After covering up every inch of your body to keep warm in the winter, it's scary enough to bare all that skin at the beach without additional fret over embarrassing blemishes. Whether they're post-baby stretch marks, a few (or a lot) of pimples or reminders of bad burns and tomboy stunts gone wrong, your imperfections are front and center when you're bikini-clad at the beach.
There are plenty of surf-and-sand situations that'll make you hyper-self-conscious -- a date, a company beach picnic or meeting future in-laws for the first time. You dread watching others focus in on your flaws, so what can you do to cover them up?
One of the best ways to conceal blemishes is to hide them with beach-appropriate attire. And you won't even have to explain why you're covered head to toe. Everyone is UV-conscious these days, so no one will question those light, breezy layers over your swimsuit. In fact, many pieces look like fashion statements.
If blemishes like cellulite, scars, razor burn from shaving and stretch marks plague the lower half of your body, a sarong or a pareo scarf tied loosely at the hip or waist can make you look cool in the heat. If a sarong's not your thing, pull on a light pair of Capri pants with your bikini top or one-piece. If you want to brave the surf, consider boy-short bottoms or bikini bottoms that include a skirt. They'll conceal any upper thigh issues like cellulite or skin irritation from shaving or waxing your bikini area.
If you'd like to conceal your stomach and chest as well as your thighs, that same sarong can be tied several ways to make a dress. One of the most popular options is the halter dress. Here's how it's done: Wrap the sarong or scarf around your back, then pull the top corners to the front. Crisscross those ends in front of you, somewhat tightly, above the bust. Then pull the loose ends up behind your neck and knot them. Voila, you've created a dress!
If your arms, chest and back are problem areas, consider a beach cover-up. Many beach cover-ups appear sheer over your bathing suit, so you'll still look beachy while hiding blemishes like body acne and birth marks. Choose a style that covers your problem areas but reveals your assets. Cover-ups come in short-sleeve, long-sleeve, and sleeveless styles, and can range from micro-mini to ankle-length. And if a sheer fabric doesn't seem right, choose a form-fitting spandex, cool cotton or airy polyester.
Tips for Hiding Body Blemishes at the Beach
Whether you're looking for an emergency last-minute fix or a more permanent solution to hiding blemishes at the beach, there are a variety of options. For cellulite, some women swear by a thorough loofah scrub followed by cellulite cream, and for scars, stretch lines and other relatively small unwanted spots, a waterproof body concealer can last long enough for a beach outing. Airbrushing, too, can mask unsightly marks for up to 12 hours. Airbrush makeup is applied using an electric air compressor that emits a very fine spray, making it easy to apply just a little coverage with a quick pass over the skin, or heavier coverage with multiple passes over the same area.
One of the best and easiest solutions for covering cellulite, birthmarks, scars, age spots, freckles and stretch marks is tanning. A waterproof spray tan, either over-the-counter or applied professionally at a salon, can even out most discolorations. Don't use a tanning bed or the sun to get a tan; not only is overexposure to the sun dangerous for your health, but because scars and stretch marks have no pigment, a real tan will only make them more pronounced.
If your body blemishes are serious enough, you may want to look at a more permanent solution. A dermatologist may be able to reduce your blemishes with laser or microdermabrasion therapy. Or, if your scar or birthmark is relatively small and in the right location on your body, consider a tattoo to turn that embarrassing flaw into a conversation piece.
There is one last piece of advice: Just be confident. Unless your embarrassment over your blemishes is debilitating, hold your head high, be yourself and thoroughly enjoy your day at the beach. That's what you and everyone else will remember most.
- EPA.gov. "Health Effects of Overexposure to the Sun." (May 9, 2012) http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvandhealth.html
- Sally Hansen.com. "Airbrush Legs." (May 7, 2012) http://sallyhansen.com/products/skin-body/leg-care/airbrush-legs
- Saanvi.com. "How to Tie a Pareo." (May 10, 2012) http://goodsfromindia.com/beach.htm
- Joan Rivers Beauty. "Right to Bare Legs." (May 8, 2012) https://www.mybarelegs.com
- Nordstrom.com. "Echo 'Surf's Up' Pareo." (May 8, 2012) http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/echo-surfs-up-pareo/3251663?origin=category&resultback=798
- Pareo.com. "YouTube video: Pareo and Sarong Tying for Women." (May 11, 2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PMkc1XDtKU
- Howcast. "YouTube video: How to Tie a Sarong Into a Simple Wrap Skirt." (May 10, 2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTsQA_A4aE0
- Victoria's Secret. "Beach Cover-ups." (May 15, 2012) http://www.victoriassecret.com/swimwear/cover-ups?pageAt=all
- CBS News. "Cellulite Cream Results." (May 15, 2012) http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3752393n
- ABC Good Morning America. "Do Anti-Cellulite Creams Really Work?" (May 15, 2012) http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=125038&page=1#.T7KydsVr2ul