Does Your Body REALLY Need its Own Skincare Routine?
Main Image – Marctran/Stocksy
So, we all know about the benefits of a proper skincare routine on our face – but what about the rest of our body? Should we be taking as much care of the skin on our arms, legs, stomach, and feet as we do around our eyes, nose and lips?
If you didn’t already know, our skin is our biggest organ, covering our whole bodies and making up around 16% of our overall body mass – pretty cool, huh?
Despite the confusion and the fact that the skin on our body is thicker than it is on our face, it’s pretty obvious that skin is, well, skin. All of it needs to be properly looked after with cleansing, moisturising, exfoliation, and sun protection in order to fight the signs of ageing, protect the skin barrier, reduce dryness and irritation, and promote all-round skin health.
We asked for advice from the experts on this one. Welcome aesthetic nurse prescriber and owner of Update Aesthetics Cosmetic Clinics, Nina Prisk, and board-certified dermatologist and founder of FACET Dermatology, Dr Geeta Yadav.
Body care: Necessary step or clever marketing?
Despite now having a religious skincare routine for my face, I’m guilty of neglecting the dry patches on my body and forgetting to exfoliate in the shower. So I wanted to know whether we *actually* need to treat the skin on our body with as much care as we do with our face.
Dr Yadav tells us that “the skin on the body needs support, too. Typically, the skin on the body is thicker than that of the face. The skin on our bodies also tends to be more neglected than that of the skin on our faces.”
And it’s not just about our skin looking good, we also need to strengthen our skin barrier considering it “keeps bacteria and germs from entering your body and bloodstream and causing infections. It also protects against rain, sun and other elements,” says Cleveland Clinic.
By not looking after the skin and its protective barrier, our skin is at risk of “allergies like contact dermatitis” as well as “skin cancer, including melanoma, skin infections like cellulitis, skin rashes and dry skin, skin disorders like acne, eczema, psoriasis and vitiligo, skin lesions such as moles, freckles and skin tags, wounds, burns (including sunburns) and scars,” it adds.
The good news is, a great body care routine doesn’t have to take hours or break the bank. A simple regime of exfoliating, cleansing, moisturising, and SPF is good enough to keep your skin in tip-top condition!
How to put together your bodycare routine
If you’re putting together a body skincare routine, there are some steps you’ll want to consider for smoother, softer skin.
Not only with SPF help stop you from burning, it will also help prevent visible signs of ageing on your body.
- Body scrub:
“Beyond sunscreen, which is critical for the health of your skin across your body, I’d recommend regular exfoliation to help the dead skin cells shed more easily, as well as a body lotion to stave off dryness,” Dr Yadav advises.
Healthline backs this up, saying, “When dry skin isn’t removed, it makes the skin rough to the touch and has a dull, cracked texture and appearance. By removing the dead, dry cells, you should have smoother and more even skin.”
By gently removing dead cells skin feels softer, while a smoother surface allows light to bounce off it – giving a healthy glow. Exfoliating the body also improves circulation – BONUS.
- Body brush:
A great body care routine can also start with a body brush, massaging in circular motions.
Prisk tells us that “a body brush is a good way to help to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells, exfoliating the skin. Body brushing also helps to increase blood circulation which aids detoxification and some believe promotes lymph flow and drainage.
“By unclogging the pores it’s easier for the body to sweat, aiding the elimination of toxins and also helping to reduce fluid retention and cellulite. Most people notice their skin will be softer too.”
“You can brush your skin when wet or dry and both are beneficial, however many people believe that dry brushing is the most beneficial because it doesn’t dry the skin like water can. The important thing is to make sure that you brush it rather than scrubbing in order to avoid damaging the skin barrier,” she adds.
- Moisturising body wash:
Next, you’ll want to use a moisturising body wash (you can even purchase body washes containing AHAs, BHAs, retinol, and antioxidants) to remove the remaining scrub and dead skin cells. You can really go to town on this and clean behind your ears and in between your toes!
Then, moisture! Prisk says that “many people apply moisturiser to their face but neglect their body. In order to keep the skin on the body hydrated, soft and moisturised it’s important to apply a moisturiser daily. This will help to seal in the moisture and prevent skin from becoming dry, itchy and cracked.
“Again it’s a good idea to look for one with a humectant like hyaluronic acid as this will help to lock in moisture,” she concludes.
Massage your chosen moisturiser all over your body and let it sink in, “You can even use a body lotion that features retinol or an alpha-hydroxy acid for added anti-aging benefits,” says Yadav.
PRO TIP: Apply your moisturiser to damp skin and pay extra attention to places that tend to be drier than the rest of the body, like your knees and elbows.
There are some pretty amazing products designed to give your body an extra treat in the form of sprays, oils, serums, creams, and cleansers, to ensure that the skin on your torso is as well looked after as the skin on your face!
If you struggle with bacne (acne on your back, clever, we know), the Acne Body Wash from Proactiv ($30.60 on the Proactiv website) is a go-to for many. This body wash contains glycolic acid, which lathers up to wash away debris and dead skin cells. The formula also contains shea butter, so the skin never feels dried out.
A highly recommended exfoliator and moisturiser for the body is the Drunk Elephant T.L.C Glycolic Body Lotion, containing their signature AHA blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic and citric acids to gently exfoliate rough, bumpy skin and even tone (£28 Drunk Elephant UK/$28 Drunk Elephant US).
One of our fave body creams is Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment (£33 Paula’s Choice UK/$29 Paula’s Choice US) which contains a mixture of 0.1 per cent retinol (a moderate percentage strength) and shea butter to smooth skin while moisturising. It also boasts glycerin to soften, grape seed oil to nourish, and vitamins C and E for antioxidant protection.
It might seem obvious (well, hopefully it is after reading this article!), but the skin on our body is just as important as the skin on our face. It requires proper cleansing, exfoliating, moisturising and SPF, as well as those hero ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, retinol and antioxidants that we see in the products we use on our face.
Our skin plays a *really* important part in keeping the rest of our body strong, healthy, and protected, so take some time to treat it with some love and care – trust us – it will thank you for it!
Now, pamper time.
Meet the experts
Nina Prisk is an aesthetic nurse prescriber and owner of Update Aesthetics Cosmetic Clinics, both in London’s Harley Street and Cornwall.
Prisk is a lecturer and ambassador for global industry brands. She advocates for the importance of a multi-faceted regime that incorporates both injectables and skincare products. Qual: RGN, INP, BSc, MSc.
Dr. Geeta Yadav is a world-renowned board-certified dermatologist and the founder of FACET Dermatology in Toronto, Canada. She is regularly featured for her expert advice in the likes of Byrdie, Allure and Vanity Fair.