At the Few Institute, it’s common for patients to come in frequently for treatments. One of my regulars comes monthly for skin maintenance, and she’s booked for quarterly chemical peels and injectables. At home, she’s committed to a broad skincare routine that uses everything ranging from eye cream, to retinol, to serums. But, in one of her recent appointments, she told me her back and arms were always itching. How could someone so committed to skincare have these complaints? So, I asked her what she was doing for her body skin. The answer? Nothing! Outside of showers and occasional moisturizer, she had no skincare routine for her body.
There are literally thousands of skincare products for the face, but what about for the body? Dr. Few and I recently discussed skincare for the body during our latest Instagram Live segment. We wondered - why isn’t more attention given to the body? And, what does a body skincare regimen look like?
Here are some tips for smooth, glowing body skin:
Cleanse the Skin Daily:
Whether you shower in the AM or PM, you should rinse and cleanse your body daily. It’s particularly important to cleanse after a sweaty workout. But, even if you don’t work out, cleansing is super important. Microscopic dirt, debris, pollution, and bacteria accumulate on your skin and need to be removed. Not only is a body cleanse good hygiene, it’s an essential first step in achieving glowing, smooth skin. I recommend using your hands and a basic, fragrance-free body wash to cleanse with warm water. You can also use a microfiber washcloth daily.
Exfoliate 2-3x per week
Dry, itchy skin tends to be dead skin that needs to be removed via exfoliation. Whether you choose a dry brush, exfoliating gloves, or a sugar scrub--just make sure you EXFOLIATE YOUR SKIN regularly. 2-3 times per week usually does the trick. Exfoliation allows moisturizers to penetrate deeper into your skin, and better retain moisture. And, by removing dead skin, you’re making sure to show off the healthy skin your routine is promoting.
Please note:If you have pre-existing conditions like psoriasis or eczema, or suffer from very dry skin, we recommend consulting with your dermatologist before starting a new exfoliation regimen.
The Aforé C Scrub is a sugar vitamin C lemon scrub that can be used for both the face and body
Shower the right way, at the right times
Showers should be done at the right temperature, in the right order, and at the right times. It seems simple, but it’s easy to mess up. First, you don’t want to shower in water that’s too hot. That doesn’t mean showering in ice water like Iceman Hof [Link to the Iceman], but it does mean to lower the temperature away from scalding. Yes, it’s a guilty pleasure, but water that’s too hot dehydrates the skin. The water should be warm, but not overly hot.
Second, wash your body after you wash your hair. This is a big one. Wash your hair first to remove all the conditioning agents, silicones, and pore-clogging ingredients like fragrance that are found in most shampoos and conditioners. These clog pores and can cause body acne. Make sure you wash from head to toe, in that order.
Last, shower at the right times. If you just finished a workout, try and get in the shower right away. The less time you spend with sweat on your skin, the better.
Fun Fact: Sweat consists primarily of water and electrolytes. The primary electrolytes in sweat are sodium (salt), chloride, potassium, urea, lactate, amino acids, bicarbonate, and calcium. Don’t leave these on your skin after workouts!
Use the right products on your body
You probably already use a moisturizer, sunscreen, and a retinol for your face. But, these products are just as important for your body! Every inch of your skin can benefit from a quality moisturizer. I recommend applying your body moisturizer after a shower, while your skin is still a bit damp, to allow for better absorption. You can use a simple, generic moisturizer; or, you can use a non-comedogenic body oil like sesame oil or Jojoba oil.
When it comes to retinol and the body, there aren’t many body-specific options available.. Retinol works by increasing cell turnover and promoting collagen production. For your body, retinol can help with sun damage, crepey skin, and pigmentation issues. It’s a fantastic way to prepare your skin for laser treatments and peels, too. I regularly instruct my patients to mix their retinol with their body moisturizer 3x per week.
In case your esthetician hasn’t already said it a million times, always use an SPF. Use a broad-spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen daily on areas of your skin exposed to the sun. This means your hands, arms, neck, and chest, in addition to your face. These areas are usually the most neglected, so when you apply your SPF in the morning, don’t forget to cover all grounds.
Sun damage can cause neck skin to sag prematurely. Afore’s NECK cream moisturizes, lifts, and tightens neck skin with a rich moisturizing formula.
Pay attention to coarse and in-grown hairs.
Thick and coarse body hair is prone to causing breakouts and painful in-growns. If you have thicker body hair, take extra care to thoroughly cleanse while in the shower. If you experience frequent breakouts and in-growns, consider booking a laser hair removal appointment with a provider at the Few Institute*.
The skin on our bodies is a lot thicker and more resilient than our facial skin. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of it equally. By taking the above steps at home, you’ll be well on the way to smoother, more beautiful skin. In the office, we offer a variety of treatments to keep body skin smooth, glowing, and acne-free. Treatments like IPL/BBL lasers, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion smooth skin texture and exfoliate thicker skin.
*All treatments are subject to a consultation with one of our licensed, highly-experienced clinicians at the Few Institute. This article does not constitute medical advice, and readers should consult with a licensed clinician prior to considering any treatment.