By Maren Stratte and Elizabeth G Stratte, MD
Body Skincare is often times neglected in favor of facial skincare. To maintain skin health and appearance, it is vital to address body skincare with the same enthusiasm that we address facial skincare! Below are the most common questions and answers to body care!
Chemical vs Physical exfoliation
Exfoliation removes the outermost layers of the epidermis to reveal the newer skin beneath. Regular exfoliation is key to a glowing complexion.
While there are two different types of exfoliants — physical and chemical — the latter is especially ideal for those with sensitive skin since they are less abrasive than the former. Chemical exfoliants can penetrate deeper into the skin and work by breaking apart the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are two of the most common types of chemical exfoliants. These ingredients gently exfoliate the buildup of dead skin cells and reveal softer, more hydrated skin without damaging the skin. Fruit enzymes like papaya and pineapple are another type of chemical exfoliant and are great for sensitive skin since they gently slough. Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) are also ideal for those with sensitive skin, and PHAs have humectant properties, they are able to draw in moisture and minimize dryness.
Physical exfoliation accomplishes the same results, with ingredients such as sugar, salt, grains, shells, and even baking soda have been used for centuries to lighten, tighten, and smooth the skin making it more radiant.
How often should I shower?
The main reason that we shower is to wash away sweat and dead skin cells, remove dirt and debris, and prevent things like body odor. All of this is based on your natural tendencies towards oiliness, sweating, and B.O., as well as your daily activity and environment. So, naturally, the “right” showering frequency varies from person to person. But you can get too much of a good thing, and excessive bathing can dry out the skin. Showering twice each day consistently can be harmful to the skin, but having said that, many people don’t need to shower every day, either.
What should I look for in a body wash?
Body wash is definitely a better option than soap as it is gentler to the skin and is packed with necessary ingredients that is needed by the skin.
A key factor to decide the ingredients is the various skin types. It is generally observed that the ingredients in each product differs as per different skin types. For instance, the ingredients for oily skin are always different than the ones meant for dry skin. However, there are a few ingredients that are present in all products meant for any skin type. These ‘basic’ ingredients are normally the same and are hardly replaced for any reason.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
Alpha hydroxy acid is mostly used as a main body wash ingredient and is also recommended by many dermatologists and skin care specialists because of its benefits. The AHAs helps the body to get rid of dead skin cells that gives the skin a sort of rough and dull texture. This ingredient makes the skin smoother, removes dry parches, dark spots, and reduces wrinkles, as well. This is the reason, why it is used in almost all the products for a great complexion and production of new skin cells.
Salicylic Acid (BHA)
Salicylic acid is also known as Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). It is obtained from the good old willow tree and is a powerful body wash ingredient. This ingredient is very useful for skin care, getting rid of acne, dead skin cells, infected ingrown hair, signs of aging, and dandruff as well. Salicylic acid has exfoliating, moisturizing, antibacterial, and penetrating properties to cleanse the deepest pores of the skin, making it clean and grime-free.
Glycerin is a colorless and odorless liquid that has many skin care benefits and hence is used in almost all beauty products on the chart. It has soothing, exfoliating, and healing properties.
The list of natural ingredients is endless and really tiresome. There are just thousands of herbs and natural skin care products like plant extracts, which include eucalyptus, aloe vera, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, allantoin, honey, almond extract, lemon extracts, and hundreds of such herbal ingredients which are used as significant body wash ingredients. Each of these ingredients have their own effect on the skin.
Along with the above mentioned basic ingredients, there are a few other ingredients in a body wash that are present in more or less quantity. These ingredients include, acqua purificata (purified water), decyl poliglucose, ammonium laureth sulfate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, cocamidopropyl betaine, glycolic acid, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, triethanolamine, methylparaben, propylparaben, urea, phenoxyethanol, triclosan, polysorbate 20, etc. They help various skin types in different ways so that the skin is better looking, soft, and supple.
What are the best foods for healthy skin?
Remember, many of the best foods for healthy skin also promote good health overall. Rather than focusing on specific foods for healthy skin, concentrate on a healthy diet in general. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Include nuts, seeds and beans in your favorite meals. Opt for whole-grain breads and pasta. Limit sweets. Strive for variety as you're making healthy choices. And avoid restrictive diets and excessive weight loss which can affect the skin and thin the hair.
Still, antioxidant-rich foods seem to have a protective effect for the skin.
Consider these skin-friendly foods:
- Carrots, apricots, and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables
- Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
- Beans, peas and lentils
- Salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish