Perfected your facial skincare routine but not sure how to tackle the rest of your body? We asked the experts for their best tips…
These days tending to your skincare routine is probably as ingrained as getting dressed or brushing your teeth.
But while we’re all jade rolling our faces and nailing down our perfect retinol percentages, the rest of our body tends to take a backseat.
In actual fact, the rest of our body deserves just as much love as our face. We spoke to five experts to find out how to look after our skin from the neck down.
1. Brush up
“Body brushing is a form of physical exfoliation by stroking the skin with a brush. This helps in removing dead skin cells,” explains Dr Shaaira Nasir, a Consultant Dermatologist at Sk:n.
“The benefits of dry brushing include giving skin a smoother texture and more even skin tone. Removing dead skin cells will also help to reduce blocked pores and any ingrown hairs. It can also help with better absorption of other products such as the use of moisturisers afterwards.
“Dry brushing can be done at any time. However, I would recommend doing it just before a shower as the dead skin cells can be washed off during showering. Skin can then be patted dry and moisturiser applied afterwards.
“I would only recommend performing physical exfoliation once or twice a week at most. This should be done gently as being too aggressive can cause breaks or compromise the skin barrier which can then lead to inflammation and irritation.
“Those with more sensitive skin, eczema prone skin or inflammatory conditions like psoriasis should avoid this form of physical exfoliation as it could damage the skin barrier and cause these skin conditions to become worse.”
2. Shower smarter
“The vast majority of shower gels contain parabens, which are chemicals used to prevent bacteria and act as a preservative in products like shampoos, shower gels, deodorants and lipsticks,” says Dr Ross Perry, Medical Director of Cosmedics skin clinics.
“Parabens are equally damaging for the environment while there have also been studies to suggest that they can cause skin inflammation and hormone disruption.
“Another key ingredient to think about avoiding is sulfates.
“They create the frothy lather which removes dirt, oil and general build-up from the body so skin feels squeaky clean. However, sulfates can also wash away too much of our natural body oil which can end up leaving our skin feeling dry, flaky and itchy and for those with sensitive skin can cause irritation.
“Look for organic and natural shower gels which won’t be packed full of nasty ingredients and potentially cause irritation. As much as we all love a scented shower gel, many will contain alcohol which again will dry out and potentially irritate the skin.”
Unlike the usual suspects lurking in our bathrooms, the formula avoids skin irritants like colourants, sulfates and alcohol.
You can also scrub with a clean conscience thanks to the biodegradable formula and recyclable packaging, which means what’s going down the drain and in the recycling bin isn’t going to be at the expense of the planet.
3. Think inside out
“When it comes to helping your skin through your diet, zinc is a key component in protecting it from UV absorption and an important antioxidant which protects the skin from free radical damage,” explains nutritionist Jenna Hope.
“Free radicals are unstable molecules which contribute to cell damage and cell death. They contribute to the degradation of collagen and elastin, two key components of skin which leave it feeling soft and supple.
“Our bodies produce free radicals naturally through exercise and digestion although, pollution and toxins can contribute to their production.
“Consuming antioxidant rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can help to stabilise free radicals and prevent them causing cell damage.
“Meanwhile Omega-3 plays an important role in reducing systemic inflammation. Omega-3 helps to counteract some of the effects of the high intakes of omega-6 which are found in the western diet.
“An unbalanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 can contribute to rosacea, acne and psoriasis.
“Omega-3 therefore helps to reduce the inflammation found in these disorders. Foods naturally high in the fatty acid include oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring etc.), chia seeds and flax seeds.”
4. Get picky with your period
“Many ‘regular’ period products are made with harmful chemicals that can aggravate sensitive skin,” explains Alice Warren, Director of CX at period-proof underwear brand Thinx.
“Whether it’s bleach, fragrance, or plastic, many people with periods may find regular period products irritate the skin.
“With period-proof pants, the moisture wicking layer that touches your skin is cotton, which means it won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin and keeps your skin feeling fresh and dry.
“Moisture on the skin particularly during hot weather, can chafe and lead to discomfort.
“Disposable period products are also responsible for a tremendous amount of global waste and landfill pollution.
“More than 12 billion pads and tampons are thrown out each year with the average person with a period using more than 11,000 pads, tampons and panty-liners in their lifetime, which is the equivalent of 120 kilos of waste.”
5. Stay in touch
“When we’re stressed we release stress hormones called cortisol,” says celebrity facialist and founder of 001 Skincare Ada Ooi.
“Too much cortisol can weaken our immune system creating an inflammatory response. It can flare up as rashes or redness and trigger acute and chronic hives, eczema or psoriasis.
“Stress hormones can also spike our sebaceous glands’ (the glands that produce oil and moisture) activities, causing a higher level oil secretion which leads to blocked pores and acnes - stress and back acne are closely linked because our back also contains relatively more sebaceous glands than other parts of the body.
“Meanwhile when we’re stressed our heart rate raises and we sweat more, which can dehydrate our skin.
“Massage and touch stimulates our brain to release endorphins that help us relax our mind which can lead to releasing any tension in our muscles and the skin around them.
“Using massage and touch more frequently will help you see better skin, especially if you use a moisturiser or massage oil at the same time.”
Integrating massage into your daily routine doesn’t require big bucks and a regular trip to the masseuse.
Get your hands on a massage ball and pick a naturally moisturising shower gel like Sanex Zero%. Next, simply add a few minutes to your morning shower and use the ball to massage the gel into your skin.
Care for the planet and your body with Sanex Zero%, the skin-friendly shower gel with a 99% biodegradable formula, moisturisers of natural origin and fewer chemical ingredients. Shop the collection below.