What’s the point in working out to keep your body toned if your muscles are covered in skin that’s crepey (that’s crepe-y, not creepy) and wrinkled?
Yep, it’s just as important to take care of the skin below your neck as it is your face. “I frequently see thirty-something women with premature signs of ageing on their body skin, especially on the chest and legs,” says dermatologic surgeon Dr Dennis Gross. “Often, it’s because they’ve focused their skincare efforts on their face and haven’t been as vigilant from the neck down.”
Say no to a dried-up dermis – time to age-proof your entire body with these tips.
Treatment tricks Chest skin is nearly as fragile as face skin, so you have to treat it accordingly. Rub a light exfoliating pad containing alpha and beta hydroxy acids over the entire area twice a week to help promote cell regeneration, reduce lines and boost suppleness. Try Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, from MD Skincare by Dr Gross, $95 for a 30-day supply. Before bed, slather on a peptide-rich moisturiser to help hydrate your skin while you sleep. Try Pevonia Botanica Tropical De-Aging Body Balm, $100.
Prevent future damage Yeah, we’re going to say it again: “Wear sunscreen with SPF 50+ every day on exposed body parts, even if you’re not planning on spending a lot of time outside,” insists Dr Gross. “Research shows that premature ageing comes from incidental exposure while we’re out shopping or grabbing lunch.” Choose one with antioxidants to fight free-radical damage, like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Mist SPF 50+, $16.95.
Treatment tricks Something painful we all know, deep-down: “There’s no cure for cellulite,” says Dr Gross, “but keeping the area hydrated will improve tone.”
If you’re cashed up, try a body cream that contains hyaluronic acid or caffeine. Hyaluronic acid seals in moisture, making the skin temporarily appear firmer, and caffeine is a circulation booster that can help improve the appearance of cellulite.
A couple to try: Clarins High Definition Body Lift, $66.95, which contains hyaluronic acid; or Thalgo Thalgomince Cream LC24, $85, which has caffeine and Par-Elastyl as its active ingredients.
To remove spider veins, ask a dermatologist about sclerotherapy, when a solution is injected to permanently dissolve capillaries.
Prevent future damage In addition to slathering on an SPF 50+ sunscreen, moisturise daily with a product that’s infused with vitamin K, a known bruise and vein minimiser, such as Skin Doctors Capillary Clear, $39.95. “[Vitamin K] can also prevent leakage from blood vessels, which has been known to lead to dark pigmentation spots,” says Dr Gross.
However, as this is an uncommon ingredient in many products, you can also apply a topical treatment that will help boost weakened capillaries, and decongest the area to diminish inflammation. Try Skeyndor Cooling Body Gel, $48.80.
Treatment tricks Got sun spots? Smooth on a retinol-laced cream such as RoC Multi-Action Anti-Age Moisturiser, $69, every day. And read ingredients lists: “Avoid lotions with hydroquinone – they don’t penetrate deeply enough to have a noticeable effect,” says dermatologist Dr Francesca Fusco.
If puffy hand veins bother you, Dr Fusco suggests taking a 250mg supplement of horse chestnut seed extract twice a day. Studies have shown it can boost circulation and strengthen capillaries as well as minimising bulging veins.
Prevent future damage “Hands get dry because they have fewer oil glands than the rest of the body to help keep them hydrated,” says Dr Fusco. So choose a gentle cleanser that won’t strip moisture, like Palmolive Milk & Honey liquid handwash, $2.99, and rinse with tepid water (hot water will cause drying).
Once a week, give your hands a treat: massage with a gentle exfoliator (try Essential Kit Body Scrub, $34.95), rinse, then smooth on a deeply hydrating, vitamin-infused moisturiser like Clinique Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream, $32. Finally, pop on some cotton gloves to trap in the moisture. Try The Body Shop Organic Cotton Moisture Gloves, $15.95).
Treatment tricks In the shower, gently rub a foot file all over the bottoms of your feet to slough away dead cells and encourage turnover. Try Eco TOOLS Bamboo Foot File, $6.95. At night, massage soles with a hydrating cream like Sally Hansen Salon Hydrating Foot Creme, $16.95.
Toenails an unattractive yellow? Manicurist Jin Soon Choi advises taking time off from your favourite dark polish. She also recommends bleaching with a homemade paste. “Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into a teaspoon of baking powder, and rub the paste onto the nails with a cotton pad,” says Choi. “Rinse, then buff for a natural finish.”
To rid nails of discoloration caused by a fungal infection, see a doctor, who can give you a topical treatment.
Corns can be reduced with the help of a foot file. Use it in the shower to rub off the top layer of hard skin, then apply a foot cream. Wearing roomy shoes can help too, says podiatrist Dr Carolyn McAloon. Wide shoes can also prevent hammertoes and bunions from getting worse, but if yours are truly unsightly or very painful, you may want to consider surgery to correct them.
Prevent future damage Choi advises doing one foot treatment a day. “I tell my clients to hydrate their cuticles on Monday, smooth calluses on Tuesday, exfoliate on Wednesday, and then repeat for the rest of the week,” she says. High maintenance, sure, but worth it come thong season. Alternate between heels and flats to avoid placing too much pressure on the balls of your feet, and don’t buy tight shoes – even if they’re sexy and on sale. “The wrong size can cause a world of damage,” says Dr McAloon. Agree.