Most of us tend to focus our skincare efforts on what we can see when we’re looking into our bathroom mirror – meaning, just the bodily real estate from the neck up. It’s true that our faces make a strong impression on the people around us, and can greatly impact our self-confidence. But don’t make the face-only mistake: Including the rest of your body in your skincare regimen will pay off in feeling younger and healthier overall. Here are four tips to get you started on the road to full-body skin awareness:
- Exfoliation is not just for faces.
The common problem of rough, bumpy skin on the backs of the arms, thighs, shoulders, buttocks, and back is called keratosis pilaris. This condition manifests as tiny, hard, raised, clogged pores that become solid and then often get red and aggravated. Unclogging them through exfoliation and following up with a soothing skincare routine is the key to getting smoother skin. Try a body lotion containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids.
- Use sunscreen below the neck.
You absolutely use a facial moisturizer and maybe even a foundation containing sunscreen every day (right?) – but some of the sneakiest signs of aging happen below the chin, according to the skincare and beauty researchers at Adore Cosmetics. The décolletage (that’s French for neck, but includes the cleavage area as well), shoulders, arms, and hands are all vulnerable to crepey skin, spots, and uneven skin tone. All of this can be avoided with diligent use of sunscreen anywhere that will be kissed by the sun. Try a spray sunscreen for easy application.
- Keep baths and showers warm – not hot – and don’t soak for too long.
Few things feel better after a full day than a long, hot shower or soak. But spending too much time in your antique clawfoot tub or under that luxuriant waterfall spray head can backfire by leaving your skin dry, irritated, itchy, or even peeling. Lengthy exposure to hot water will remove the skin’s natural protective barrier, which is made of healthy oils. Keep showers and baths short (under 10 minutes), on the cooler side, and, if you are truly adventurous, maybe even try skipping one now and then.
- Moisturize while your skin is still damp.
Whether you prefer a body lotion or a body oil (both are fine for skin – oils are not more likely to clog pores), you should be applying it right after showering or bathing (some way within 30 seconds of turning off the tap), while your skin is still slightly wet. This approach allows the lotion or oil to more effectively seal that external moisture right into your skin surface, leading to softer, smoother body skin and avoiding any dryness related to taking a tub.