Emergency Beauty Problems

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We’ve all been victim to embarrassing beauty mishaps that leave us thinking, “now what do I do?” When a quick fix is in need, give these tried-and-true solutions from the experts a go to solve your biggest beauty blunders fast. We asked both dermatologists and aestheticians how to handle the problems, since they often have varying opinions—dermatologists lean more toward active ingredients, while aestheticians tend to favor remedy-like techniques.

No matter where I’m traveling to, my lips always end up feeling dry and cracked, and no amount of lip balm seems to help.”

The Aesthetician Tip’s: “If the top layer of skin is not exfoliated regularly, no amount of lip balm will help since this layer will block the absorption of your lip products,” says Boca Raton, FL, aesthetician Cheryl Staurowsky. “Simply remove the top layer with a mild exfoliator and then apply moisture as needed.”

The Dermatologist’s Tip: “Try using an ointment-based lip balm and not a wax-based stick like ChapStick,” says Kansas City, MO, dermatologist Audrey Kunin, MD. “Wax won’t hydrate parched lips.” 

“I got a bikini wax and ended up with some unappealing red bumps.”

The Editor’s Tip: It’s not uncommon to notice bumps and redness directly after or for the first few days post-waxing. Since the hair is ripped from the follicle, it can react with redness and irritation.

The Waxing Expert’s Tip: “Exfoliation is key,” says Leah Nacion, aesthetician and owner of The Waxing Co. in Honolulu. “To get rid of bumps, use a chemical exfoliant the day of your wax, which lifts the skin cells to relieve irritated, clogged pores,” she explains, adding that body scrubs will work, too. “You may see results as quickly as a few minutes to a few days, depending on your skin and hair type.”

“I popped a pimple and now it looks worse – it’s swollen and red.”

The Editor’s Tip: Stop picking. Picking a blemish is the worst thing you can do for it. Not only do you potentially spread the infection, you also increase the chance of scarring and slow the healing process.

The Aesthetician’s Tip: “Chop up a non-coated aspirin and mix it with water to form a paste. Then, apply that to the spot for 15 to 20 minutes,” says Wright. “The salicylic acid in the aspirin helps to kill the bacteria.” 

The Dermatologist’s Tip:Squeezing a pimple from the sides definitely can make it worse because you can break the gland underneath the skin’s surface,” explains Dr. Kunin. “What you need at this point is to dab the area with an emergency blemish cream or Cortaid, an over-the-counter cortisone cream. Next time, if you must pick, use a comedone extractor, which applies pressure straight down onto the blemish, alleviating the risk of worsening the breakout.”

My flat iron singed the hairs around my hair line, leaving my hair broken and smelling burned.”

The Editor’s Tip: Broken hair and burnt ends are the potential price you pay for straight locks. To prevent damage in the future, use a thermal protectant first, concentrating on the ends, and make sure that your iron is set to a medium temperature. And, if you start to notice split ends, get them cut.

The Hairstylist’s Tip: “Keep avocado oil at home and lightly coat the burnt ends with it,” says Omar Lopez, celebrity stylist and artistic director for Sultra Hair Tools. “This helps moisturize the ends while rebuilding the damaged bond of the hair that was fried during styling.”

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