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Aaaaaah, summer in DC. It’s hot. It’s humid. Actually make that HUMID. After a five minute walk you are soaked in sweat. And your skin is feels all wet and gross. Don’t let your skin be wet and gross!

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To figure out how our skin can survive this summer we turned to a professional for help. Dr. Arleen Lamba, the medical director of Blush Med  was as helpful as ever in telling us how to combat the horrors of heat and humidity on our skin (if you want to PRE-PLAN for Winter survival, you can check out her tips for that here) .

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What are some of the biggest summertime beauty enemies we may not be aware of?

The extra hair on your body may have you singing a not so in-tune version of Summertime Sadness. It’s not uncommon to spot that 5’o clock shadow even though your wax lady just “took care” of it. Turns out the golden rays of the sun not only help flowers and plants bloom but it also helps sprout up hair…just a tad faster. Even though the level of growth is not significant, some of us don’t like to be surprised by even the slightest mustache as we are making our way to an outdoor happy hour in DC. Human hair grows roughly ten percent faster in the summer months. Warm weather increases blood circulation to our skin, which will stimulate hair cells to grow. No need to get too dramatic, most people may not even notice this ever so slight increase in hair growth (mainly on your scalp) but it‘s still an interesting summertime phenomenon.
Bacteria and fungus love to party in the summer time, just like you do. The heat gives them a great home to grow and prosper in so be weary when these guys try to “make house” on you. Whether its athletes foot or bacterial growth on your makeup products this is the time when we must be extra hygiene-conscious with our products and our habits.
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What are some of the biggest summertime beauty benefits we may not be aware of?

Each season you may feel like you have a different skin type. As seasons change so does our skin. Summer air can be full of moisture and humidity. This humidity is sometimes a breath of fresh air for dry and thirsty winter skin. It brings moisture back into the skin and can help soften the skin. Another added benefit of summer actually comes from our changing diets. When summer time hits, we are more likely to eat fresh fruits, vegetables and drink more H2O. This cleaner and less processed diet helps provide fuel for healthy skin and hair growth. You are what you eat, never held more true.

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We all know we should wear sunscreen and that the built-in SPF 15 in our make-up is not enough but FOR REALLY REAL for every day use what is the bare minimum we should apply?

What’s all this fuss about sunscreen? Turns out Baz Luhrmann was on point on in his song, Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen), when he enlightened us with, “If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.  The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists.”
Look for “broad spectrum” sunscreens because they protect against BOTH UVA and UVB rays. Tip: UVA rays cause us to age while UVB rays cause us to burn… so say yes to broad spectrum! SPF level refers to the ability of sunscreen to block UVB rays, these rays cause sunburns, but SPF levels do not include UVA rays, these rays cause sun damage.  Remember BOTH UVA and UVB rays can cause cancer. This is why it’s crucial to use sunscreen that protects against BOTH.  SPF 15 blocks 94% of the UVB rays; SPF of 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays; SPF 45 blocks 98% of the UVB rays.  Sunscreens that have SPF values higher than 50 have no scientific proof that a higher SPF provides more protection from skin cancer and aging. SPF one gazillion? Nope!  Feel smarter? You should, because you just got sunscreen educated!
So what’s the best?  Stick to an SPF of 30-50. Blush Sun-Tastic, is a collagen infused broad spectrum sunscreen that is an SPF 45. The most important part of sunscreen is the reapplication. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours or right after swimming. It’s not a set it and forget it item. In skincare this is the most powerful anti-aging tool you will ever have. So empower yourself and use it…correctly!
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Sunscreen aside, what is the #1 must have for summer skincare?

Our skin is our largest organ. It is exposed and bare to all the stresses of our lives, whether environmental or personal. Healthy skin loves to brag by glowing and staying bright. And the health of our skin starts with our own personal health. So stay hydrated because you lose more water on hot summer days through perspiration. Water will keep your skin hydrated and plump. It will also act as a natural moisturizer from the inside out. Eat leafy green vegetables and fruits that have natural anti-oxidants. Our cells are always aging and the best way to slow down this process is by preventing our cells from oxidizing. So a diet rich in antioxidants will help keep those wrinkles at bay. Personal health doesn’t just stop at your diet it also has a lot to do with your “feelings” and stresses. So cut down your stress level, its aging you! And while you’re at it, get some sleep. Your cells regenerate when you sleep, go ahead and hit the snooze button, there is such a thing as “beauty sleep.”

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Humidity attacks skin, hair, everything – any particular things to help battle the oiliness and frizz?

Humidity. The dreaded part of a hot summer day, which can turn even the best blowouts into frizzy mess. There are a few things we can do to prevent your hair from fizzling out. In the summer it’s important to rinse your hair with cold water after you condition it. Cool water closes the hair cuticles shut allowing light to reflect and do it’s magic. This means gorgeous shiny hair. You also want to avoid any habits that would create friction. When dealing with wet hair, consider it fragile and vulnerable. Handle it with TLC, so don’t rub but rather squeeze the water out. This way you are preventing breakage and frizzy hair from ever happening in the first place. Just like your face requires moisture to get it’s beautiful glow, your hair is no different. Once a week do a deep conditioning treatment. This will replenish the lost moisture, especially if you’re heavy handed with the hot hair tools (curlers, straighteners, etc). Hydrated hair will show its shine and health, just like your skin.

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Self-tanners wise – what are some of the ingredients and things to be on the look out for?

Spray tans and self tanners have made a big wave in the tanning industry. But are they safe? Self-tanners commonly have an active ingredient which is a color additive called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA, commonly used in spray tans, reacts with dead cells in the skin’s surface to temporarily darken the skin. The FDA has approved DHA for external application to the skin since the 1970s. However, it’s safety has come into question since live animal studies have shown that DHA can cause DNA damage, which has been linked to cancer. The FDA does not approve DHA application to areas near the eyes, mouth or nose. These areas are easier to avoid when using a self tanning lotion but with spray tanning, this can be a challenge and at times spray tanning can cause you to inhale the product.  

The FDA states that, “The use of DHA in ‘tanning’ booths as an all-over spray has not been approved by the FDA, since safety data to support this use has not been submitted to the agency for review and evaluation.” So what’s your best bet? As with everything, moderation is key. And If you must spray tan, its okay to ask for protection so you don’t end up inhaling the product.

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Sweat leads to some serious clogged pores and not just on our faces  – what are some things you recommend from keeping them fresh and clean and beautiful in extreme heat?

Excess heat and humidity increase sweat production, which means more oil is available to clog pores. We also tend to spend more time outdoors in the summer and hanging out at the pool becomes a norm for many of us. But an overly chlorinated pool can be a dangerous place for your skin. Chlorine can not only turn your blonde bombshell highlights orange but it can also cause a form of acne called chloracne. Yikes! Heat and humidity also allow gives a happy home for bacteria and fungus to grow. So this is the time when we see  athlete’s foot. A summer routine is crucial when trying to maintain your healthy summer glow. But first, please rinse right after the pool to get rid of chlorine. Next, lighten up. Put down your cashmere sweater and your heavy creamy winter cream. This is the time to keep things light not only in your wardrobe but also your summer skin care routine. Switch to gel-based formulas which will leave you moisturized without the excess oils and clogging that richer and heavier creams can do. Remember to keep your skin cool. Mists are a good idea in the summer to help keep the skin moist, soothed and happy.

Make up – what are some of the warm weather adaptations we should make in terms of products, texture, etc?

Less is more. This never applied more than in the hot humid summer. Makeup is used to enhance your beautiful face and features. This is the time to switch to tinted moisturizers or BB creams over full coverage foundations. Try to stick to oil free formulas since your skin is producing more oil during sweaty hot summer days. Above all no matter which route you go, always remember to remove your makeup with an appropriate makeup remover. Note: A face wash doesn’t necessarily remove makeup products. Clogged pores are a big concern in the summer months, and nothing can clog up pores faster than oily leftover makeup from the night before. And remember to wash and disinfect your makeup brushes. In the heat, bacteria and fungus growth is optimized. Old makeup brushes (especially with residual liquid products) are a breeding ground for these creepy crawlers!

NO!

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YES!

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Now, some people may think you don’t need the same kind of moisturizers in summer as in winter-what is a good rule of thumb?

Moisturizing is a good thing. Whether you have oily, dry, or combination skin. The key is to use the right moisturizer for your skin type and season. For instance, this is a good time for dry skin types to switch to a gel moisturizer and an SPF daily. Whereas, an oily skin type should stick to moisturizer/SPF combo, this way they aren’t overloading their skin and causing that “sticky” feeling that oil prone skin types struggle with in the summer months. The goal is to keep your skin hydrated, moisturized, and sun protected regardless of skin type.

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Any Blush med approved procedures to kick-start your summer face and body?

To jumpstart your successful flawless summer skin start with a summer skin assessment. At Blush Med, we will put your through our skin scanner. The scanner will tell us the truth, this is where your skin literally “talks” to us. We hear the problems it overcame in the wintery dry months, it may even let us know that you may have indulged in a bit too many cocktails last night. But don’t worry, your skin scan results will remain our Blushing secret.
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It probably won’t look like that.
The next step will be to determine which clinical treatments will best benefit your skin to come out of hibernation and bloom. One of the most popular has been our Micro-Peel. It starts with a Microdermabrasion of various degrees followed by a hand selected chemical peel by our Blush Beauty Advisors. This goal is to mechanically (with the microdermabrasion) and chemically (with the chemical peel) exfoliate your skin. This will get rid of dead cells and allow the new cells to come to the top layer, leaving you glowing and ready for your summer close-up (warning: you may be tempted to take a selfie!).
HAIR REMOVAL – is there a way to prep your body to be less bumpy and itchy when faced with constant hair removal?

Like so many things in life, its really about prep. As much as you want to get rid of that hair and get your short shorts on, first you must prepare your skin. Skin is a sensitive creature and it requires some light exfoliation. The mild exfoliation will allow it to get rid of dead cells and soften the pesky stubble.  If shaving remember to use a fresh blade, you don’t want to irritate your skin and cause the dreaded razor burn which are common with dull blades. Turns out shaving creams do serve a purpose not only do they soften the hair but it helps the razor glide over the area, which leads to a closer and smoother shave. After hair removal your pores are open, so this is not the best time to apply fragrancy moisturizer. Rather stick to a aloe vera gel. Which will soothe and decrease inflammation on the skin leading to decreased bumps and a smoother shave.

So, there’s that you guys. Remember, you don’t sweat, you glow. And if you’re interested in spending some more QT with Dr. Lamba, you can find her here.

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