It isn’t unheard of for many women to have elaborate skin-care rituals that aim to protect, moisturize and prevent signs of aging. In fact, having a routine that has upwards of 10 ingredients, or steps (depending on the day), tends to be the norm for plenty of beauty lovers. But, most of us can barely manage to apply moisturizer to our oft-neglected bodies. Yes, that’s right—even beauty editors can’t be bothered to slap on some cream to their parched legs and elbows. But, now that warmer weather is coming around, it’s time to take a bit better care of our skin, and not just our complexions. I spoke to Sheri Chesebrough, associate brand manager of Neutrogena, and Sina Zere, co-founder of 1-Lux Beauty, to gather a few tips for how to take care of all of our skin—and maybe even add a little beauty indulgence to our body routines too.
So, why do we neglect the skin on our bodies so much?
There is no real answer, especially when so many of us spend plenty of time and money focusing on our faces. “We focus so much on diet, exercise and fashion for our bodies, but the skin care piece isn’t as obvious,” says Chesebrough. Skin care seems to take last place when it comes to the list of ways to take care of our bodies, but the truth is, it’s still an important piece of our skin-care regime. Why we neglect it often comes down to the fact that we don’t see if as much as the skin on our faces. Our complexions are ever-present no matter the season, and so taking care of them is top of mind. Our bodies—especially in the winter—are often hidden under layers of clothing which lets us easily ignore how dry and under-cared for it is.
Caring for your body can be simple, and it’s not just for vanity’s sake
“Barring any skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, caring for your body is simpler than facial care,” says Zere. “The most important things you can do with your body care, is be consistent.” This means that everyone should be cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing their bodies from toes to shoulders. “Did you know that moisture levels are different across the body? Skin on your legs can have up to five times less moisture than parts of the face,” says Chesebrough. There’s really no excuse to not do the bare minimum to take care of your body.
“The skin is our largest organ and our very first line of defense,” says Zere. “Caring for the integrity of your skin is important, not just for vanity’s sake or for relief, but for protection.” You’ve likely heard about the importance of your skin’s barrier when considering facial care, and the same holds true for your body. Strengthening the barrier with hydration and balance of lipids will help prevent redness, dryness and irritation.
How to up the ante on your body’s skin care:
If, like us, you’ll be looking to show your body a little extra love, try adding one of these body care options to your routine.
While you might have a regular masking routine for your face, you can opt for this treatment for your body as well. Body masks usually target a specific area, for example your feet, hands or décolleté. But you can opt for masks that look super similar to your creamy and clay face masks and let them bestow the same benefits you’ve come to expect on your visage. This Amazon bestseller is often used from toes to nose as a body mask and Nair’s new leg depilatories are part hair removal part leg mask, bestowing moisture as they get rid of unwanted hair. If you really want to go the distance with body masks, you can think about trying a butt mask. It’s exactly as it sounds.
Many people know of dry brushing as an exfoliating option for body, but the truth is it does so much more. Yes, you can expect exfoliation (which leaves your skin smoother and less likely to develop irritation or clogged pores), but you can also expect lymphatic drainage, stimulated circulation and it can even stimulate your nervous system. Dry brushing is something that doesn’t work as a once-in-awhile-treatment though—you’ll need to commit to dry brushing daily to really see some results, but if you can spend thirty minutes on your nighttime facial routine, you can spend another five to ten getting your dry brush on.
While we often opt for quick-drying creams instead of oils on our body, it might be time to give into the luxury of taking the time to apply a body oil and let it absorb. Though you may have to hang out naked a little longer than you usually do post-shower, opting for an oil can leave your skin soft, supple and radiant. Look for jojoba (super moisturizing) or squalane (balancing) oil as they’re compatible with most skin types.
Next time you’re scrubbing yourself in the shower, slow down. While often speed is the name of the game, allowing a scrub to really penetrate is going to make a world of difference. And some scrubs even require you to spend five to ten minutes with it on your skin. By giving the product a bit more time, you let oils or acids really work on your skin, leaving you softer and smoother post-shower.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Alexandra Donaldson)