Perhaps Sitting Bull said it best: “Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.”
Spring is indeed the season of rebirth. It happens in nature, as the Sioux holy man pointed out. So there’s no reason a comparable renewal can’t happen for you.
Of course, you can’t literally turn back the clock. But you can freshen your look by rejuvenating the skin and mitigating the effects of both time and environment.
“To look beautiful for spring and summer, you must first undo the damage of winter,” says Lilibet Iken, a registered nurse and owner of Be Salon in Clayton. She recommends a hydrating facial or glycolic treatment to quickly transform a dry, dull complexion—but there are additional steps you can take for even more dramatic results.
Micro-needling is Iken’s treatment of choice for resurfacing skin. “It rebuilds your own collagen beneath the surface, repairing it from the inside out,” she explains. “It’s painless and only requires two days’ down-time versus laser treatments.” And since micro-needling can erase fine lines, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation and both surface and pitted scars, it’s ideal for a range of ages. For a truly impressive transformation, Iken prescribes a course of three treatments during six-week period.
Dr. Caroline Mann, a Washington University School of Medicine dermatologist, laments that it’s a challenge to convince people to wear sunscreen on a daily basis, despite irrefutable evidence that UV rays cause skin damage and trigger deadly skin cancers.
It’s true, Mann says, that sunscreen can feel greasy and may cause skin irritation. That’s why finding the right product often involves trial and error. “If you didn’t like the first shampoo you tried, you wouldn’t just stop washing your hair,” she says, adding that it’s smart to use makeup that offers a sun protection factor (SPF). “If your moisturizer, foundation or powder contains SPF, you won’t need to add an extra product to your regime.”
If sinful summers past have left you spotted with solar lentigines (brown) or cherry hemangiomas (red), laser treatments can restore your skin’s tone and texture. However, Mann cautions, such treatments only erase aesthetic sun damage and are no replacement for proper protection.
But what about those other pesky spots? In humid St. Louis, warm weather can be like ants at a picnic for those who are prone to breakouts. And while adult acne is nothing new, Mann says, “In the past several years, I’ve begun to see as many adults as I do teenagers.” To combat what can be a persistent and painful problem, she suggests broadband light therapy, which destroys bacteria that cause acne lesions. And while there are many effective topical medications on the market, she names Retin A as the “best photoaging product out there.” The perennial acne treatment has been approved by the FDA to reduce wrinkles, as well—ideal for anyone dealing with the dual dilemmas of youth and age.
Whether a day at the spa or a visit to your dermatologist is what it takes to rejuvenate your skin, it’s time to update your makeup bag so you look as fresh as you feel.
Dominique Havermann, a makeup artist for Estée Lauder, sings the praises of BB (beauty balm) creams, which she describes as a moisturizer, primer and sheer foundation all in one. “They’re marvelous for creating a natural look. Plus, they cut down on application time, because when it’s so beautiful outside, you don’t want to spend all morning at the mirror.”
Does the thought of such a lightweight look make you desperate for that full face of matte foundation you wore all winter? If so, don’t despair. “Apply your BB cream first, because you may be surprised at how much it actually covers,” Havermann says. “Then use a brush to apply a concentrated concealer to any imperfections or red areas.”
Continue the natural look with a gel or cream blush to achieve a “sweet, real-looking flush.” Then select subtle eye shadow; earth tones for a warmer palette, maybe a soft plum for a cooler one. Depending on your hair color, choose a mascara and liner in dark brown or charcoal gray. “They’ll create the same framing effect as black but not appear as harsh,” Havermann says.
Bright pops of color are trendy this season, according to Havermann, but they must be used judiciously. Select a silky lipstick, colored balm or stain in shades like fuchsia and coral to finish the look. “When you take off the cap, the color might look intimidating – but if it goes on sheer, it will set off the rest of your face and create a lovely look for the season. Try it!”
Sitting Bull might have been content with the beauty of nature, but Mark Twain was more pragmatic. “The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin,” he once observed. “But, of course, society demands something more than this.”