourishing cells, and that's exactly what the skin's cells need -- and that's exactly what these kinds of ingredients will provide," says Asquith.

What can also help: A new skin moisturizing technology known as lamellar liquid crystals.

"This mimics the lamellar structure of the stratum corneum (a layer of skin), so it reinforces the natural hydrating system and strengthens the lipid barrier, protecting the skin from any further water loss," Asquith tells WebMD.

But as you may already know, skin damaged from sun and sea is not your only summer beauty woe. Experts say a very specific type of seasonal skin irritation can occur if you spent your summer doused in insect repellent, particularly one with high concentrations of the active ingredient DEET.

"These products can really aggravate the skin, and if you put these preparations on areas that are already inflamed from exposure to the elements, it can cause a kind of dermatitis that can be quite irritating and even painful," says Jerome Shupack, MD, a professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine.

To combat the problem, he says, moisturizers may help, but more often than not you may need a 1% cortisone cream to calm the inflammation.

If you must continue to use a repellent into the later days of summer or even early fall, Shupack tells WebMD a heavy duty unscented moisturizer should be applied first, to coat the skin and form a barrier between you and the repellant. In addition, Shupack says wear insect repellent only as long as you have to, showering it off as soon as you are back indoors, and putting on clean clothes that haven't been in contact with the offending chemicals.

In a similar scenario, Shupack tells WebMD that skin can also become irritated, red, and inflamed by chemicals found in sunscreen. When this is the case, he says, stop using the sunscreen immediately, but don't stop protecting your skin.

"People seem to forget that clothing is one of the best sunscreens you can have, so just make sure to cover up when you go outdoors, particularly if your skin it's already irritated or inflamed, and use plenty of unscented moisturizer," says Shupack.

Facing Fall With Great Skin

While for many of us repairing our overstressed body complexion is the biggest seasonal challenge, for others it's the skin on our face that's in need of the most help. Indeed, doctors say that by summer's end they see an increase in not only a darkening of freckles, sunspots, and melasma, (a pigmentation "mask" across cheeks and nose) but also more acne breakouts.

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