Credit photo: Fusco Studio
Until recently, skincare brands have focused on the face, particularly when it comes to including active ingredients. But other parts of your body need to feel the love, too! Skincare is expanding beyond facial products and is starting to open up into body care with active ingredients included. Still, it’s not always easy to work out just how many of these products are necessary, what’s actually effective, and how often you should use skincare on your body. Fair warning: by the time we’ve finished going over it, you’ll probably want to add an extra shelf in your shower.
How is the skin on your body different from the skin on your face?
Our skin covers different areas of our body in ways that are specific to how we use each body part. For example, the skin on our hands tends to be thicker to withstand wear and tear, while the delicate skin around our eyes is much thinner. Different areas of skin not only look and feel thicker or thinner, but they can also differ in structure. Not only that, but most of us have some parts of our bodies where the skin is dryer than others. The same goes for oily skin: some people have areas on their body where they deal with frequent breakouts, while others are so dry they become cracked.
So it’s fair to say that while it might feel like skin is skin, regardless of where it is on your body, there’s a case to be made for looking at each area with specific care and attention. Skincare that will work well on some areas of your body won’t be what other parts need, so learning to care for each area of your skin is an essential first step in starting your body skincare journey.
Does the skin on your body truly need skincare?
Yes and no. We’ve all survived until now just fine by cleansing daily (aka having a shower or a bath) and moisturizing with regular body-specific products. But – and this is a big but – most of us have skin concerns on our bodies. Read into that what you want. If you’re lucky enough to have perfect skin all over, there’s probably no need to switch anything up. Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll be golden. If you do have areas that you feel need some extra attention, then skincare is a great place to start.
Which skincare products work best for your body?
Now, no one is suggesting that you slather your body with facial skincare products that invariably come in pretty teeny bottles. No. We’re talking about getting yourself some bona fide body skincare in formats and formulations designed to be used all over your body. We’re talking body washes packed with actives and body lotions that go beyond simply locking in moisture. The best body skincare will differ for each person, depending on your primary skin concerns.
For dry, dehydrated skin:
Look for a body wash that contains hydrating ingredients such as vitamin E, ceramides, and omega-3. Applying these ingredients in the shower, or even soaking in them when you take a bath, will allow your skin to replenish its hydration levels. The next important step is locking that hydration in; the best way to do that is to use a good body lotion. Look for a lotion that contains hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant. Humectants basically help skin lock in any moisture you give it. So instead of feeling like you’ve got silky smooth skin when you’re fresh out of the shower, only for your skin to feel dry and tight five minutes later, by using a humectant, you will help your skin hold on to that moisture for longer.
For aging skin:
All skin is aging, right, but if you’re finding that fine lines on your body are starting to bother you, there are skincare solutions that can help keep your skin looking youthful and bouncy for longer. Antioxidants are great for helping reduce fine lines and wrinkles and can be found in many body washes. Ingredients to look out for include vitamins A and C, Niacinamide, and even green tea, which have all been found to be beneficial in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Skin changes significantly over time, and replenishing levels of lipids is important as skin ages, so adding a moisturizer that contains natural fats like shea butter or avocado butter is an excellent way to finish your body skincare routine.
Breakout-prone skin and acne:
If you find yourself dealing with breakouts on your back, chest, and upper arms – or anywhere else on your body for that matter – then looking into your skincare routine is a crucial step to breaking the cycle. Using a gentle body wash that includes exfoliating ingredients can help remove impurities that can lead to whiteheads or deeper cysts forming. A salicylic acid toner is a great addition to your body skincare routine if you have an active breakout, also. In terms of moisturizing, a simple non-comedogenic lotion or cream will likely be your best bet. This will help you keep your skin hydrated without further adding to the issues caused by clogged pores. Sometimes body acne requires help from a dermatologist, so if you’re struggling to manage breakouts on your own or you think you might be dealing with an infection, it’s definitely worth booking a consultation to get some expert help.
How often can you use skincare on your body?
It’s really going to be a case of finding out what works for your skin and how you can fit skincare into your routine on a regular basis. When starting a new skincare routine - whether it’s on your body or your face - it’s best to build up your use of products over time. This gives you a chance to see how your skin reacts and will allow you to find the perfect balance. If you find your skin is starting to change after increasing how often you use a product, try dialing things back again until you find what works best for you. Of course, if it’s a severe reaction, seek medical attention and stop using the products that may have caused it. You’ll know your routine is working when your skin starts to feel silky and look glowy, which can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on where you’re starting from. So stock up on some jumbo-sized beauty goodies, figure out which ones your skin loves, and enjoy looking glowier than ever!