By Adam Hurly. Photo: Getty Images.
Your face flares up every time you shave. Any exposed skin starts to burn moments after stepping into the sun. This is the saga of the super-pale: a constant battle against irritation, redness, and rosacea. But there's a way to build a specially-tailored skincare regimen that focuses on protecting your skin every step of the way. We asked dermatologist Bradley Bloom at Skin, Laser, and Surgery Specialists of NY & NJ for some expert advice. Follow these steps and you won't have to stay inside while the other kids play.
- Battle Shave Irritation with a Gel
- Minimize Sun Damage with Broad-Spectrum Moisturizer
- Prevent Dryness with a Gentle Daily Cleanser
- And by Moisturizing Immediately After a Shower
- Get an Rx for Redness and Rosacea
1. Battle Shave Irritation with a Gel
The Vikings didn’t blink at pillaging, but, as some of the fairest-skinned warriors in history, they were terrified of irritation. That’s why their beards were so long, we’re thinking. (Shaving was scary back then). You, however, can preserve tough-guy status by switching your shave cream for gel; it shields your face and neck from ingrown hairs and redness. “Hydrating the skin is critical during shaving,” says Dr. Bloom. “Shaving gel not only hydrates the skin, but also allows the razor to glide more effectively, which reduces irritation and razor burn.” GQ recommends: AVEENO Therapeutic Shave Gel
2. Minimize Sun Damage with Broad-Spectrum Moisturizer
Pale skin has less sun-blocking melanin (that’s what makes people tan), so you need to be extra aggressive in blocking the sun’s UV rays. These rays cause freckles, wrinkles, burn, and even cancer. It’s easy to incorporate sun protection into your daily routine, though: Pick a moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF defense (meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays). That way, you’re not lathering on some dense, waterproof sunscreen every time you go outside. Dr. Bloom suggests finding one that is also non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn’t clog pores) and fragrance-free. GQ recommends: Elta MD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF40
3. Prevent Dryness with a Gentle Daily Cleanser
Cleansers might unclog the pores, but many of them will leave your delicate skin dried out and irritated. (And we know you’re avoiding skin-buffing exfoliators like the plague.) Dr. Bloom suggests skipping out on any heavy duty and harsh cleansers (including soap). Instead, pick a lipid-free product (meaning it is free of oils, and can be used with or without water) with a slightly acidic pH level to match your skin’s natural levels. (Most cleansers have a higher, almost-alkaline pH level that sturdier skin types can tolerate.) GQ recommends: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
4. And by Moisturizing Immediately After a Shower
A steamy shower is great for washing away residue—literal or moral—but the hot water also strips away the natural oils in your skin. “It is important to apply moisturizer to damp skin immediately after a shower,” says Dr. Bloom. “Especially in dry winter months.” He adds that moisturizing the body (and face) before bed is most crucial in the winter, since the air is extra dry. Bloom suggests pairing your facial moisturizer with an oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic body lotion to instantly rehydrate the skin. GQ recommends: Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Gel Cream Extra Dry Skin
5. Get an Rx for Redness and Rosacea
Your doctor holds the final key: To remedy redness or rash-like rosacea in his own patients, Bloom prescribes topical creams or blood-vessel-targeting laser treatments that use intense pulsed light (IPL). Possible prescriptions to ask your doctor about include topical sulfacetamide 10% / sulfur 5%, metronidazole, azelaic acid (AzA), or topical ivermectin. GQ recommends: Speaking with your dermatologist about which approach is best for you
This story originally appeared on GQ.
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