If you run through a 12 step skin care routine every morning and evening, but only lackadaisically smear some lotion on your elbows, this is your wake up call to change that. Remember: skin is your largest organ, and the majority of it isn’t on your face, so indulging in skin care while neglecting body care is like getting an eye exam on one eye or only brushing your bottom teeth.
The skin on our faces and bodies is quite different and requires different care so keep reading to learn the steps to the best body care for sensitive skin.
Difference between skin on face and skin on body
So can you use the same skin care products on your face as your body? In a pinch sure, but the subtle differences in your face skin and body skin may benefit from more nuanced face and body care routines.
The main difference between face skin and body skin is thickness. The skin on our bodies is a lot thicker than the skin on our face (with the thinnest skin being the skin around our eyes).
Our face also contains the highest concentration of sebaceous glands so it is often more oily than our body.
To top it all off, our skin is not often covered by clothes like our body is, so it’s more susceptible to the environmental damage from the sun, pollution, harsh weather conditions, etc.
All that being said, the skin on our bodies is a bit easier to care for than that on our face, but that doesn’t mean you should toss your body care routine aside. Try this easy 7 step body care routine for sensitive skin types.
First things first, you need to start with a clean slate. Hop in the shower and use your hands or a clean washcloth and a gentle body wash to cleanse all over the body. As tempting as sweet smelling cleansers are, it’s best to avoid cleansers with fragrance or essential oils since they are common irritants that can cause problems for sensitive skin. If you want the relaxation that comes from an aromatic shower, light a candle beforehand. You’ll get the fragrant atmosphere without the impending breakouts.
While your goal is to remove any dirt, body odor, or other impurities that come with living, be careful not to cleanse your skin too often. Overcleansing can strip your skin of its natural oils and leave your skin dry and dull, so stick to one shower a day, and try not to linger too long in the hot water.
Oatmeal Baths for Eczema
If you suffer from eczema, you could swap a few showers for a colloidal oatmeal bath. Oats have several benefits for the skin, especially if you have eczema. Oat baths are not only relaxing, but they’ve been shown to help calm inflammation and soothe dry, irritated, and itchy skin.
After cleansing, it’s time to shed your skin. Your dead skin, that is. Use a body scrub to exfoliate off dead skin cells, open your pores, and leave your skin feeling softer and renewed.
Exfoliating your face can be tricky due to the skin’s delicate nature, but the skin on our body is generally a lot tougher, and can handle a bit more scrubbing. Because of this, you may be able to opt for a sugar scrub or coffee scrub (which should be avoided for your face), or you could go for a gentle, sensitive skin scrub with less abrasive exfoliants like pumice stone or jojoba beads.
If even gentle exfoliants irritate your skin, tenderly run a damp washcloth over your skin in small circles instead.
If you choose to shave your legs, arms, or any other part of your body, make sure you keep your sensitive skin in mind.
Shaving following exfoliation helps ensure that the hair is completely out of the follicle which will reduce the risk of ingrown hairs and irritation. Some other tips for shaving sensitive skin include:
- Shave towards the end of your shower so the hair has time to soften
- Use a sharp razor
- Shave with the grain
- Use gentle strokes and go slow
- Always use a shaving cream, lotion, gel, or even a bit of hair conditioner if you forgot to stock up on shaving cream.
Once you’re out of the shower it’s time to dry off. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel, but don’t rub. Rubbing your skin can lead to inflammation and irritation. You should also leave your skin a bit moist before you move on to the next step...
If you’re prone to sitting around in your towel for an hour after your shower, you could be letting go of the most hydrated skin possible. Moisturizing your skin while it’s still a bit damp from the shower helps seal in your skin’s natural moisture.
Choosing a moisturizer well suited for your skin type will help maximize your results.
If you have oily skin (yes you still need to moisturize) try a non-comedogenic, oil free body lotion, but if you have dry skin, look for a thicker cream or body butter with occlusive ingredients like shea butter, cetearyl alcohol, or oils. Oclusives help create a barrier over the skin to prevent moisture loss which is crucial for chronically dry skin.
Moisture retaining ingredients like hyaluronic acid are also a plus for both dry and oily skin because it keeps your skin hydrated which helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
Regardless of if your skin is oily, dry, or somewhere in between, choose a fragrance free body moisturizer to avoid negative reactions from fragrance, one of the most common allergens.
If you find your skin gets extra dry in certain spots like your knees, elbows, feet, or hands, rub a bit of a hydrating oil into problematic spots. Emu oil is chock full of vitamins and nutrients like Vitamin A and essential omegas 3,6, and 9 which help soothe the skin, prevent signs of aging, and reduce the appearance of blemishes.
Use an aluminum and paraben free deodorant to avoid underarm irritation from harsh ingredients found in most mass market anti-perspirants. If you’re a natural deodorant newbie, you may need to go through a deodorant detox, but after a few weeks, it’ll be smooth sailing.
Sunscreen will always be a non-negotiable when it comes to skin care. Not only is it your best defense against skin cancer, but also against early signs of aging.
Apply one ounce (a shot glass worth) of sunscreen to any part of your body not shielded by clothes, and reapply every 2 hours.
Shop Cleure’s range of sensitive skin body care products here.