Last updated: Jun 10, 2014
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Ready for your big reveal?


It's the season of beach weekends, long bike rides and outdoor parties. You want to be prepared to slip into a bikini, sundress or shorts and feel confident about all that exposed skin. No problem: "Unlike saggy muscles, which require months of training to get firm, you can whip your skin into shape in no time," says Adam Friedman, MD, director of dermatologic research at Montefiore Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Stick with these strategies to feel great no matter how itty-bitty your outfit is."

Your skin, smoother!
Out with the old, in with the new: Sloughing off dead cells helps give skin a sexy sheen and toned look. "Exfoliation can stimulate collagen production for firmness and speed up cell turnover for radiance," says Ariel Ostad, MD, a New York City dermatologist. Your body needs TLC now just like it does in winter; the sun can parch it. Use a gentle scrub a few times a week, like Ole Henriksen Rub n' Buff salt scrub ($38; sephora.com), which contains soothing lavender oil. "Exfoliating at the end of a lukewarm shower is best," says Dr. Ostad. "Since pores have opened up, old cells can be removed more easily." Massage in with firm circular motions.

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Apply lotion while your body is still damp: "That's when skin is at its optimal level to absorb nourishing ingredients," says Elizabeth Hale, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine. (Store in the fridge for a cooling treat.) Go with a cream that contains glycerin, niacinamide or dimethicone to hydrate without clogging your pores. We like Jergens BB Body Perfecting skin cream ($13; at mass retailers), which gives a subtle radiance and evens out tone. Then be vigilant about SPF to protect that fresh layer of skin.

Your legs, silkier!
Leave on shaving cream for 30 sec-onds before you start; it softens hairs and makes them stand up for a closer shave, says Amy Taub, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Medical School. Try Skintimate Skin Therapy Sensitive Skin moisturizing shave gel ($4; at mass retailers) and a razor with lubricated blades, like Gillette Venus Embrace Sensitive razor ($13; at mass retailers).

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Your thighs, sleeker!
While there's still no cure for cellulite (perhaps the geniuses in Silicon Valley will get around to it one of these days), you can reduce its appearance with creams that contain caffeine—it temporarily dehydrates fat cells, so skin seems firmer—and peptides, which stimulate collagen and elastin. Find both in Wilma Schumann Body Contouring serum ($60; wilmaschumann.com). Deep-tissue massage can also remedy a cellulite situation: "Improved circulation helps break up dimples and puckering," explains Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, director of Fifth Avenue Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center in New York City. Try a rolling pin (yep, the baking kind) or a body brush with rounded nubs; firmly run your weapon of choice up and down trouble spots 20 times once a day.

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Your pedicure, prettier!
Sand, salt water and chlorine do bad things to your feet. "Because heels and surrounding areas are overexposed during summer, they're particularly vulnerable to dryness," says Sam Sanandaji, DPM, a podiatrist at The Foot Center in Los Angeles. To kick off a DIY pedi, remove rough skin with a pumice stone so lotion sinks in better, says celebrity manicurist Elisa Wishan. Apply a cream with nourishing avocado oil or shea butter. Swipe nails with remover for a clean surface, and add a splash of a trendy bright color. New polishes like Nars' long-wearing ones in Milos, Schiap, Blow-Up and Shameless Red ($20 each; narscosmetics.com) pack UV inhibitors to prevent color fade. For extra durability and hydration, brush on cuticle oil once or twice a day.



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Your self-tan, glowier!
"Self-tanners have come a long way from the streaky, orangey messes they once were," says St. Tropez skin-finishing expert Sophie Evans. A gradual-bronze lotion, like Suave Professionals Visible Glow self-tanning body lotion ($9; at mass retailers), is great for beginners or anyone who wants to build a tan over a few days. For quicker results, opt for a rapid-release mousse, which can leave you a full shade darker in about an hour. Try Karora Express bronzing mousse ($40; ulta.com). Bronzing oils with DHA, like St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry oil ($50; sephora.com), give you instant sheen and color that shows up eight hours later. Can't commit? Temporary bronzers offer immediate color that washes off. A good one: Xen-Tan Flawless Logic ($32; nordstrom.com). Blend self-tanners using a light circular motion with your palm, says Karora founder Karen Brown, as fingers tend to create stripes. And be generous: "Skin can absorb only a certain amount, so you can never apply too much tanner," adds Evans. "When not enough is used, you pull at the skin, causing streaks and unevenness."

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High-Tech Helpers
Call it mission slim-possible: A new generation of noninvasive in-office treatments zap excess pockets of fat. While they're on the pricey side, they do the job and results can last for years, dermatologists report, as long as you eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. A look at three of the most popular ones:

Velashape III: This radio-frequency device improves the look of cellulite and firms jiggly bulges. Four 60- to 90-minute treatments ($300 to $500 per session) reduce the circumference of target areas by about 2 centimeters.

Coolsculpting: It's literally very cool: The machine works via a super cold suction cup that's placed over the pudgy area, freezing fat cells so they die off. Sixty minutes and $650 to $800 bucks get you a 20 percent reduction in treated areas.

I-Lipoxcell: A combo of laser, vacuum massage and radiofrequency, it shrinks fat cells and tightens skin. Patients can lose up to an inch of total body fat per each 20-minute treatment ($250 a pop); most peope choose to get three to eight sessions.