How To Use The Shower To Keep Your Skin Beautiful

Too often our body skin sees us spending so much time and care on our face skin and thinks, “WTF!” Skin is skin and we should be caring for our body skin just as much as our face skin.

At the end of the day, our skin is our largest organ, and it has a huge job of keeping us alive through its hard-to-penetrate exterior. And for those that keep saying our skin is like a sponge – the opposite is true. After all, if our skin were truly a sponge, you would ultimately be dead. Our skin’s key role is keeping stuff OUT.

So am I proposing that you use all of your face skincare products on your body? Absolutely not. That would be way too expensive and unsustainable for most of us that aren’t millionaires. However, I do propose you create a daily and weekly regimen for your body skin just like you do for your face skin.


So how should you go about this?

#1: Firstly, your face skincare routine should include your neck and chest. You’ll thank me in 20 years.

#2: Remember that moisturizing your body skin is mandatory, not optional. A healthy skin barrier is all about keeping vital lipids and natural moisture in the skin. And every time we wash and cleanse, we are essentially disrupting that moisture barrier a bit – especially for those of us that shower 2-3x per day. The best way to take care of your body skin is to always moisturize after bathing – and to also use soap or cleanser sparingly, and in more needed areas vs. extremities that don’t need a deep cleanse.

#3: Shoot for exfoliating only 1-2x per week. As per my tip #2 above, anytime we strip our natural lipid barrier, we impose a drying effect on the skin. So cleansing and exfoliating should be done strategically for clean and smooth, yet still hydrated skin. I recommend using a gentle shower scrub (I love anything from Dove or Aveeno made with additional hydrators) one or two times per week only since more than that might really dry out the skin or cause sensitivity. And remember, shaving is also a form of exfoliation.*

*Pro tip: Exfoliate before you shave your legs for a super smooth effect.

#4: Lean into corrective skincare ingredients to address body skin concerns. Even though it may not be sustainable to use your entire skincare routine on your body, there are a few ingredients and products that are marketed for face skin, but can effectively be used to address body skin conditions like back-ne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, ingrown hairs, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation, sensitivity, etc. Here are my tips for addressing a few of these body skin conditions:

● Back-ne: To reduce back skin blemishes, I recommend using a 2% salicylic acid cleanser and/or exfoliator on the area 1-2x per day and finish with a salicylic acid moisturizer.
● Eczema: Avoid hot water and excessive cleansing/bathing. Use a colloidal oat-based cleanser like Aveeno and try not to bathe more than once per day. Apply a heavy, petrolatum-based moisturizer like Aquaphor to keep essential moisture in the skin afterward.
● Keratosis Pilaris: This “chicken skin” condition is typically experienced on the back of arms and legs or even on the buttocks. To smooth the skin, I recommend using a gentle body scrub on the area 2x per week and finishing with a light moisturizer. You can even add a bit of your favorite retinoid on top to keep things smooth over time.
● Ingrown hairs: The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is to keep up with consistent exfoliation (2x per week) and ensure you’re shaving in the right direction – with the hair. You can also use a 2% salicylic acid moisturizer on the area to keep the skin smooth and clean.
● Stretch marks: Stretch marks are essentially scars where collagen has been damaged. The best way to treat stretch marks is to keep the area exfoliated and moisturized and to use your facial retinoid on the area 3x per week. Any products that contain vitamins A, C, and E are also helpful in rebuilding that collagen, too.
● Hyperpigmentation: I would recommend using a 10% AHA cleanser on any area that you want to lighten and brighten (for all skin tones). You can also use your retinoid as well. Otherwise, the typical moisturizer and exfoliate works well, too.
● Sensitivity: For more reactive or sensitive skin, I recommend a similar strategy to my eczema-sufferers. Try to limit bathing and use a gentle cleanser like Dove or Aveeno, along with a thick, nourishing moisturizer like Aquaphor, Dove, Lubriderm, etc.

#5: And DO NOT SKIP SPF! Any area of the skin that is exposed to UV rays during the day should have broad-spectrum, SPF 30+ sunscreen applied to them. No excuses.


Other things to consider:

● The harder the water, the more drying it can be to the skin. I recommend soft water for more hydrated, radiant skin.
● Hot water is extremely drying and often damaging.. Try your hardest to take a warm shower to save your skin.
● Per the last consideration, don’t wash your face in the shower unless it’s lukewarm.
● Apply your moisturizer on damp skin, it will work better.
● Never let the water evaporate from the skin. This will pull more water out of the skin and leave your body skin dry. Always towel off, and apply moisturizer right away.
● Dry brushing can be a great way to exfoliate the body skin, while also increasing blood circulation which increases hydration in the skin naturally. It is also a great lymph drainage tool.
● Many of us need an easy-to-apply moisturizer for our body or we won’t use it. I always tell my clients to learn what kind of applicator is easiest to apply – a pump, a jar, a tube, or even a spray. Learn what you’ll actually use and lean into it. Because the best moisturizer is the one you use!

About The Author

Emily Trampetti,LE is a licensed master esthetician.