Monday, January 1, 2018

BODY: Moisturizing & Hydration

Keeping the skin on your body soft and smooth comes from both exfoliation and moisturizing. If you exfoliate without moisturizing afterward, your skin won’t feel hydrated and may look dry. If you moisturize without exfoliating, you are applying cream over dead cell buildup, lessening the effectiveness of any cream.

There are many different ways to get rid of dead cells on your body, clearing the way for hydration. At the bottom of this article is a link to another post about the different ways you can exfoliate your body (BODY: The many ways to exfoliate). Be sure to read up and incorporate both exfoliating and moisturizing into your daily body care routine.

After exfoliating, the next step in keeping dry, flaky skin from taking over your body is moisturizing. And like I mentioned with scrubs, I use inexpensive lotions on my body as well. Why? Mainly because the area I’m covering is large (compared to my face and neck), so I’ll go through a lot of the product. Plus, the skin on the body is very different than that on the face, and therefore the quality of ingredients (which greatly affects the price) isn’t as important. You certainly can use expensive products, but I find the less expensive brands do a good job when it comes to moisturizing the skin on your body.

The key to keeping dry skin away is to use moisturizer daily after every bath or shower. Remember, tap water is filled with high levels of chlorine; chlorine is extremely drying to the skin (and hair too). In order to combat the drying effects of this chemical, you’ll want to moisturize your skin. This essential step is an easy habit to get into. Once you start remembering to use body cream or oil, your skin will get used to feeling moisturized and you won’t forget to cover it with products.

Body lotions and body oils. Body lotions or creams (I use these two terms interchangeably) are the most common way to keep the skin on your entire body well hydrated. I recommend using a different type of moisturizer for different climates and seasons of the year. In the summer or if you live in a continually warm climate, moisturizing lotions or creams are best. Lotions are usually light in texture and add just enough moisture to the skin without feeling heavy.

In the winter or in cold, drier climates I recommend using body oils. They will be a lot more hydrating, and in cold or dry climates this added layer of oil will most likely be needed. You can use body oils in the summer and creams in the winter, but I find creams aren’t hydrating enough in cold weather, and oils are too heavy in hot weather. Another suggestion is to combine a lotion or cream with an oil and smooth this mixture all over your body. If one alone doesn’t feel right, experiment and come up with what works best for you.

Sometimes you’re told to apply body products on semi-wet skin. The theory is that lotion will lock in any water left on the surface of your skin. However, I find this technique thins out the moisturizer, making it less hydrating. I prefer to towel off completely and apply cream over my dry skin. I do find using body oil on my damp skin is helpful. The oil is thick, and the water droplets help to spread the oil evenly over my skin.

Bath oils. These products are another way to help keep your skin moisturized. After soaking in a tub where you’ve added bath oil, your skin will feel very smooth and well hydrated. They are usually aromatic delights as well—more incense for your home. Simply pour some of the product in your bath water, climb in the tub, and your skin will soak up the oil. As long as they don’t cause irritation due to ingredients that your skin can’t tolerate, bath oils are a good way to lubricate rough, dry skin.

When using bath oils, there are a few things to keep in mind:
  • First and most important, the oil will make the porcelain slippery, so be very careful when you’re getting in and out of the tub. 
  • Then when the water drains out, since some of the oil will be left behind, wipe off any existing oil so an accident doesn’t occur. 
  • Also, any leftover oil will cause an oily bathtub ring. 
  • Because oil floats on the surface of water, you’ll need to splash the parts of your body that aren’t submerged in the bath water. This will ensure that your entire body receives the benefits of the hydrating oil.

Humidifiers. A humidifier helps keep dehydrated and dry skin away. Sleeping with a humidifier lets water vapor permeate the air for as long as you are sleeping. It’s a painless way to get moisture in the air, which will have a positive effect on your skin—all over. You can find these machines just about anywhere: Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and big box stores, too.

Moisturizing your body doesn’t take much time, it’s simply a matter of incorporating this step into your daily routine. Once you see the results, the few extra minutes you spend taking care of your body will be time well spent.

Quick Tip:

If you don’t have any bath oil, you can use a body oil in the tub instead. Just pour a small amount into the bath (a little goes a long way), hop in, and soak it up. You can also use baby oil or even an oil from your kitchen.

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