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Every morning I put approximately “500” lotions, creams, and herbal mists on my face. And my body, (if it asks nicely) might get a layer of almond oil and a dollop of expired hand lotion on the extra dry bits.
While your body may not be exposed to as much sun and air pollution as your face, sagginess, dullness, and discoloration exist below the neck too. And personally, I believe your bum should shine just as brightly as your face. Rub those serums into all kinds of creasy folds, babe!
Luckily, experts and skin care brands think so too. So I’ve come up with an affordable-yet-luxurious skin care routine just for your body. PS: It’s also simple. If you have a routine for your face, you got this.
Maybe because we’re busy piling stuff onto our faces, we don’t notice all the terrible ingredients in our bodywash. Perfumes, dyes, and harsh soaps like sodium lauryl sulphate are all very common and may dry out your skin. For people with even more sensitive skin, these might be the root cause of your skin irritation or allergic reactions. Instead, choose products with a gentler cleanser like sodium lauroyl isethionate.
“You should also look for moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, ceramides, and plant oils like argan, safflower, avocado, and olive,” recommends Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.
Yep, the ingredients you think should be in your moisturizer? Jaliman says put it in your bodywash. She’s a fan of Shea Moisture’s Olive & Green Tea Body Wash.
Another ingredient you should stay clear of is alcohol. “Some washes have alcohol to help those with oily skin and body acne, but they’re very drying,” says Jaliman.
If you’ve got body acne on the mind, look for a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, or salicylic acid, like the Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash.
Make like a snake and shed those dead skin cells. Like your face, your body can do with a little exfoliation.
Rather than using a scrub, look for products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). “These acids exfoliate the skin surface and improve its texture,” says Yemi Sokumbi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Milwaukee.
Apart from giving you glowing skin, these groups of acids can double down on your body acne and catch what the body wash didn’t.
“They’re better at cleaning out excess sebum from the pores and reducing oiliness than a traditional scrub,” Jaliman adds.
For daily exfoliation try Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA with salicylic acid. Alternatively, our editor loves using Binu-Binu’s Seshin Korean Scrub Mitt for that spa-like experience. (You can use a dry brush too!)
“Just make sure to follow up with SPF if you’re out in the sun,” cautions Sokumbi.
Ugh. Is there anything less fun than shaving your legs? Yes there is — shaving your legs and your bikini line. To minimize the unpleasantness, prep your skin.
“If you first exfoliate, you’ll bring the hairs completely out of the follicles,” says Jaliman. This lessens the risk of ingrown hairs and irritation.
You should also hydrate and soften said hairs by first soaking in a tub or taking a shower. Make sure to use shaving gel and a razor with multiple blades. “And always moisturize your skin immediately after shaving,” Sokumbi adds.
If you’re doing right by your face, than you know all about the skin-saving benefits of antioxidants and retinoids. Antioxidants, like vitamin C prevent the cell-destroying effects of pollution, smoke, and sun.
Luckily, there are body treatments that carry those same ingredients (though in lower concentrations). One Love Organics’ Antioxidant Body Serum is rich in sea buckthorn oil, which is full of antioxidants. The company also has a heavier Vitamin C Oil, that’s super moisturizing and can be layered on top of the spray in the winter. We’ve sung Vitamin C’s praises many times for its ability to brighten skin and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Retinol, or Vitamin A, is another potent rejuvenating ingredient that is becoming widely available in body skin care too.
“Retinol quickens skin renewal, boosts collagen production and improves the skin’s texture,” explains Jaliman. “Retinol thickens the skin which can make cellulite less noticeable.”
Mix in Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment with your lotion to firm up your skin.
“Moisturizing right after showering helps trap some of the water in your skin, keeping it hydrated,” says Jaliman.
Unlike with your face, you can probably get away with using heavier ingredients like coconut or almond oil on the body without fearing clogged pores and breakouts. That said, if you’re acne-prone, you might want to stick to a lotion.
Look for products with proven moisturizing ingredients. “Choose creams with hyaluronic acid and ceramides which help to seal in hydration,” says Sokumbi. She loves the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream.
It sounds frightening, but done right, at-home microneedling on the body is more massage than medieval torture. The body attachment of the Glow Pro Microneedling Device is wide enough to be rolled across thighs, glutes, and tummies to reducescars, acne marks, and even stretch marks.
“Just make sure to sanitize your device with alcohol after every use, and never share it,” cautions Jaliman. Microneedling will also help your skin absorb products better, so it’s best used before applying your body serum and moisturizer.
Masha Vapnitchnaia is a writer and florist based in Istanbul. Follow her on Instagram.