How to Maximise Your Body Wash Routine, According to Experts
How to Maximise Your Body Wash Routine, According to Experts

How to Maximise Your Body Wash Routine, According to Experts

8 minutes read

Not all body wash routines are equal. While hopping into the shower, lathering your body wash, and rinsing it off may get the job done, it might take more planning to achieve the glowing skin of your dreams and a truly rejuvenating sensory experience.  

The truth is – it’s all in the technique, tools, topical products and body wash method you use daily that will go a long way towards improving your skin’s health.   

Beauty Daily spoke to three skincare experts for their tips on making the most of your body wash routine: from the ideal shower water temperature and the best body wash products, to the best bathing and shower accessories to use.  

woman exfoliating her body in the shower

What are the benefits of a body wash?

The primary function of a body wash is to purge your skin of all kinds of impurities, including excess oil, dirt, pollution, unwanted dead skin cells, and sweat. However, it is more than just a body cleanser; body washes can shift your mood and nurture and nourish your skin, too.  

5 Dermatologist-approved tips to choose the best body wash method and routine for you

1. Choose the best body wash for you

Body wash may be the most underrated skincare item in our daily regimens. We spend most of our time perfecting our face care routine without even considering the serious signs of skin ageing – such as wrinkling, sagging, dullness, and discolouration – happening below the neck.  

It also doesn’t help that the market is filled with many body washes containing skin-stripping ingredients that kill all bacteria (even the good kind) and natural oils, resulting in our skin feeling dry and tight.

Experts recommend thoroughly checking the labels and steering clear of bad ingredients while clinging to the good ones.  For example: “You want to look for ingredients like glycerin and ceramides that can cleanse and moisturise your skin. You want to avoid cocoamidylpropyl betaine, sodium lauryl, and laureth sulfate as these are surfactants that strip all of the oils from your skin,” says Dr Lal. He adds: “If you use a gentle cleanser, you can use it on both body and face. 

Another important thing to consider is to understand what your skin needs.  

Does your skin lack moisture and look dull or crepey? Do you suffer from skin conditions like body acne or keratosis pilaris? Identify your skin concerns and address them by picking the right body wash 

If you have body acne, opt for an anti-blemish body wash

People who suffer from blemishes on their body can benefit from an acne body wash. Look for body wash with ingredients such as tea tree oil, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid – these three are known for their blemish-busting abilities.  

1. Glycolic acid is known for its exfoliating power. It effectively keeps body acne at bay by shedding dead skin cells that often clog pores and trigger breakouts. An exfoliating body wash can also be effective at treating dull skin.  

2. Tea tree extract has purifying and anti-bacterial properties that are proven to reduce acne swelling and prevent future breakouts. A tea tree body wash will also provide an uplifting and rejuvenating scent, making it ideal for anyone that wants a quick boost of freshness at the start of their day. 

3. Salicylic acid can penetrate through oil. Salicylic acid body wash will also tighten pores and removes any excess sebum, reducing its production.        

“Using an antibacterial body wash containing AHA [like glycolic acid] on the arms and legs half an hour before showering can help exfoliate, soften and smooth your skin. Do this twice a week and follow up with a deeply nourishing body moisturiser,” Dr Paris Acharya, a London-based aesthetic doctor, recommends.  

If you have keratosis pilaris, try a cellular renewal body serum    

Does your skin ever have a chicken-like appearance? Those tiny, bumpy spots that resemble permanent goosebumps on your arms or legs? They’re called keratosis pilaris – and according to studies, we are all prone to getting them at some point. In fact, the British Skin Foundation reports that up to 40% of adults consistently suffer from the condition. 

But while it might sound serious, it’s actually just a harmless condition which is caused by accumulated dead skin getting trapped in hair follicles. However, it can be itchy if not treated, leaving your skin irritated and inflamed – and it can make the skin’s surface rough to touch.

Unfortunately, there’s no permanent fix for preventing keratosis pilaris, but you can keep it under control by using a body serum that targets cellular renewal, like the Renew-Plus Body Serum, £44.   

body serum for keratosis pilaris

Clarins Training Manager Charlotte McHale says this body serum is specially formulated almost exclusively to treat bumpy, rough skin. “It is a very lightweight serum easily absorbed into the skin. In addition, it has a gentle biological exfoliator built into it that helps with skin renewal,” she says. “Use it on the affected areas every day. If you want to see results, consistency is key. Don’t skip a day.”  

Apart from keeping keratosis pilaris at bay, the Renew-Plus Body Serum also helps to soften lines. This is thanks to its star ingredient water lily extract, that smooths away roughness and leaves skin soft, supple and radiant.  

Exfoliating Body Scrub

It also helps to make sure you’re regularly exfoliating. This will help eliminate dry skin cells lingering on the surface of the skin – the kind that cause keratosis pilaris in the first place. Invest in an Exfoliating Body Scrub, £32, and use it twice a week before slathering on some body serum.  

And dont forget to rid your feet of dry, thickened skin, too. Apply a foot scrub weekly, followed by a good layer of moisturiser to keep them feeling smooth and supple.

If you want to have firmer-looking skin, try a body-toning shower concentrate    

If you are working on toning and tightening your skin, the Tonic Bath & Shower Concentrate, £23, can help. This body cleanser is formulated with hardworking essential oils of rosemary, geranium and mint, which help to firm, tone, and improve elasticity. In addition, you also get aromatherapy benefits from boosting your energy, improving concentration, and uplifting your overall mood. First, massage the product onto the skin as you inhale the aromatic benefits of the steam. Then, in the shower, apply using a sponge. 

EDITOR’S TIP: Lather the body wash in your hands with warm water, place your hands cupped near the face and do some inhalation and breath work. Try to do this for at least 30 seconds – deep breathing in and out slowly to a count of four seconds in, and then exhale slowly until all the air has been expelled from your lungs. 

McHale says: “A 50p-sized amount of the shower concentrate lathered into the hands or a soft sponge or cloth should be sufficient for the whole body. It should last about a month with daily use.”    

How long should you leave body wash on? Dr Acharya recommends allotting at least: “30 seconds to one minute lathering time to cleanse your skin thoroughly.” 

Tonic Sugar Polisher  

For best results, exfoliate your skin using the Tonic Sugar Polisher, £35. It has the same essential oil ingredients, which simultaneously have a toning effect and buff away dry skin and provide that overall sense of well-being. Use twice a week after cleansing, followed by Tonic Moisturising Balm, £35 for a complete at-home spa treat. 

2. Use the correct water temperature

If you want your skin to benefit from your body wash method, shower with lukewarm water. This is particularly important if you suffer from thick or dead skin on your heels, or sensitive skin in general.      

I love a hot shower, especially in winter! But hot water can make the skin drier and feel tight, uncomfortable, and itchy. The most skin-friendly shower temperature is lukewarm.”  

Dr Lal adds: “Chances are, if it feels good (hot), it’s drying you out. So it should feel like room temperature, which can be cold, but that will force you to be quicker – and more eco-friendly.”  

woman in the shower

3. Keep daily showers short

Experts advise keeping your showers short. The recommended maximum shower time is about five to 10 minutes. This is enough time to cleanse and hydrate the skin without overdoing it.  

And how often should you wash your body? Dr Lal says: “Washing, or better yet, rinsing your body once a day is enough (unless you exercise).”    

While this is ideal for daily showers, you can reap the benefits from hot and cold baths, from treating sore muscles and reducing stress and depression, among other benefits.   

4. Use a bath tool

Using a bath tool is optional – but it can have great benefits. Some bath tools on the market can help you with blood circulation and sloughing dead skin cells, while others can help to tighten and firm the skin. 

If you have keratosis pilaris, ingrown hair or dry skin, try an exfoliating mitt – with an exfoliating body wash – to help sweep away any impurities. Most exfoliating mitts are made with an innovative fabric weave that is gentler on the skin than synthetic or natural loofahs.    

Or, just use a washcloth or flannel. But make sure the cloth is washed and thoroughly dried after each use – as leaving a damp cloth in the shower or bath could cause it to accumulate bacteria which can be transferred to your body the next time you use it.  

5. Wash your face before showering

Dr Acharya strongly recommends washing your face before showering. 

“Avoid washing your face in the shower to prevent the water from directly impacting and creating micro-trauma on your skin.” She adds: “However if the temperature is lukewarm and the water pressure is weak, it’s absolutely fine to do so. I recommend cleansing before your shower and popping on skincare products shortly after.”  

Looking for more body care routine content? Read What Is Dry Body Brushing And What Are The Benefits? Or How To Layer Your Body Skincare Products.

More of a bath person? Check out The Art Of Bathing: Cold Plunges, Hot Baths & Everything-In-Between.

Or if you are worried that you may have damaged your skin beyond repair, read How To Tell If You Have Damaged Skin Barrier And Ways To Fix It.

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