Summertime is skin time. And whether you plan to bare a little or a lot this season, it simply won't do to hit the beach and barbecues with parched, ashy, reddened or rough skin.
And those aren't the only problems caused by winter's chill. Dr. Robert Weiss, a board-certified dermatologist and director of the Maryland Laser, Skin and Vein Institute in Hunt Valley, explains that post-winter skin can have less baseline pigment, making it more sensitive to summer's rays.
"We've had so little sun exposure," he said. "I'm concerned people will rush out there without adequate protection. You have to be careful of burning."
So now is the time to take preventive action, and to repair, rejuvenate and refresh your skin. We've tapped dermatologists, aestheticians, spas and other experts for insight and tips on summer treatments, trends, procedures, and products.
Because no matter what else you wear (or don't wear) this season, healthy skin is your best accessory.
HydraFacial: If you want to give good face this summer, look no further than the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. The team at the 10,200-square-foot spa, which has 11 treatment rooms, is abuzz about its new HydraFacial treatment. It's popular on the West Coast and is an apparent hit with Hollywood's celebrity set.
Billed as an advanced medical-grade skin care treatment, the facial reportedly gives skin a healthy, vibrant glow without the use of harsh chemicals or lasers.
"Beautiful skin is always in, but in the summertime especially, women want to have the perfect glow without wearing a lot of makeup, which can melt in high temperatures," says Natalie Sams, the spa's lead aesthetician. "After a long, harsh winter like we experienced this year, skin is dull, dry and dehydrated. The HydraFacial is the perfect remedy."
Describing it as the "ultimate" resurfacing and rejuvenating treatment, Sams says the facial (available in 25-, 50-, and 80-minute sessions) exfoliates and resurfaces the skin, then plumps it up with antioxidants, amino acids and a so-called DermaBuilder, infused with peptides and hyaluronic acid.
A series of treatments is recommended for best results. "It's a true beauty game-changer," says Sams.
Green tea & Lemongrass: A glass of iced tea is a favorite summer sip. So why not quench your skin in similar fashion? Green Tea & Lemongrass treatments (body scrub, facial and pedicure) are the latest at Relache Spa, located at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor.
"We've had a long and brutal winter, and people are looking to shed their dry skin for the summer," says Nicole De Rosa, spa director of 20,000-square-foot Relache, which means "to let go" in French.
"Lemon has antiseptic properties and acts as a great exfoliant to help make the skin glow," she explains. "Green tea is rich in antioxidants and acts as a detoxifier. The combination is a perfect, refreshing mix to give you a smooth, hydrated look for summer."
Relache also offers spa-goers treatments that run the gamut from a Resurfacing Peel to improve sun damaged skin, enlarged pores and coarse texture, and a Gentlemen's Hot Towel Facial designed to cleanse and condition skin possibly stressed by shaving and pollution.
Guests can also take a bit of the spa home: the Lemongrass & Green Tea Shea Body Lotion and Lemongrass & Green Tea Jojoba Sugar Scrub (used in spa services) is available for purchase.
Laser resurfacing: "We're coming out of a harsh, brutal winter," said Dr. Lisa R. Ginn, a board-certified dermatologist. "An unusually high number of patients [came] to my office this winter with complaints and signs of dry and irritated skin."
At her Skin@LRG office in Chevy Chase, Ginn is busily prepping patients who aim to get their skin in shape for summer.
"One of the most exciting rejuvenating procedures right now is fractional laser resurfacing," says Ginn, a specialist in targeted skin care solutions for people of color. "It can help you achieve that healthy, summer glow."
Ginn explains that fractional means only a small percentage of the skin's surface is affected with each pass of the laser. She uses several types of lasers in her practice, among them a device known as the Clear + Brilliant laser, said to deliver a less invasive treatment.
This laser procedure opens up "microscopic treatment channels in the skin we can't see with the naked eye," she says, but which hold the key to new collagen production. Collagen is a major structural protein in the body's connective tissue; the natural aging process, combined with exposure to sun and pollution, destroys it.
"Collagen is king," says Ginn, who notes that increased collagen can reduce the presence of wrinkles and scarring. "It keeps skin tight and firm."
Patients who undergo fractional laser therapies should notice an overall improvement in their skin texture, she says, with a softening of fine lines, dark sun spots and wrinkles.
Michelle Hailey of Bethesda is a fan.