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The skinny on healthy skin

Whether it's sunburn, heat rash, bug bites or swimmer's itch, settle your summer skin issues with these quick tips: TRY PROTECTIVE clothing "If you can hold the piece of clothing that you are going to put on up to a lightbulb and the light passes through, you have not protected your skin from the sun," said Dr. Marcia Tonnesen, an associate professor of dermatology at Stony Brook University Medical Center. While darker colors, heavier fabrics and tighter weaves offer a higher degree of sun protection, companies like Coolibar (coolibar.com) manufacture lightweight clothing with uItaviolet protection factor (UPF) values up to 50-plus.

Don't be so callous Flip-flop-garbed feet as well as gardening hands can be susceptible to calluses. Tonnesen recommends soaking callused hands or feet for five to 10 minutes in lukewarm water, patting the area dry and applying a moisturizer such as AmLactin or Eucerin Plus to soften the hard and rough patches. Fight the bite Don't let those red, itchy bumps ruin your summer. While there is no quick fix to ridding yourself of a bug bite, washing the bite, cool compresses and antihistamines will help ease the symptoms. Applying a mild topical cortisone also will soothe the itch. Boost the buffer "You can boost the UPF of a cotton white T-shirt from a 5 to a 30," said Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff of Greenvale's Cosmetique Dermatology. Detergent additives like Sunguard last for 20 washings after just one washing. The main ingredient, tinosorb, doesn't change the color of clothing and is safe for ultrasensitive skin. Beat the itch Salt water and chlorine can irritate those with sensitive skin, causing them to itch. Taking a good shower with a gentle soap to remove any residual salt or chlorine from the body and following up with a calming moisturizer should do the trick. Hash the rash Heat rash is characterized by a cluster of red pimple-like bumps and can be treated with an over-the-counter cortisone cream. Minimizing clothing on the affected area and keeping it open and airy can lessen the discomfort. If the rash persists or is extremely itchy, you should seek medical attention. Don't be fooled Self tanner does not have SPF in it. "Consider using sun- screen on top of it," Sarnoff said.

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