Get ready for that strapless dress (and honeymoon bikini!) with these tips for beating stubborn below-the-neck skin issues, including dry skin, bacne, red bumps — even excessive sweating! Here's how to solve your biggest skin woes.
Dry, Flaky Skin
Long-Term Solution: When showering, use a soap-free cleanser like Dove Go Fresh Revitalize Body Wash ($6.99, Dove) on only your underarms, groin, and feet. Those are the areas where sweat glands are concentrated. Unless you've worked out, you don't really need to wash the other parts. "It will strip skin of natural oils," says Washington, D.C., dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi. (The suds that drip down will hit them anyway!) Keep showers warm (not hot), exfoliate regularly, and apply a rich shea-butter cream within a minute of stepping out of the tub to lock in moisture. We like Jergens Crema Deep Conditioning Shea Butter ($5.97, Jergens).
Last-Minute Fix: "Get a salt or sugar scrub and give yourself a really good rubdown, following immediately afterward with moisturizer," says Tanzi. "That will keep skin hydrated for the next 12 hours." We like Tata Harper Smoothing Body Scrub ($68 Tata Harper) and a light mist-on lotion like Vaseline Spray & Go Cocoa Radiant Moisturizer ($6.49, Vaseline).
Back and Chest Acne
Long-Term Solution: "Shower with a body wash containing salicylic acid every weekday to exfoliate pores, and then use a benzoyl-peroxide wash during the weekend to kill bacteria," says Tanzi. We like Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash Pink Grapefruit ($7.99, Neutrogena) and PanOxyl 10% Acne Foaming Wash ($12, available at Walgreens). A series of light chemical peels at a doctor's office will also help; give either option at least a few weeks to start showing results.
Last-Minute Fix: Apply a warm compress to help bring pimples to a head more quickly (but don't pop them; they'll be harder to hide and take longer to heal), and apply a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream to quell redness and inflammation. Try Aveeno 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream ($5.60, Aveeno).
Red Arm Bumps
Long-Term Solution: Don't scrub them! Instead, Tanzi recommends smoothing on an exfoliating 12 percent lactic-acid moisturizer like AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion ($16, AmLactin) daily. But be patient. The bumps take two to three months of diligent application to clear up.
Last-Minute Fix: While hydrocortisone cream should not be used regularly, swiping it on for a couple of days to help reduce bumps is safe, says Tanzi.
Long-Term Solution: Talk to your doctor about Botox injections. "They cut down on sweating tremendously but take three weeks to kick in to full effectiveness," says Tanzi.
Last-Minute Fix: Apply a clinical-strength antiperspirant at night. "Antiperspirants don't work on contact," says Tanzi. "The formula plugs sweat glands overnight." We like Degree Clinical Protection Antiperspirant & Deodorant ($8.49, available at Amazon).