Winter is still hanging on for dear life in certain parts of the U.S., but before you know it, it will be time to ditch jackets and thick tights. It will also be time to show skin that hasn’t seen sun or fresh air for months. This could get ugly.
But it doesn’t have to. Starting now, you can get your skin in shape for warmer weather—without having to panic on the first day of skirts and short sleeves. Those not blessed with naturally dark skin might prefer the pale look to a tan. Smooth, touchable skin isn’t a matter of preference, though. If you’ve been covered up for months on end, skin texture probably hasn’t been a priority.
The first order of business is to slough off old, dead cells. The classic approach is a physical exfoliator—specifically a scrub. Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish ($67) is a perennial favorite, while Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Scrub ($50) smells like a French pâtisserie with a hint of musk. If you prefer your body products odorless, Dermadoctor KP Duty Body Scrub ($46) features both granules and alpha-hydroxy acids for a chemical exfoliation boost.
For a pure acid approach, Cane + Austin Body Retexture Pads ($70) bring 10 percent pharmaceutical-grade glycolic acid to renew cells. But you might want an option that’s gentle enough for your face yet large and powerful enough for your body. The super-saturated Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon ($27) are the way to go. These acid and vitamin C pads, sourced by Charlotte Cho of Korean cult beauty retailer Soko Glam, even have a little slot for your fingers, so they’re a breeze to use.
If you want to multi-task by combining exfoliation, tanning and depilation, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pads for Body ($45) deliver the acid-combining that the brand is known for with self-tanning properties and ingredients that reduce the length, texture and growth of body hair. The wipes are massive and each one provides ample product to be used over every inch of your body. (Pro tip: Keep these on hand to blend away tan lines once summer is underway.)
For immediate, idiot-proof tanning, you won’t do better than Josie Maran Argan Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Oil ($38). The silky liquid goes on like a dream with the help of a plush application mitt to protect hands. If you’re pale and want a deep tan, you’ll have to layer this for a few days, but a rich, gorgeous glow will be evident almost instantly. The brand also offers Josie Maran Argan Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Face Oil ($42), but the body version is unlikely to cause breakouts or other issues if used on the face.
What if you suffer from “bacne” and other blemishes? AmLactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy Moisturizing Body Lotion for Dry Skin ($16.44 for two bottles) provides gentle exfoliation and intense hydration in a fragrance-free formula and clears body acne without drying the skin. AmLactin is also known for helping reduce visible scarring, as is Cane + Austin Body Retexture Lotion ($48). Many loyal customers swear the Cane + Austin lotion cured their body breakouts and keratosis pilaris (KP or “chicken skin”) and made hair follicles on legs nearly invisible. Both products are superb for using on delicate areas that have been shaven, waxed, or lasered to prevent ingrown hairs and folliculitis.
Jackie Danicki created one of the first and most popular beauty blogs in 2004, and has consulted some of the world’s most iconic brands on digital content strategy and innovation. Jackie blogs at http://burnedoutbeauty.com, and you can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat as @burnedoutbeauty.