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February 02, 2023
Many people would spend tens of thousands of dollars on skin care products and treatments for their faces, but wouldn't spend much for their body. However, the skin on the body also ages just like the skin on the face, with signs of aging like dryness, dark spots, loss of elasticity, and sagging. Stretch marks may also easily appear during weight gain/loss, and pregnancy, as collagen and elastin stretch and snap.
In fact, without proper care, not only would the skin on the body age faster than the face, conditions like keratosis pilaris may worsen, and flare ups of sensitivity, itchiness and eczema may persist.
Learn how to take care of your body skin now, and keep it healthy, glowy, and velvety soft.
The first step in achieving body skin that is healthy, smooth and velvety soft, is to stop using body cleansers with foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), as well as soap.
SLS and SLES strip the skin of its natural oil, and can damage the skin’s lipid barrier, thus weakening its water retention ability, which leads to dryness and pre-mature aging, as well as its defence ability in stopping harmful bacteria and pollutants from entering the body through the skin, resulting in dryness, irritations, redness, and inflammations like eczema and dermatitis.
In addition, they are both alkaline. SLS for instance, has a pH of 7.5 to 8.5. Whilst, bar soap generally has a pH range of 8.0 to 10.0 (even handmade soap is considered alkaline). This alkalinity can increase the skin’s natural pH, disrupt and damage the skin barrier, strip the skin of its important oils, deteriorate the skin's natural water retention and defence function, resulting in dry, itchy, and inflamed skin, as well as worsened eczema and dermatitis symptoms and flare ups.
So, ditch any body wash with sulfates, and avoid bar soaps. Instead, look for a non-foaming one with nourishing properties.
Also, don't shower too long or use water that is too hot.
Have you ever wondered why your legs and arms still feel super dry, rough, and itchy, or worse, crack, no matter how much body lotion you lather on? Or why certain parts of the body look darker? Or why you keep having body acne?
The skin on our body, just like our faces, need to shed on a regular basis so new, healthy cells can come up to the surface. It takes around 14-21 days on average for this process to complete in our 20s, and then it gradually lengthens to 28-45 days in our 30s, 45-60 days in our 40s, and 90 days in our 50s-60s. With a buildup of dead skin cells on the skin surface, it will cause dryness, roughness, itchiness, scaling, and even body acne. For those with eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions, it will also prevent bacteria from coming out, causing symptoms to linger.
Whilst, for those with keratosis pilaris, the skin produces new cells faster than it can shed. As new and old cells stick to the same area, bumps will form, with the possibility of inflammations.
On the other hand, constant friction against our clothes, as well as against our own skin, will stimulate melanin production. Without proper cell turnover, melanin will gather, turning certain parts of the skin darker.
Slathering on serums, lotions or moisturizers at this time would not work. This is because the thick layer of dead skin cells would prevent anything from penetrating, so products would just be staying on the skin surface. In fact, lotions and moisturizers could make the conditions worse, as they would essentially be sticking the dead skin cells and bacteria to the skin, instead of allowing them to shed.
Therefore, if you want healthy, smooth and velvety soft skin, then exfoliation must be done on a regulation basis.
Now, although the body skin tends to be thicker and tougher than our faces, scrubs are still not recommended, as physical scrubs with particles like beads, shells, salt and sugar, besides removing dead skin cells on the skin surface, also slough away healthy skin cells. It may also cause micro-tears on the skin, as well as wounds invisible to the naked eye. This will result in even more dryness, itchiness, sensitivity and potential inflammation.
On the other hand, acids work by dissolving the bond between only dead skin cells so they can naturally shed faster and easier, while leaving healthy skin cells attached, making them actually more gentle than scrubs when used properly. In fact, lactic acid, for instance, is also a humectant, meaning not only will it gently exfoliate, it will also help keep the skin hydrated, so even sensitive and eczema can benefit from it.
It doesn't have to be a troublesome process though. Simply choose a body cleanser with lactic acid at the right concentration, and you can easily get the necessary exfoliation done on a regular basis.
holi(wash) Ageless Resurfacing Body Cleanser <- Click to shop
Yes, our skin needs hydration, but our body skin experiences much less trans-epidermal water loss than our faces, as it is covered by clothes most of the time. On the contrary, the lipids that are needed to repair and maintain a healthy skin barrier decline with age. Without enough lipids, the upper layers of the skin become thinner, which then lead to dryness, roughness, dullness, wrinkles, and conditions such as eczema.
Moreoever, just like our faces, our body skin, besides needing hydration and lipids, also needs other nutrients and antioxidants to prevent and slow signs of aging, such as loss of elasticity, sagging, dark spots, etc.
Elements of Comfort Aromatic Body Oil <- Click to shop
But don’t body lotions and moisturizers hydrate and nourish too? Yes and no. The problem with these generic body lotions or moisturizers is that their primary function is locking in water, whilst only giving the skin minimal amount of water and oil, without truly nourishing it. They also do not provide all the other nutrients the skin needs to remain firm, smooth and youthful.
Still don't believe it? Let us show you an example.
Here's the ingredient list from well-known drugstore brand ‘Dxve’. The ingredient highlighted in red is a humectant, the ones in purple are soothing, skin softening ingredients, and the ones in yellow leave a film on the skin to lock in moisture. Whilst, the ingredient ‘Phenoxyethnol’ highlighted in blue sits at around the 1% mark in the formula, meaning the ingredients before it is at over 1% in the formula, and the ones after it is at less than 1%. All the ones that are not highlighted are either preservatives, emulsifiers, or texture enhancers. No anti-aging ingredients are present.
As you can see there really isn’t much nourishing ingredients, is there? But let us tell you something worse. Petrolatum, the third ingredient in the list, is actually a HUGE no-no for keratosis pilaris, eczema, and textured, dry skin. It does not provide any benefit aside from preventing water evaporation, and because it works like a plastic wrap, same as many other occlusive ingredients, it will stop inflammation, bacteria, and dead skin cells from leaving the skin. The dermal cells would also become lazy, go dormant, and ultimately stop regulating the skin's hydration level. At the end, the skin will only get drier and drier, with more sensitivity and inflammations.
Let’s take a look at another product from ‘Dxve’ below, which promotes itself as a Shea Butter Body Lotion, and sells for more than the one above. Remember how we said the ingredient ‘Phenoxyethnol’ (highlighted in blue) sits at around the 1% mark in the formula? Shea butter is clearly way below that 1% mark. (Note: Ingredients do not have to be listed in the order of concentration in a formula when they are under 1%, however, when an ingredient is listed behind fragrance, you can deduce that its concentration is ultra low.) So no, it won't truly nourish the skin, and it does not contain any anti-aging ingredients either, just like most other body lotions and moisturizers on the market.
On the contrary, body oils are made of a mixture of soothing oils and botanical extracts, and without any emulsifiers, preservatives, texture enhancer, nor silicones. This means every single ingredient, many of which are have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are great for dry, sensitive, keratosis pilaris, and eczema skin, works to nourish and soothe the skin with their huge amount of essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phenols, phytonutrients, etc... Because of their lipophilic nature and their small molecular size, they also penetrate the skin’s layers way faster and deeper to repair and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, soothe redness and inflammation, protect the skin against external aggressors like pollution and allergens, and fight free radicals.
In fact, aside from the benefits mentioned above, many are also developed to address signs of aging such as dark spots, sagging, loss of elasticity, and even stretch marks and cellulite, and delivery skin that is firm, soft, smooth, and radiant.
holi(body) Ageless Body Serum <- Click to shop
Marie Reynolds London
Anoint™ <- Click to shop
And if you're worrying about greasiness, there's really no need, as body oils, or body balms, these days are mostly lightweight in texture and leave a dry finish without any heaviness or greasiness. The tip is to use it on damp skin straight out of the shower and the skin will stay nourished, smooth, and radiant all day.
body(balm) Lifting & Firming Body Treatment Crème <- Click to shop
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Butter Balm <- Click to shop
When you drink water, it travels through the esophagus to the stomach before entering the small intestine. It then makes its way into the bloodstream and gets filtered by the kidneys, so the cells and organs can get the hydration they need to perform optimally.
So no, drinking water does not automatically go to the skin and hydrate it. However, water does have an indirect effect on the skin, as it helps flush out toxins and waste from the body and assists in circulation and getting oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells; and yes, the skin will be impacted when you are severely dehydrated because your cells and organs cannot function properly without water.
Guess what, when you take a collagen supplement, not only does it improve the quality of the skin on your face, it also improves the skin of the whole body in terms of hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density!
Studies have shown that ingesting high quality collagen supplement, which are metabolized to bioactive di- and tri-peptides in the gastrointestinal tract, and then released into the blood stream and accumulated in the skin to form new collagen, increase hyaluronic acid synthesis, and promote the production of other proteins that help structure the skin, including elastin and fibrillin, thereby plumping skin, preventing wrinkles, sagging, dryness, and increasing elasticity.
In one randomized, placebo-controlled 12-week clinical trial, it has been confirmed that objective dermatological measurements, such as cutometry and corneometry, have proven that oral collagen peptides, can reach deeper layers of the skin and sustainably improve skin physiology and appearance, including skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density after three months of intake. The study participants, in their subjective assessments, also concluded that their skin appearance had significantly improved without any side effects.
Another clinical research, which positively demonstrated collagen supplements’ impact on the skin cell’s ability to produce collagen fibers and hyaluronic acid, showed that the fragmentation of collagen in the deep layer of the dermis by significantly decreased by 18% after 4 weeks and as much as 31% after 12 weeks of intake. They also significantly increased the density of collagen in the dermis by +9% after 4 weeks of intake, and skin hydration increased by an astonishing 28%, resulting in a significant increase in skin elasticity and hydration, and reduction in wrinkle depth.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 64 participants that lasted 12 weeks, also showed that skin-hydration values of the group that ingested collagen supplement once daily were significantly higher compared with the placebo group. Visual assessment score, three parameters of skin wrinkling, as well as skin elasticity were also significantly improved.
holi(mane) Hair, Skin & Nails Daily Supplement <- Click to shop
We all know that vitamin C is important for our skin, but did you know vitamin A is also crucial in maintaining skin health?
Our skin needs vitamin A to create and repair skin cells, as well as prevent skin inflammation. A deficiency of it may lead to dryness, itchiness, scaling, and even eczema.
Vitamin A can be found in liver, oily fish, shellfish, cod liver oil, as well as orange-pigmented vegetables and fruits such as sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, mango, papaya, and apricots. Spinach and lettuce are also high in vitamin A.
If these foods aren't in your daily diet, you may need to consider taking a vitamin A supplement.
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