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A Guide To Whole Body Skin Care

Posted by Ashley Greer

The skin is the largest organ in the body, and does much more than simply act as a protective barrier between our bodies and the outside world. The skin is central to our body's temperature regulation systems, home to most of our nerve endings that transmit sensation, synthesizes vitamin D, and is our body's reserve for water and lipids. The whole body is covered with skin, and it's crucial to our survival, so why is so much of skin care focused only on the face?

In fact, there are different types of skin all over the body, and they are each exposed to different environments and stresses. It's time to celebrate all of our skin by paying attention to the skincare needs of parts of the body besides the face.

Skin care for hands: Our hands get arguably more sun exposure than any part of our body, and are exposed to nearly every day-to-day friction, abrasion, harsh weather, and rough work. There's a good reason that they show the signs of early aging more than nearly any other part of the body, and are the most difficult to pamper. We frequently need to wash our hands, or use our hands to wash other things, which not only exposes them to uncomfortable temperatures and skin-drying soaps, but also removes any moisturizer or sunscreen we may have used to protect them. Care for your hands by washing them in lukewarm water with a gentle, moisturizing cleanser or body wash. Use a sunscreen on your hands and arms, and re-apply it throughout the day. Twice daily, or as needed, apply a rich protective moisturizer to help heal and protect your hands from all they endure every day.

Skin care for feet: Feet are too often neglected, especially in winter months when they may be exposed to cold temperatures or damp socks for long periods of time. Taking care of your feet isn't only a habit for women who wear sandals in the summertime; good skin care for your feet can prevent unpleasant odor, fungal infections, ingrown toenails, and a host of other problems that can cause pain and even impair your health. Take care of the skin on your feet by washing in warm, soapy water, and then drying them thoroughly. Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently remove hard skin and calluses. Moisturize your feet all over, except for between the toes. Regularly cut your toenails straight across (never at an angle or curve). Wear clean, dry socks, and change them when they get wet. Choose shoes with natural, breathable materials, to avoid trapping heat and moisture inside.

Skin care for your back: You may not always be able to see it, but the skin of the back can be prone to acne and other problems. And the back may not always be top of mind when it comes to exfoliating or applying sunscreen, although it needs it just as much as the rest of your body. Look after your back by remembering to wash your back clean in the shower after rinsing away all your hair products: residue from hair conditioners and treatments can clog pores in the back. Gently exfoliate your back twice a week, and always wear sun protection when the skin of the back is exposed.

Skin care for your neck and chest: The skin of the neck and upper chest are also areas that show early and hard-to-fight signs of aging. And the neck starts to sag and give in to gravity in advance of the rest of the face. The secret to skin care for the neck and chest is to use the exact same products and regimen you would use on your face, and treat the skin the same way. Use gentle cleansers, thorough sun protection, and frequent moisturizer with the same products you use on your face.

Celebrate all your skin and glow all over by taking a whole-body approach to skin care.

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