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Now's the time to bare it all, so here's your guide to the best moisturizers, sunscreen, exfoliators, and more to keep your skin healthy and glowing.
Photographs by Augustus Butera, Produced by Carla Engler, Text by Patricia Reynoso
You want: Skin that looks soft and supple.
How to get it: The best new moisturizers come in a light oil form, leaving a slightly scented gleam on your skin all day long.
What to look for: Pick your favorite on the basis of the texture you prefer: liquid, spray, or cream. Liquids provide the most sheen and will draw extra attention to your arms and legs, whereas spray oils are light enough for everyday use. Cream oil is heavier, best for dry skin.
How to use: Apply body oil right after showering or bathing, when the skin is slightly damp, for optimum hydration. And remember: A little goes a long way!
Tip: Instead of perfume, try scented body oil for a subtle yet tropical pick-me-up.
Our Favorite Hydrators
Avon Skin So Soft Whipped Body Oil ($7) goes on as a light lotion and includes moisturizing vitamin E, shea butter, and jojoba oil.
Aveeno Creamy Moisturizing Oil ($7.99) features hydrating oatmeal and comes in a delicate cream formula.
Neutrogena Body Oil ($10) is a true classic that can also be used in the tub as bath oil.
Johnson's Light Oil Mist ($3.99) absorbs instantly and boasts aloe vera for increased moisture.
You want: Skin that feels silky smooth.
How to get it: Exfoliation sloughs away skin that has built up during the winter -- helping moisturizer and self-tanner to glide on smoothly.
What to look for: Pick one formulated with nourishing oils or naturally exfoliating fruit extracts.
How to use: Once a week is plenty for any skin type, says Heidi Waldorf, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. In the shower, gently rub a generous handful on wet skin in circular motions.
Tip: Spend extra time on areas such as knees, elbows, and ankles, where skin tends to be rougher.
Our Favorite Smoothers
Ahava Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash ($16) includes Dead Sea minerals, known as especially effective exfoliators, plus glycerin and vitamin E for hydration.
Davies Gate AllSpice Pink Grapefruit Warm Milk and Sugar Body Scrub ($19.50) includes sea salts and detoxifying white clay, plus it naturally warms up as you rub it on.
Joey New York Hawaiian Liquid Loofah ($23) contains mango, papaya, and apricot shells to slough away even the roughest patches of skin.
Calgon Ahh...Spa! Tropics Body Scrub ($6.95) features a fruit complex containing almond extract and jojoba oil to smooth and soften.
You want: Skin that's protected from the sun.
How to get it: Today's sunscreens feel so light, you'll be more than willing to slather them on.
What to look for: "Broad spectrum" protection, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, that shields from burning UVB rays and aging UVA rays.
How to use: Apply at least 30 minutes before going out into the sun to allow time for skin to absorb the ingredients.
Tip: Reapply two minutes after your first coat. "People don't use enough sunscreen," says Dr. Waldorf. "The body needs a shot glass of product."
Our Favorite Protectors
Vichy Sunscreen Spray SPF 28 ($18) comes in a convenient spray form, plus includes Parsol 1789, is oil-free and includes soothing thermal-spring water.
Coppertone Ultrasheer Sunscreen Faces SPF 30 ($7.99) is oil-free, protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and includes vitamins A, C, and E, anti-aging ingredient pro-retinol, and other antioxidants to prevent free-radical damage.
Ocean Potion Anti-Aging Sunblock SPF 30 ($6.49) includes Parsol 1789, line-fighting retinol, and firming sea extracts.
Olay Complete Defense SPF 30 Daily UV Moisturizer ($13.49) contains vitamin E and green tea extract for extra protection against sun damage; it feels completely weightless under makeup.
You want: Skin that looks firmer.
How to get it: "Improve the microcirculation in the body and you can manage cellulite," says Howard Murad, MD, author of The Cellulite Solution. The (temporary) solution? Stimulating creams.
What to look for: Energizing ingredients like caffeine and ginseng or hydrating, plumping ingredients like soy.
How to use: Apply after exfoliating and before moisturizing. Expect firmer, smoother skin after a month; apply all summer to maintain the benefits.
Tip: When applying cream, use light, feathery strokes up toward your heart to increase circulation.
Our Favorite Firming Creams
L'Oreal Sublime Slim Day Anti-Cellulite + Skin Sculpting Body Firming Gel ($13.89) contains stimulating caffeine and firming ingredient Par-Elastyl. It's designed to be applied in the morning. In the evening, use its partner cream (see No. 2).
L'Oreal Sublime Slim Night Anti-Cellulite + Smoothing Body Toning Gel ($13.89) features ginkgo biloba, an antioxidant that protects skin from damage.
Dove Intensive Firming Lotion ($8.49) contains skin-plumping collagen and smoothing seaweed extract, as well as nourishing vitamins A, E, and B5.
Nivea Body Reshaping Treatment ($12.99) includes coenzyme Q10 and soy to firm and moisturize skin and claims to provide results after just two weeks.