This is the second part of my series on my personal skin care routine and advice, including face, body and hands and feet. In this post I will go through what I do to take care of the rest of my skin and body from the shoulders down.
If you missed my first post you can click here to read about my skincare routine and advice.
Your body is a place that gets over looked a lot of the time especially when it comes to hydrating and taking care of the skin. For some reason a lot of us have gotten into our heads that we only need to moisturise our face and everything from the neck down magically takes care of itself. The truth is it doesn’t, it is no different to the skin on your face, but because you don’t have a constant reminder such as staring at your face in a mirror or having makeup to remove, tend to forget to care for it.
The basics with body care are a lot simpler than tending to your face. There is less corrective treatments that we need to do, no makeup to remove, care is simpler and not very time consuming. As long as you hydrate, protect your skin against the sun, exfoliate and keep up general hygiene you are pretty much covered. The extras are things like, bath soaks that nourish the skin, tanning and hair removal.
Within my routine, on top of the basics which everyone should include which is to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise and protect, I find using the weekly Frank Body scrub and indulging in a milk bath soak give me the best results. The milk bath soak has a huge amount of benefits specifically design to aid eczema, boost skin suppleness and hydration, gently exfoliate and detox the body. The Frank Body scrub that I use is incredible and I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone (my sensitive skin doesn’t even react adversely!) it uses a chemical or enzyme means of exfoliation and includes several hydrating oils in the mixture which when rinsed of leave the most beautiful silky smooth feeling to the skin, I find this is amplified when used in conjunction with the milk bath soak.
As far as convenience, which I am all about, my routine is made even easier since I discovered Vaseline’s spray moisturisers range. I was sceptical at first, mainly because I was concerned that my skin would be too sensitive and react, but even with an eczema flare up I get no stinging or unwanted side effects from this product. The other great thing is how quickly it dries on the skin, so there is no transfer on to clothes or that horrible sticky feeling which a lot of my clients (myself included) would complain about and one of the top reasons people were skipping on body moisturisers (the other was effort!), so this one hits two birds with one stone.
A good body care routine should include;
- Cleanser or body wash (try to keep the product as PH balanced as possible and without exfoliating granules, these aren’t as effective as enzyme exfoliants such as Frank Body or even an exfoliating mitt).
- Exfoliant (the best skin exfoliation comes from daily gentle care, I find exfoliating mitts used with your normal cleanser do a fantastic job, and a more tougher exfoliation can be done once a week using an exfoliating product).
- Sun Care (personally I only wear sunscreen if I’m going to be out in the sun for longer than 10mins, the time it takes me to burn, this is for reasons related to my eczema which if you also suffer from will know that sun cream will cause flare ups. If I’m only spending a short amount of time in the sun I’ll tend to use a SPF30+ and avoid being in direct sun during the hottest times of the day, however when going to the beach or spending extended hours in the sun will use a waterproof SPF50+ both with UVA and UVB spectrum protection).
In the morning, I’m usually pretty busy and as I mentioned in my skincare post, stress the importance of having a routine that not only works for your skin type but is made to be as convenient and accessible as possible, to ensure that you keep up with it. My morning routine consist of; moisturiser, and deodorant and that’s it folks! Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated it just needs to be consistent to be effective.
I’m a night time shower-er, mainly for convenience, but also cause I love getting into clean sheets and keeping them that way, clean! (It’s a little like a night time routine to settle down for the night but instead of bath, stories and lullabies, it includes shower, hydration, tea and PJ’s). My night time routine consists of; shower, body wash with exfoliating mitt and moisturiser. Again really simple, but because it is simple I am able to stick to it and have smoother more supple skin because of it. I also find that if I don’t keep up with hydrating my skin my eczema tends to get out of control and then have to resort to using steroid creams (which I am not a fan of!)
So on top of the basics, the only extra things I include in my routine is a once weekly whole body exfoliation with a coffee scrub and a bath with chamomile and lavender milk bath soak. The coffee scrub I use is from frank body and it requires you to leave it on for 10mins to get the best results, it also tends to make a lot of mess so I like to do the scrub on the same day as a bath (usually the weekend when my partners home to keep an eye on the kiddy winks). Combining the two treatments helps to boost hydrating, exfoliating and detoxifying benefits. The bath soak I use is one that I make myself and is a recipe I have adapted over time to suit my skins needs, it’s incredibly beneficial for eczema skins as well as great for hydrating and detoxifying your skin helping to achieve a more supple and soft texture to the skin.
On occasion, I like to increase my skin colour from a fluorescent/translucent shade of white to something you might find on a regular Bondi beach goer (so tanned!) I did a little research to find if there was a tan that was ok to use during pregnancy and the go was that as long as it was not a spray tan that anything out of a bottle with hand application is ok for use. I picked up a bottle of Le Tan Tanning Mouse and am a complete convert. Note I have done more than my fair share of tans in my time both in the salon on clients and for myself, not to mention the endless tans I did during my competitive dancing days. I actually think you get a much nicer tan in both application, and colour (especially now that the tans are green based) than you do a spray tan. Although the tan doesn’t last as long, the fade is much more even and natural, and you can tan without any down time in-between and still have a really even and naturally looking tan.
As far as the products I am currently using, I like to keep it basic and minimal (cause let’s face it I have my busy day… and lazy days too!).
Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula
Shea Butter Body Wash 400ml
Coconut Coffee Scrub 200g
Intensive Care Spray Moisturiser Cocoa Glow 190g
Original Exfoliating Mitt
Chamomile and Lavender Milk Bath
(I will be posting this recipe in an upcoming post, so look out for it if you are interested)
Ultra Dry, Clinical Protection Anti-Perspirant Deodorant 45ml
Fast Tan Dark Bronze Instant Foaming Mousse 110ml
It really comes down to personal preference and hair type. A lot of my friends still shave and are quite happy to do so; I on the other hand prefer to wax, mainly because I have the skill set and equipment so it is really cost effective and I prefer longer lasting results. Although I am slowly going through the process of getting laser hair removal (am on pause from treatments currently cause of the pregnancy) and have loved the results, so will start up treatments once baby is out!
Consistency! Consistency is going to have the biggest impact on how your skin looks and feels. A body care routine doesn’t have to be as complicated as what you do to your face; because let’s face it an all over body serum would be incredibly pricey and impractical.
Similar to my skincare advice, I believe in a holistic approach for prevention and maintenance of the skin. The main factors for short term results are hydration and exfoliation, for long term results and benefits, lifestyle choices such as what you eat, how much water you consume, exercise and sun care are key to great skin as you age.
Hydration should again be delivered through both internal and external means. Drink plenty of water! I like to aim for 2 litres a day on average and adjust the amount depending on activity levels and my environment. Note that your environment will play a huge part in how hydrated your skin is, obviously dryer climates will tend to leave your skin less hydrated then tropical climates would, also if you are constantly in air conditioning this will leave your skin feeling dry. The best way to combat that is with moisture.
When it comes to sun protection I am a huge advocate for wearing sunblock (when necessary) and avoiding getting burnt. Note that just because you have a skin type that does not appear to burn easily, or you can achieve a beautiful ‘natural’ tan via the sun in just minutes a day, does not exempt you to the damage that is taking place on a deeper level (damage that will become more evident as you age). It all comes down to how the melanin in your skin reacts to sun exposure, a tan is the body’s defence mechanism designed to protect the skin from the harsh rays of the sun. the impact tanning via the sun has on your skin is the same as the face, in excess it is going to result in premature ageing, sagging, wrinkles, sunspots, pigmentation, and the big one, skin cancer (a massive concern in Australia). So enjoy your sun, just be mindful when doing so.
I also highly recommend exercise in a good body care routine, aside from the obvious effects it has on your figure and overall health, there are add on benefits you may not realise that will help you to achieve great looking skin. Cardiovascular exercise is extremely beneficial in aiding circulation and lymphatic drainage, helping to improve skin tone and texture as seen in a healthier glow and a reduction of cellulite. Another really beneficial exercise to do is tai chi or yoga, which strengthens not only the muscles but the connective tissues and ligaments that help to hold the skin taut to the body and minimise the appearance of sagging. (Tracey Anderson has a great exercise program that includes both cardiovascular exercises and movements that target the smaller muscle groups and ligaments).