- Caring for the Skin on your Body
- The skin on our face tends to get all the care and attention i.e. we don't spend much time looking after the skin on the rest of our bodies. Yet our body is exposed to the same environmental aging factors as our face, while also being subjected to the effects of harsh soaps, hormonal changes and fluctuations in weight.
- Body skin is thicker than facial skin and can thus tolerate more vigorous cleansing and exfoliation along with richer emollients. Dryness can be a particular problem in the areas that get the most wear and tear, like elbows, knees, hands and feet. However, large surface areas can also become dry, especially during cooler months and as a consequence of frequent hot soapy showers/baths that strip the skin of it natural oils. Skin responds to this by becoming dry, less elastic, rougher and prone to irritation.
- Photo-aging can occur on the body just as it does on the face. The most vulnerable area are the neck and upper chest - but sun damage is also often prominent on the shoulders and upper back. Arms, hands and lower legs are also susceptible, especially in women. This leads to increased lining and wrinkling, especially on the upper chest and neck.
- And of course, what we all dread... Cellulite
Cellulite is largely a genetically predisposed condition, is occurs as these fat cells swell and the surrounding fibrous tissue changes in texture, causing a pulling effect and giving the skin a dimpled look. Cellulite can occur in many places but is most common on the thighs and buttocks. Since the fat is in the deepest layer of the skin, it is very difficult to penetrate to this level in a living organism. From a medical point of view, cellulite is nothing to worry about.
Interestingly, the term cellulite is not listed in medical dictionaries or health advice services such as NHS Direct.
'Medical thinking on cellulite remains much the same as it always has – it’s simply fat and has nothing to do with toxins or any other of the wacky theories that currently abound'.
At the other extreme, there are those who firmly believe that cellulite is very real.
- Now that we have defined the needs and potential problems for body skin, what can we do to address them?
- Moisturizing body skin thoroughly requires the same diligence as does facial skin, but richer emollients that contain higher concentrations of oils and humectants are needed. At the same time, finding moisturizers that absorb well into the skin is critical, since no one wants their body to feel greasy or to have clothing either sticking to the skin or becoming stained.
- Individuals experience an element of sensuality and a sense of confidence when their skin is soft and smooth. Unfortunately, many of us are not aware of this aspect, until we experience it - often for the first time at a spa or via a self pampering session in the privacy of their own home.
- In regards to cellulite, Dr Mark Porter concludes 'despite the miraculous cures you read about, the only reliable way to get rid of cellulite is a combination of diet and exercise aimed at total body fat reduction - it’s impossible to spot reduce using diet and exercise. I know some books and videos claim otherwise but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Sorry!'
- The value of an enhanced self-image is difficult to over-estimate - and the role of beautiful skin is very important to achieving it. Daily care for the body - with the same dedication many women apply to their face - can produce a more youthful, smooth and supple effect.