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Look after the skin on your body with these expert tips

Skincare shouldn’t stop at the jawline, so we've asked the experts how exactly you should be looking after the rest of your body

We ritualistically slather our faces with serums, but often  forget all about the skin on our body.  This is despite the fact that, as our body’s largest organ, the skin serves a number of very important protective functions;  essentially acting as a gatekeeper for what lies beneath.

It would make sense then that keeping it as healthy as possible should be of utmost importance. So, why is it that according to a recent survey by Venus, 76 per cent of women place the most importance on looking after the skin on their face? Well, despite mask wearing becoming the norm, our faces are constantly on show, and are intrinsically linked to our sense of self and identity. Not to mention as a whole, beauty brands tend to focus heavily on what’s above the neckline.

But experts warn that the skin elsewhere on our bodies is also prone to a number of the same conditions and damage that we have become accustomed to treating and preventing on our faces. These include, “melasma, sun damage, acne, hyperpigmentation and rosacea, as well as dryness and wrinkling,” shares EV expert Dr Bhavjit Kaur.

Luckily, keeping on top of your body’s skin health has never been easier. Whether you’re looking to dip your toe into bodycare or up your existing regime, our EV experts share what you need to know.

Moisture is key

As a general rule, non-facial skin requires more moisture. “Oil producing glands are highly concentrated on the face, chest, back and behind the ears, so the rest of the body tends to be drier. When looking at your routine, ensure the products you use are well suited to dry skin and don’t contain harsh detergents, surfactants or preservatives,” says Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme.

To up the ante, add La Roche-Posay Lipikar Syndet AP+ Body Wash, £16.50, to your arsenal. This works to keep the skin’s natural moisture barrier intact to minimise dryness and irritation. And try CeraVe Moisturising Lotion, £9.50, post shower on damp skin to maximise absorption.

Remember your neck, chest and hands

According to experts, the skin on our necks, chests and hands are commonly exposed areas of our body that we tend to forget.

“The décolletage is thinner than most areas of the body and because of this it is more prone to sunspots, dilated vessels, crepeing and wrinkles,” says Dr Kaur. Our necks tend to be prone to sagging, whereas the backs of the hands commonly get drier, lose volume and wrinkle over time.

The solution? “All of the skincare products that we apply on the face should also be applied on the front and back of the neck, ears, chest and hands,” advises Dr Kaur. However, when it comes to powerful actives like retinoids and AHAs, ease your way in – thinner, more delicate skin tends to be more sensitive too.

Make SPF a priority

Dermatologists warn that skin cancers often form on areas of the body that we tend to forget when applying sunscreen, such as the ears, chest, and back. For this reason, “we should always be applying a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF30 on non-facial skin that isn’t protected by clothing,” says Kaur.

She also adds that along with the formation of hyperpigmentation, “UV exposure leads to collagen breaking down at a higher rate than normal,” which presents on the skin in the form of sagging, thinning and wrinkling.

The good news is that sunscreen formulas have come a long way in recent years. Body options are far less gunky and thick, while many no longer leave darker skin tones looking grey in tone.

Add acids

In just the same way that exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells and encourages cell turnover to unclog pores, even skin tone, prevent breakouts and add radiance to the complexion, the same results can be expected when you exfoliate the body, a practice we should be engaging in, “one to three times a week,” says EV expert and holistic health, skin and wellbeing practitioner, Gemma Clare.

Exfoliating acids are your fastest and safest route to clear skin as these non-mechanical exfoliants don’t rub and scrub skin but gently ‘eat’ away at dead skin cells. Lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, is a safe bet as it decongests skin while softening and moisturising to boot. And while primarily used to exfoliate, AHA’s also help boost collagen production, so they are a win win option.

Try a treatment

Much like facial skincare, at-home, topical body products can only do so much. As we ease out of lockdown, Ejikeme predicts that body treatments will increase in popularity. “Treatments that focus on tightening, smoothing texture and sculpting the body are already much more in demand,” shares Ejikeme.

Popular versions include Ultherapy, a non-surgical treatment that uses ultrasound to tighten skin on the face, neck and chest but can also be used to address sagging around the abdomen, arms and knees. Emsculpt uses electromagnetic energy to build muscle and melt fat, while Coolsculpting freezes fat to help contour the body.

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