“This year is all about caring for the body,” says A-list skincare expert Joanna Vargas. Dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross agrees: “People are starting to equate skin health with overall health and looking beyond the face and neck.” Here are the expert-approved hacks to make your body-care regimen work harder, resulting in smoother, more supple and glowing skin.
Repurpose your LED device
“You can take your home-use LED mask down to any part of the body that needs healing,” says Vargas. These devices emit different types of red or near-infrared light which both speed up skin healing and help to reduce inflammation. While the chest, arms and tummy are all popular areas to treat, it’s worth targeting the upper back too, suggests Vargas. “It’s common to have had a sunburn there and, as a result, you’ll get a loss of elasticity that’s very noticeable around the bra line.” Look for devices that are flexible and can work on different body parts, advises Dr. Gross. “You really want the LED to be flush against the skin in order to achieve maximum light penetration.”
“Puffiness and fluid retention tend to manifest in the lower leg, ankles and feet thanks to gravity, which can leave you feeling heavy-legged,” says Legology founder, Kate Shapland. She swears by dry body brushing to de-puff legs, but technique is key. “The worst mistake is to use it like a weapon to break up fat. This damages the lymphatic system and will ultimately have the opposite effect you want.” Think fast and light, sweeping in circles from the ankles upwards. “When done regularly, a quartz facial roller or even ice-globe tools work equally well to get lymph moving.” For instant results, Shapland suggests spritzing legs with cold water or applying a cooling gel or cream straight out of the fridge.
Double-duty your sheet masks
After applying a sheet mask, use up any leftover serum to replenish parched areas of your body. First, soak up any excess serum found within the packet with your mask, then gently rub it in circles over the area you want to concentrate on. Try a vitamin-C-based treatment to pep up dull, dehydrated elbows. Shapland suggests massaging a moisture-rich sheet mask over typically dry shins. “The skin here is very thin so it needs plenty of rich but not heavy hydration.”
“Skincare should start with your bath,” says Vargas. “Add green tea to your water. It’s especially great for improving circulation and cellulite.” She suggests pairing it with rosemary and camomile tea for extra hydrating and anti-inflammatory benefits. Post-soak, enhance the skin-smoothing benefits of green tea’s theobromine, which stimulates the release of stored fat in the body, with a circulation-stimulating topical serum or cream.
Don’t forget your cleavage
“It’s very common to get both vertical and horizontal lines under and between your breasts, due to your sleeping position,” says Vargas. “Take the products you use on your face down to your chest, cleavage and underside of the breasts to address texture changes and the loss of elasticity that become more pronounced over time.” Serums and masks containing omegas, peptides and hyaluronic acid will help to strengthen the delicate skin there and plump out lines. Use a rolled-up face cloth or hand towel placed in between your breasts while sleeping for even more wrinkle prevention.
Use salicylic acid in your body care
Breakouts don’t just confine themselves to the face, so it makes sense to extend your acne regimen to areas of your body where pimples may appear, which is often the chest and back.
“Use a salicylic acid-infused cleanser once or twice a week and spot-treat blemish-prone areas with a retinol serum, layering your regular body moisturizer over the top,” says Vargas. “Additionally, water that is too hot can be really drying to the skin. If you’re breaking out, it will throw off the skin’s natural balance, causing even more breakouts, so keep the water temperature moderate.”
Use AHAs on bumpy skin
Glycolic-acid and lactic-acid treatments work best to tackle keratosis pilaris – those tiny bumps on the back of your arms. Dr. Dennis Gross’s much-loved Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads contain both ingredients. Opt for the extra-strength version here: “The skin on the body is two to three times thicker than that on the face, so you often need a cocktail of stronger ingredients for best results,” says Dr. Gross. You can also repurpose glycolic-laden face masks and serums for the skin on the back of your arms.
The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown