As the weather warms up and the shorts come out, women everywhere pay closer attention to their legs. If you live on the East Coast like I do, we all fear the first time our pale, neglected, bare legs make their first appearance of the season. Here are eight ways to ensure your legs are ready for warmer weather.
1. Treat your skin. Shaving can be harsh on the legs. To avoid nicks and cuts that will lead to dark marks later, use a shaving cream or gel with moisturizing properties. Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel and are great options that are available in drug stores.
2. Fix dark marks. From shaving nicks to mosquito bites, lower legs can really get banged up. Treat them with or prescription Sledgehammer 4% Intensive Skin Lightener to minimize their appearance. Then coat a Band Aid with Biafine (a doctor-prescribed wound salve) to help it heal better.
QUIZ: How Healthy Is The Skin On Your Body?
3. Even out tone. We all want our legs to look slender and evenly toned—especially after we’ve been hibernating all winter! I always tell my patients to use a firming lotion like VIVITÉ Daily Firming Lotion throughout the winter to keep limbs firm. In the spring, a self-tanning lotion such as Aveeno Continuous Radiance Moisturizing Lotion or Dior Bronze to get that glow without subjecting themselves to the harmful rays of the sun or tanning beds.
4. Block the rays. Protect your legs with sun block and make sure to reapply every two hours to avoid skin cancer or other unnecessary issues in the future! Some of my favorites for full body coverage are Neutrogena Wet Skin or Aveeno Hydrosport SPF 30. If you see a mole changing, visit a dermatologist immediately.
5. Ground yourself. Very high heels—three inches or more—can cause foot and back problems later in life. Legs can be strained, ankles twisted. Proceed with caution!
MORE: The Down Side of High Heels
6. Keep spider veins from creeping up. Spider veins are caused by genetics, standing a lot, or a lack of exercise, and can be complicated by crossing your legs too often. Dermatologists can administer sclerotherapy with glycerin injections or perform laser treatments to remove spider veins. Both procedures require multiple treatment sessions though the injections tend to last longer and work a bit better.
MORE: Summer Sander’s Talks Varicose Veins
7. Time to tone up. I love this trend of Fit Flops, Sketcher Shape Ups and Reebok EasyTone sneakers; all of which can help shape calves, ankles, upper thighs and butt while you’re walking to work or around your neighborhood! It doesn’t get easier than that!
8. Exercise. Now. A recent 2012 study showed that joggers may live longer. If your knees are healthy, rapid walking or jogging actually helps shape the legs and body. Weights, used at least three to four times a week, are also a must.