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June 18, 2013

The Cheater's Guide to Getting Beach Ready

It's Hail Mary time! Here's how to look great in a bathing suit, even if you haven't made it to the gym all winter.

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We know you had the best of intentions when you swore up and down that 2013 would be different—this year you would schedule barre class three times a week and eat meals that came from a kitchen instead of a takeout bag so you could look slammin’ at the beach. Now, suddenly, it’s shorts weather. Stay calm. Our cheater’s guide will show you how to scrub, tan, and detox your way to a svelte, smooth body you can rock all summer long. 

Even the trimmest of figures can be plagued by these lines due to adolescent growth spurts, pregnancy, or any rapid weight gain or loss, explains NYC dermatologist Dr. Jody Levine. Microdermabrasion helps by removing the superficial layer of skin (making it appear more even-toned), but scheduling an appointment for the procedure weeks in advance is hardly conducive to a same-day beach BBQ emergency. Levine likes the at-home device Riiviva Microderm, $299; it comes with a medical-grade diamond tip designed for stretch marks (specialty tips cost $45 for two) and results can be seen after one treatment. "It exfoliates more deeply than scrubs to improve the appearance of stretch marks, and over time—thanks to the device's suction function—it should stimulate the dermis, causing a remodeling process in the skin to occur," Levine says. Translation: smoother-looking skin on your butt and stomach.

French women are way ahead of us when it comes to skin-firming. Many rely on a body-toning massage called le palpé roulé (the palpated roll) to get the figures they desire. Daphne Coulmance, spa aesthetician at the Caudalíe Vinothérapie Spa in New York City, recommends the massage to clear bulge-inducing blockages so blood can circulate more freely. Massage your stomach in a counterclockwise circle, then move on to your legs and backside. "Think of how you knead bread," says Coulmance. "The more force you use, the better the results." (Pair with a lotion designed to make skin appear firmer, like SkinCeuticals Body Tightening Concentrate.) 

You might not have time for bikini boot camp, but there are other ways to see results. Research shows that taking a combination of amino acid supplements (like those in SeroVital-hgh, 120 capsules for $99) can raise human growth hormone (HGH) levels. And because one of the reasons muscles get flabbier and weight creeps up with age is lower levels of HGH, boosting your levels bodes well for your beach body. Another option: DermaDoctor Shrinking Beauty lotion. It was inspired by lobsters (!), which have a hormone that allows them to shrink so they can wiggle out of their shells when they molt. Most firming creams use caffeine to temporarily decrease fluid in cells, but "the botanicals in Shrinking Beauty mimic the lobster hormone to shrink fat cells," says dermatologist Dr. Audrey Kunin, who created the product. 

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