The focus might be on the face, but the skin on our bodies deserves care too. After all, the skin is the largest organ. When it functions as it should, it protects us from infection, bacteria, and pollution. What kind of products do we need for our body? How do we put together a bodycare routine?
The difference between the skin on our face and body
The skin on our body is thicker and has fewer oil glands, which means it can be prone to dryness. Likewise, it also goes through the desquamation process (the dead skin cells shed). Like with our faces, when our moisture barrier gets impaired, it can lead to dryness and irritation.
Face vs. body – where one starts and the other begins
As popularized by the lovely Caroline Hirons, live by her motto: “Take it to the tits.” Take all of your skincare products all the way down to your cleavage. These bits do get exposed, and the best way to prevent damage is to use the same products you use on your face. If, by any chance, you have any leftover product, apply it to your hands.
Pick an appropriate body wash
The goal is to clean away dirt and sweat, and for the majority of us, a regular body wash will do. If your skin is prone to dryness, you can invest in a gentle body wash that won’t irritate the skin or dry it out further. Look for a body wash the same way you would for a facial cleanser (it should have a low pH and contain skin-replenishing ingredients).
If you love a good bath, don’t do it too frequently or make the water too hot – this can dry the skin out further. Out of the shower, pat your skin rather than rub. Apply a body lotion to damp skin as this helps lock in the moisture.
A body lotion
If you suffer from a skin issue like psoriasis or eczema, you might require a medicated treatment. If you don’t have any skin issues, the type of body lotion you use is a matter of preference (much like moisturiser). Some like rich, nourishing body-butters or even oils. Others can only stand light lotions that sink in instantly and leave no greasy residue. Texture aside, look for formulas with skin-replenishing ingredients like Urea, Ceramides, Hyaluronic acid, and Glycerine. These ingredients will replenish the skin’s lipids, restore and protect the moisture barrier.
When it comes to exfoliation, you have two choices – physical or chemical exfoliants. Physical exfoliants would include scrubs, which can be great for the body as long as you don’t overdo it. That said, if your skin is sensitive, scrubs might be too much. Another option is dry brushing, which many people swear by. Yes, your skin will be soft afterwards, but it doesn’t do anything for the cellulite (which is normal, by the way). While we are at it, various lotions and potions that tout the ability to banish cellulite don’t work.
Chemical exfoliants can work a treat if you have Keratosis Pilaris. Keratosis Pilaris looks like small flesh-coloured raised bumps along your arms, thighs, and sometimes bum. It is caused by the build-up of keratin in the hair follicles. Serums or lotions with Alpha-Hydroxy acid will help remove the build-up of dead skin cells and even out the skin’s texture.
Acne on the body can be downright uncomfortable. If it is down to regular exercise, shower and change your clothes as soon as possible after your workouts. If it is a regular occurrence, find a body wash with Alpha- or Beta-Hydroxy acid. You can also use a spot treatment on the affected area.
Protect your skin every day. Don’t forget the back of your neck, tops of your ears, and hairline. If you plan to spend a day outside or on the beach, remember to reapply sunscreen. Don’t forget the tops of your feet and the back of your knees (these bits can get sunburned too).