Body Care 101
For as long as you can remember, you’ve been washing your face and moisturizing, using wrinkle cream and getting pedicures. You’ve known for years how to take care of your décolletage and how to maximize the volume level of your hair. But for some reason you’re still having trouble keeping your body skin glowy and hydrated. Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. Your skin is a complicated being and your body’s biggest and heaviest organ. There’s a lot that goes into keeping it healthy besides just using the right body wash and lotion. Let’s take a closer look at what makes your skin so important and how to give it everything it needs so it can keep doing its job.
Getting to Know Your Skin
Those protective layers on the outside of your body is the organ we’re the most familiar with. We see and touch our skin and the skin of others each day. Though it’s a part of our day to day life, we don’t really give its complex structure much thought. Your skin actually provides a wide range of functions for your body. Your skin is thick and acts as a barrier to keep out germs and toxic substances. It also works to block moisture, extreme cold and UV rays from harming your important internal organs and structures. But that’s not all for this super power; it also regulates your body temperature, monitors dehydration levels and acts as a warning system when things are too hot or too cold to touch. Your skin also stores fat and water to keep you warm or cool you. It also increases blood flow to help heal injuries and cuts. Pretty important stuff, huh?
Your skin is made up of three layers—the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis (or subcutis). The epidermis is the outermost layer and is made up of the keratinocytes (dead skin cells) that are stuck together and ready to be shed every four to six weeks. Three very important cells call the epidermis home. The melanocytes which help create melanin and protect your body from UV rays are here. The lymphocytes live here and help trap germs and take them to the lymph nodes, as well as, the merkel cells that allow your body to feel the sensations like pressure or if things are too hot or too cold to touch. The next layer, the dermis, stores the collagen that makes skin stretchy. (If you’re pregnant and get stretch marks, it’s because of a tear in the dermis layer of your skin!) This layer also contains nerve fibers, capillaries and sweat glands. The final layer deep beneath the surface is the subcutis. This layer of skin contains hair roots, sweat glands and important connective tissue that helps store fat and water. Many hormones are produced here, including vitamin D.
Shining from Within
So now that you know the many important roles your skin plays in your everyday life, you can start preparing to take care of your body skin with a whole new outlook. Since your skin is an organ, you want to take care of it from the inside out. Getting a few healthy doses of fresh fruits and veggies can go a long way when it comes to skin benefits. The vitamins help give your radiance a big boost. You’ll also want to try to get a healthy dose of Omega 3 fatty acids, like those found in fish or avocados. These Omega 3s help with muscle development and cell growth. When thinking about what to fuel your body with to encourage healthy skin, you also want to think about what you should limit. Caffeine, even though it’s used in certain beauty products, is actually a diuretic when it’s consumed and can cause your skin to become dehydrated. Salt can also have a negative effect and cause your skin to get puffy and also dehydrated. The most important element to add to your beauty regimen is to make sure to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water each day. Staying hydrated helps your skin cells turnover and allows your skin to retain its elasticity. Exercise also keeps your joints healthy and your skin toned and tightened.
Caring for the Skin On Your Body
In addition to making healthy choices with your diet and exercise, there are many beauty products available to help ensure the skin on your body is as well cared for as the skin on your face. The key to treating your skin well is to look for products that are formulated for your specific skin type.
Exfoliate. You know you should exfoliate your face but did you know you should also exfoliate your entire body? Doing so removes the dead skin cells that can get stuck in your pores and lead to breakouts. Exfoliating also helps reveal fresher, brighter skin. A good body scrub consists of a balance between scrubbing agents and moisturizing elements.
Cleansers for you. You want to look for a cleanser that is specifically formulated to clean your body type. If you have spots or melasma, you’ll want a skin brightening formula like an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser. If you have dry skin, you’ll want a cleanser that moisturizes the skin.
Treat Acne Prone Skin. Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid Body Wash Treatments work great for body acne that appears on the skin. Most of the time, bacne or chest acne will appear after beauty products (like a low-quality shampoo or your hairspray) wash down over your back and leave behind a residue. Cleansing well with a good quality treatment can help banish these blemishes.
Moisturize. A good lotion should be applied post shower or before bed to help lock in moisture and smooth dry skin.
Remove Unwanted Hair. Getting rid of hair in unwanted places is a treatment that’s been on the rise in recent years. With waxing a warm creamy wax is applied and then strips are Waxing is still widely used but some have decided to switch to more permanent solutions that are more cost-effective. A more permanent hair removal option is a laser treatment which uses a targeted laser light to burn the hair follicle without burning the skin. After a few treatments, laser hair therapy is usually a permanent option.
Add a faux glow. Nothing can harm your skin faster than time spent out in the sun sans SPF. Make sure you cover your entire body in an SPF of 30 or higher when you are going to be outside. And don’t forget to reapply. If you are going to be swimming or playing sports outside, reapply accordingly. If you must bronze your skin, go for a faux glow.
Body Rejuvenation Treatments. At today’s spas, there are body rejuvenation treatments available where you are wrapped in everything from a bag to seaweed. Mineral baths and detox treatments are common. Mud baths are also a fun and relaxing way to treat your skin. All of the above promise to boast big benefits including removal of dead skin cells, moisturization, a reduction in cellulite and the removal of toxins.
Cellulite and Stretch Marks. If your cellulite drives you crazy, you’re not alone. It’s one of the biggest complaints, especially after childbirth or after gaining weight. Caffeine creams can help but thankfully, there are procedures that can help get rid of these bothersome crevices. If skincare creams and exercise don’t make a difference, you can opt for one of the following procedures.
- Wave Therapy-High energy shockwaves are sent through the skin that break up the dimples and fat pockets.
- Cryolipolysis-A non-invasive procedure that essentially freezes fat cells and destroys them.
- Cellulaze-A small tube containing a laser is inserted into the skin and when it heats up, it targets the pockets of fat.
- Mesotherapy-Injections full of enzymes, amino acids and minerals are placed under the skin to help break down the fat. There are side effects like inflammation, swelling and infection, however.
Your skin is a beautiful and important part of your body. You can thank this incredible organ for providing protection for your body and for providing the sensations you get from the power of the human touch. Taking care of your skin should be a thoughtful and ongoing process. Remember to stay hydrated, eat a beautiful blend of healthy fruits and vegetables, always wear SPF and choose beauty products that are formulated to help your skin stay young and rejuvenated.