There's no reason for anyone to look and feel miserable when spring is in the air, so we asked a panel of top-notch experts — dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz, optometrist Dr. Paul Karpecki, and hairstylist A. Dickey — to share their best tips for solving your spring beauty woes. From red, itchy eyes to out-of-control frizz, read on for their tips on looking your best when the weather gets ugly.
Besides breakouts, there are a whole host of other skin issues that are specific to spring. One pesky problem is called pityriasis rosea — a rash on the upper half of your body, upper arms, and neck where you see round, pink, flaky spots. Dr. Schultz says doctors aren't 100 percent sure what causes this rash, but they believe that it can be attributed to a virus and not person-to-person contact, as derms only see outbreaks in the springtime. It takes 6-8 weeks to run its course naturally, and while there's no medicine currently available that will make it go away any faster, applying a hydrocortisone cream or mentholated moisturizer like Sarna Anti-itch Lotion can help alleviate the itch associated with pityriasis rosea. If the rash lasts longer than 3 months, consult your doctor immediately.
Spring is also commonly referred to by dermatologists as sunburn season. "People don't realize that the sun is getting higher in the sky with more direct rays," says Dr. Schultz. "They’re not prepared for the inexorable assault of those ultraviolet rays if they don’t have sunscreen." If you wear SPF year-round (bravo!), you should be alright, but if you're the type of person who only wears sunscreen when it's hot out, Dr. Schultz says you definitely need to start wearing protection now — you may not realize just how strong the sun is this time of year, and just because it's not hot, that doesn't mean you can't get burned. Wearing an SPF 30 daily will help keep your skin safe, but if you do happen to get scorched, Schultz suggests applying skim milk and water compresses to soothe the burn, moisturizing lotions to treat dryness, and topical steroid lotions and aspirin to diminish the pain and swelling.
Photo: Maria Valentino/MCV Photo
It's easy to spot allergy sufferers around this time of year — their red noses, frequent sneezing, and endless stashes of tissues squirreled away in pockets and purses are dead giveaways. But it's perhaps the eyes that suffer most, with redness, swelling, and mega-irritation, all things that are not conducive to looking cute. "Most people who have seasonal allergies react to pollen," says Dr. Karpecki. "Since pollen is a minuscule compound, it can easily get into the eyes and cause an allergic reaction. During the spring, the pollen counts are much higher than at any other time of year for most states, particularly since we had such a shortened winter this past year." Awesome.
Those who wear contact lenses often get it worse because, according to Dr. Karpecki, the allergens can get caught under the lenses. Plus, those pills you're taking to combat your allergy symptoms are known to dry the eyes, which in turn dries out your contact lenses and exacerbates the problem. To help alleviate irritation, he recommends switching from monthly lenses to daily ones — because they are replaced every day, this will help prevent a build-up of allergens.
To combat symptoms of swelling, Karpecki says to apply cold compresses like a damp cloth or cucumber slices to the eye. "Artificial tears or eye drops that are kept in the fridge help to soothe the eyes and rinse out allergens," he says. "In more severe cases, prescription allergy medications such as Bepreve may be most effective." To counteract redness, try this trick: Use a flesh-toned eye pencil to line the inner rims of your eyes. This sneaky move helps brighten up the eyes and minimize the appearance of redness.
Photos: Via Acuvue, Real Simple, Three Custom Color
The saying might be "April showers bring May flowers," but as far as we can see, they just bring a buttload of frizz. "As women are coming out of the dry season and transitioning into the wet season, hair is trying to combat the rain," says Dickey, the founder of Hair Rules. For girls with curly hair, that means dryness and frizz; wavy manes will see a lack of shine; and straight hair gets flyaways and split ends.
"Think of your hair and scalp more like your skin," says Dickey. That means you need to get into a routine of prevention and treatment, rather than trying to pile on the product. Dickey recommends using a sulfate-free shampoo, as sulfates can strip the hair of its natural oils and cause dehydration, which leads to more frizz. "The more you fill the cracked, dry cuticle, the less likely you are to suffer from frizz," he says, so invest in a great deep conditioner like Hair Rules Quench Conditioner. Finally, use a moisturizing styling cream to keep your strands hydrated and soft throughout the day.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hair Rules