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Skin

Do you need a skincare routine for your body?

With the rise of dedicated body formulas that offer both short- and long-term benefits, it’s easier than ever to get visibly smoother, more supple skin from the chin down, says MALENA HARBERS

Beauty

Upgrade your everyday body moisturizer

“Twenty-five percent of our body’s immune system is found in our skin cells,” says aesthetician Joanna Czech. “But only a tiny amount of our skin is on our face – the rest is on our body, so we need to take care of it for a better complexion and for our health.” While some of us are already diligent with a daily body moisturizer, it’s what’s in it that matters most. Many body creams contain a simple emollient to hydrate the skin. Instead, “they should be of equally good quality as face creams,” says Czech. Look for formulas infused with problem-solving ingredients – such as AHAs and retinols for cell turnover and pigment control; antioxidants for protecting and strengthening skin; and intense hydrators, like hyaluronic acid, for a softer, smoother skin texture.

Exfoliation shouldn’t end in the shower

Dead skin cells are much slower to slough off when you get below the collarbone, so a thorough all-over exfoliation is essential. But there’s no need to restrict skin-sloughing to the shower. Best applied to damp skin, Lancer’s The Method: Body Nourish contains a glycolic acid, which gives an immediate blurring effect but also smooths out fine lines and crepiness in the long term. Dr Harold Lancer, the Beverly Hills-based dermatologist behind the beauty brand, advises his celebrity clients to use the treatment daily, for two weeks, in the run-up to the Oscars. “You’ll see the biggest change in your skin after this,” he says. If you’re already using a scrub or AHA cleanser in the shower, gradually work your way up to also using an acid or enzyme-based exfoliator in your moisturizer – to avoid sensitivity in areas where your skin is thinner and has less elasticity, like your décolleté. Aesthetician and problem-skin expert Debbie Thomas advocates using a cream with azelaic acid if your skin is prone to sensitivity from other acids. “It has a calming quality to it, which really helps with inflammation.” Interestingly, despite having fewer oil glands than other areas of your body, your décolleté is an area where adult acne often shows up. The back, however, is particularly problematic. “Your mid-back has larger and more oil glands than any other area and, being difficult to get to, it’s often neglected, leading to breakouts from blockages,” says Thomas. “I use a silicone body brush to help apply scrubs and creams to target this area properly.”

Power up your skin’s defenses

We need antioxidants in our body creams for the same reason that they are an essential part of our face-care routine. “Our skin is constantly being bombarded by inflammatory influences and the oxidative damage from this is one of the causes of aging, disease and dysfunction,” affirms Dr. Barbara Sturm. Her Anti-Aging Body Cream includes the powerhouse antioxidant herb purslane – and it has the most incredible texture that just sinks in – but she also advocates using cocoa-seed extract, vitamin E and vitamin C to help preserve skin’s resilience.

Don’t underestimate proper hydration

If you only have time to use one body product daily, Dr Lancer says it should definitely be a good hydrating cream. “That’s because multi-layer skin-moisture loss in the long run makes the skin look older.” You want a nourishing mix of nutrient-rich ingredients paired with potent anti-aging compounds. He tells clients to concentrate on hands, arms and shoulders and foot, leg and thigh areas when applying creams for walking the red carpet. “Remember the sides and back of your neck, too, which are often neglected,” he says. Fluid retention can also affect the look of your skin. The best product for de-puffing is Legology’s Air-Lite Daily Lift For Legs. Over time, it helps release the fluid that accumulates around fat cells, which cause your skin to look dimpled, so you get a smoother, tighter effect on the surface. La Mer’s Renewal Body Oil Balm is great for adding an instant sheen to the tops of shoulders and down the front of the shins – which tends to be the driest part of the body – and helps to repair and nourish thanks to its cocktail of fermented sea kelp, plant oil and vitamins C and E.

Transform your skin in seven days

It takes three easy steps to change the texture and feel of your skin, says Dr Sturm. Try this daily routine for one week: “Every day before showering, spend a few minutes dry body brushing to boost your metabolism, blood circulation and lymph flow. Always start at your feet and use firm pressure to brush upwards towards the heart with slow, clockwise strokes.” Follow with a scrub, enzyme or AHA-based cleanser in the shower and finish with a high-tech moisturizer. After one week, Dr Sturm recommends body brushing and a scrub application once a week to maintain results, but continue to use the anti-aging body cream daily post-shower. “It’s a non-negotiable for the best, continued results.”

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