Did you know the skin is actually our body’s largest organ? Women, especially, are constantly reminded of caring for our faces to prevent premature aging, but many of us tend to forget all about the skin on the rest of our bodies. Myself included. This time of year, particularly in the dry Colorado climate, I’m reminded that—soon—the skin on my legs, arms, chest, and tummy will be making a public appearance. Though summer is just around the corner, there’s still time to whip our body skin in to shape. Let’s talk about a simple two-step process that will show some love to the skin we’re in!
Step 1: Exfoliate
Step 2: Moisturize
Yes, it’s that simple! However, in the wide world of beauty there are numerous products and options available to perform these two simple steps. Don’t worry; I’m going to cover a few of my favorites to achieve fast results.
Step 1: Exfoliate
Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface to allow for better product penetration and absorption. The biggest mistake I hear of my clients making when exfoliating their body skin is that they are performing this task while in the shower and their skin is damp. This weighs down those pesky dead skin cells and does not allow for many of them to leave the surface. The goal is to get as many of those dead skin cells off the surface as possible so that our moisturizers can be the most beneficial.
First, we must choose what to use to perform the exfoliation process. My favorite technique is dry brushing. The best tool I’ve found for this is my Clarisonic with the body brush head. The body brush head is larger and coarser than the facial brush head attachments. The skin on our body is much thicker than our facial skin. This means that not only can it withstand a more aggressive exfoliation, but needs it to achieve optimal results.
Clarisonic Body Brush
If you don’t have Clarisonic, you can pick one up at Live Love Lash. They are a bit of an investment, but well worth it! As an esthetician I think the Clarisonic brush is single handedly the best investment you can make for your skin, face and body! Just remember to replace your brush heads every three months or so, just like a toothbrush. (Insider tip: Use a toothbrush on your lips if they’re dry and chapped to get the dead skin cells off the surface then apply a hydrating lip treatment. Again, this is best performed on dry lips).
You can still perform the dry brushing technique, which is my preferred technique, without a Clarisonic. Ultimately it’s more about the technique than what you use to perform it. Though the Clarisonic makes it easy and convenient, dry brushing can also be performed with a dry body brush commonly referred to as a scorpion brush. Here’s what they look like:
Dry Body Brushes
These brushes can easily be found online or at specialty body product stores. You’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing a brush that is made of natural fibers, not a synthetic material. The bristles made from synthetic materials are bluntly cut and can be too aggressive and uncomfortable.
Dry brushing at home:
If your skin is dry and dull (like mine) and you haven’t exfoliated your body in quite some time (like me) you’ll want to perform this ritual two or three times a week until optimal results are achieved. If you did not forget about your body skin over the winter and have been exfoliating regularly, one or two times a week will suffice.
Grab your brush and an extra towel to stand on while dry brushing. You won’t want to use the same towel when you’re done bathing, trust me! You’ll be using your brush on dry, bare skin. I like to stand on a towel while doing this for two reasons. One, I get to see how much dead skin I’ve knocked off. Two, I’m glad those dead skin cells are not all over my bathroom floor. Take your brush into your hand and place it directly on the skin. Now use small to medium sized circular motions, always moving towards your heart for circulatory purposes, working on one area of the body at the time. For example, I like to start at the bottom and work towards the top. I’ll do my feet, then my lower legs, then upper legs, and so on until I reach my décolletage or chest.
The décolletage skin can be thinner on women than the rest of the body, so exfoliate this area gently or with the same product or tool you would on your face. (Remember, we are only exfoliating the body with this technique. DO NOT dry brush your face, it is too aggressive!) I like to use a dry washcloth to wipe off any excess before entering the shower. Once you are finished, put the towel you’ve been standing on aside and proceed with bathing.
Exfoliating can also be performed with a granular scrub consisting of salt, sugar, coffee or fruit pits. Sugar scrubs will be gentler than a coarser salt, coffee or fruit pit scrub. These products can be found over the counter numerous places, and we sell many great quality scrubs for the face and body at Live Love Lash.
I prefer to use these products on the days I’m not dry brushing as they are messy and commonly mixed into an oil based medium which can dampen the dead skin cells we are trying to remove. This will instantly weigh the dead skin cells down and prevent them from being removed from the surface. That said, it’s not impossible to use these products on dry skin before bathing. However, they will not give you the same level of exfoliation. I say save these products for use in the shower on the days you’re not dry brushing.
Step 2: Moisturizing
Now that we’ve gotten all those dead skin cells off the surface of the skin, it’s essential to moisturize. Once exfoliation is complete, those dead skin cells have cleared the pathway for products to actually penetrate and be absorbed, opposed to applying moisturizer to skin that has not been exfoliated. Without exfoliation, dead skin cells absorb much of the moisturizer preventing it from being beneficial to our healthy living skin under the surface.
I do not need to elaborate on the endless number of options there are when it comes to choosing a moisturizer. When choosing a moisturizer for my body, I look for a product containing heavier oils such as jojoba, coconut, avocado, grape seed and glycerin. Again, the body skin is thicker than the skin on the face and cannot only withstand heavier oils, but needs them. Consult your esthetician before applying these oils to your face. They may be too heavy and cause an adverse reaction such as breakouts or excessive oiliness.
We carry a nice variety of both facial and body moisturizers at Live Love Lash. The Orange Pomegranate Body Moisturizer from Sanitas is one of my personal favorites. The best time to apply a moisturizer is immediately after bathing. Not only is it important to nourish our freshly exfoliated skin, but the warmth from the water and steam helps to dilate our pores, making them even more willing to absorb product. Also, applying moisturizer to damp skin helps the product to spread, saving us a little bit of money by using less product on a daily basis.
Sanitas Orange Pomegrante Lotion
Occasionally, if my skin is extremely dry I’ll use straight up coconut oil, which I pick up at my local natural foods grocer for about $16. When I do this, I apply the coconut oil while I’m still in the shower. The heat and moisture helps to soften the coconut oil making it easier to spread. Also, coconut oil is very heavy. Applying in the shower helps rinse some of the product off. Not to worry, plenty of the coconut oil stays on and is absorbed by the skin. Please do be careful when doing this, I strongly recommend avoiding the bottom of your feet and be mindful of your footing. Coconut oil can cause a very slippery environment, making it very easy to slip or fall.
There you have it! Show the skin you’re in some love with this simple two-step process, and it will reward you with a smooth, radiant appearance. Thanks for reading! We love receiving your questions and hearing your feedback. Stop by Live Love Lash and speak with any one of us for product recommendations.
By Ashton De Lorenzo, L.E.