From managing acne to reducing fine lines and wrinkles, I spend most of my days focused on optimizing the health and beauty of my patient’s faces. As important as our face is in helping us make a fabulous first impression and feeling confident, it only makes up about 10% of the skin on our body. So what about the other 90%?
It’s easy to take our body skin for granted when we’re younger because it’s so resilient. It bounces back from a rough sunburn and heals itself quickly after cuts and scrapes. But as we age, it becomes more fickle, requiring a little more TLC in order to stay in optimal health.
This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing my top tips for showing your body some extra love, all year-round.
If only it were as simple as soap and water. I hate to get on my own soapbox with this — pun intended! — but your average soap is just way too drying for our skin. It does too good of a job stripping away dirt and our natural oils, leaving our skin without its natural protective barrier that helps prevent moisture loss. Opt for a cleanser that’s oil-based. Like dissolves like, and oil cleansers dissolve dirt and grime while helping to maintain our skin’s barrier.
Also, lookout for cleansers with artificial fragrances. Synthetic fragrances can cause irritation and itchiness whereas those made from essential oils are more gentle on the skin — plus, they offer therapeutic benefits from relaxing us to energizing us, depending on the composition. Right now, I’m loving Earth Tu Face’s Salt Scrub* with sea salt and organic oils. Made from plant oils, Dead Sea salt, and a mix of intoxicating essential oils, it’s totally luxurious and is especially helpful in erasing particularly bothersome rough patches.
If you’re more of a bath person, or like to indulge in one once in a while, bath salts are a wonderful way to detoxify while softening the skin. I recently discovered African Botanic’s Kalahari Desert De-Tox Bath Salts*, and their magical combination of seaweed, botanicals, and salts cleanses while balancing the skin’s pH.
Also, I know that hot water feels good, especially in the winter, but it’s too harsh. Try turning the temperature down a smidge for happy skin.
Nourish & Replenish
I’ve been there, browsing the drugstore aisle, looking for the holy grail of body moisturizers. They all promise super soft, silky skin, but few of them really deliver. That’s because many are made with mostly water, which evaporates from our skin shortly after application, leaving us dry and flaky just a little while later.
For the best nourishment, look for a moisturizer that has ceramides or fatty acids, which are waxy substances naturally found within our cells, but that decrease as we age. They help us retain moisture, adding an extra layer to our own skin barrier. Just like cleansers, look for fragrance-free or naturally scented moisturizers to reduce the risk of skin irritation.
One of my favorites right now is Bio Body Body Restorative Cream by Neocutis*, which has an added benefit of salicylic acid to reduce bumpy skin. For stretch marks, scars, and really tenacious dry spots, I love Liha’s Gold Shea Butter*, which is made from raw, organic shea butter and feels supremely special.
Also, give a little extra attention to your application. Massage your moisturizer intentionally into your skin, giving it time to absorb into your skin.
I can’t say this enough, but sun protection is essential for all of our skin — not just the skin on our faces! In the winter, we’re all bundled up, but come spring, we’ll be out in the soaking up the rays. I find it easiest to apply before getting dressed, and I let it soak in for a few minutes. Look for an SPF that’s at least 30+ and reapply every hour or so if you’re outside for more than a few hours. And don’t forget the legs and tops of the feet!
When it comes to fabrics, there are some that suit our skin better and are less irritating. In the fall and winter, pure cashmere and silk are two of my favorites as they glide across the skin. A bonus is that they’re naturally hypoallergenic. In the spring and summer, organic cotton and linen are my go-tos for everyday wear as they breathe easily in the heat. If I know our family is going to be outdoors for most of the day, we’re all in rashguards with UPF protection which gives us added protection from the sun. I love these sun shirts with UPF protection from Acqua, a chic Australian brand.
Feed Your Skin
You’ve probably heard me talk about how important our diet is to our skin health. While I’m usually talking about how healthy fats can maintain a healthy, full complexion and antioxidants can nourish your natural glow, these same nutrients can work wonders for your overall skin health as well. I’m a big proponent of omega-3’s, which are found in chia seeds, wild-caught salmon, and other cold water fish, for their anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporating these foods into your diet on the regular is essential for radiant skin.
Like any healthy habit, consistency is key. I know how challenging it is to make time for our self-care when we’re always rushing to take care of kids or off to work, but a little investment each day makes huge differences over the long run. Give yourself five extra minutes to properly nourish your body skin and show it a little love for all the hard work it does each and every day. The mornings are always hectic for me as I get the kids ready for school — it’s a win for me to just get out of the door sometimes! So, for me, evenings are my time to wind down and take a little time for myself. Find a time that works for you, and commit. You deserve it!
*I can’t wait to offer these products in my new skin boutique launching April 2019!