People often ignore their body skin all winter (and their bodies too, but that’s another workout/nutrition story). As a result, when springtime short-sleeve tops and breezy skirts start to emerge, many people wish they could put their limbs back in hiding. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case. Many treatment serums and moisturizers that work well on the face are also excellent treatments for the body. Keep the following advice in mind:
Apply Antioxidant Serum to Exposed Areas, Like Neck, Chest, and Hands
Antioxidant serums are vital for different reasons in the summer and winter. In the warmer spring and summer months, there is more sun exposure, which means that use of a 15% or greater vitamin C and 2% vitamin E serum can help to boost your sun protection when used under a sunscreen (Acta Dermato-Venereologica). In the winter months, the decreased temperature causes the skin to naturally produce less sebum and oil. Within these oils are some beneficial ingredients, including vitamin E, which helps slightly to protect against UVB damage (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology). So, this means you’re not producing as much protective vitamin E in cooler months, and should supplement it topically. I recommend applying a topical vitamin CE serum, such as our FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2 or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, as well as a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen of at least SPF 30 each and every day, on all areas that are regularly exposed to the sun, such as the neck, decolletage, and the tops of the hands. (After I apply FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2 to my face, neck, and decolletage daily, I rub the excess on the backs of my hands!)
Use Retinol for Sun-Exposed Areas
Take a look at your body in the mirror and you’ll see: Different parts of the body require different levels of exfoliation. Some places are patchier and scaled over heavily with skin; others are smooth, but darker than the rest of the skin. And that’s if you don’t have conditions like psoriasis, eczema, or vitiligo, which are another matter altogether! The vast majority of the signs of aging are the result of sun damage. Studies show that windows also let in 62.8% of long-wavelength UVA rays [read more], which are aging. So you want to treat the parts of the face and body that are exposed to daylight regularly with the most aggressive agents. The best anti-aging ingredients are retinoids and sunscreen, followed by antioxidants, niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3), and possibly peptides. I recommend using a concentrated retinoid on the face, neck, decolletage, hands, and tops of the feet. If you experience dryness, apply a quality niacinamide moisturizer over top. I personally use FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5, followed by Olay Regenerist, every night, and FutureDerm Vitamin CE Silk Serum 16+2, followed by Vanicream SPF 50, every morning.
For Dark Patches, Use Glycolic Acid
For the parts of the body that are not exposed, I treat darker and more resistant patches of skin (think knees, elbows, legs) with a retinol or glycolic acid-based treatment. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads are great for that. I then follow with a healthy application of either LacHydrin (if skin is dry), or Glytone Retexturize Body Lotion SPF 15 with 17.5% Glycolic Acid (if skin is normal to oily).
Use Lactic Acid All Over the Body, and Apply Sunscreen on Exposed Areas
Those with slightly more to more resistant skin can benefit from use of the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) lactic acid. Like other alpha hydroxy acids, lactic acid is able to refine the skin by increasing cellular turnover. (It’s cousin, the AHA glycolic acid, is the active ingredient in most chemical peels. However, unlike glycolic acid, lactic acid does not thin the skin, even at higher concentrations). What’s more, most acidic ingredients are drying for the skin, particularly when they are used in high concentrations. But this is not the case with lactic acid, which is so hydrating, it is prescribed in concentrations of 12% for treatment of dry skin as AmLactin! Lactic acid in concentrations of 5-10% are regularly sold over the counter in products I love like AmLactin and LacHydrin Five.
Apply Lotion While Your Skin is Still Wet
For best results, apply your body moisturizer, like LacHydrin, while your skin is still wet. On the other hand, I recommend using treatment serums like retinoid, glycolic acid, and antioxidant serums on completely dry skin.
For your best body skin ever, treat your sun-exposed regions of your body just like your face, applying antioxidant serum under a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen by day, and a concentrated retinoid at night. For dark patches, such as on the knees and elbows, apply a concentrated glycolic acid treatment. No matter what, all over the body (except where other treatments were applied), apply a thin layer of LacHydrin Five when getting out of the shower.