5 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Body Wash Routine
8 minutes read
Not all body wash routines are equal. While hopping into the shower, lathering your body wash, and rinsing it off will get the job done, it might take more planning to achieve the glowing skin of your dreams and the sensory experience.
It’s all in the technique, tools and topical products you use daily that will go a long way towards improving your skin health.
Beauty Daily talked to three skincare experts to share five tips to make the most of your body wash routine: from the ideal shower water temperature and the best body wash products to bathing and shower accessories to use.
What is the point of 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 skin cleanser; a body wash can shift your mood and nurture and nourish your skin.
5 Dermatologist-approved tips to make the most of your body wash routine
1. Choose the right 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 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 that leave our skin feeling dry and tight. We’re still determining why it has been deemed just something you pick up at the supermarket – when there are many more alluring and high-tech options.
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 body acne can benefit from an anti-blemish body wash. Look for 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. It is also 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.
3. Salicylic acid can penetrate through oil. It tightens pores and removes any excess sebum, and reduces its production.
Try Anti-Blemish Shower Gel Glycolic Acid 6% + Tea Tree Extract, £14.50 from Typology Paris. It has a powerful combination of glycolic acid and tea tree extract that fight against body blemishes such as acne and ingrown hair.
“Using an 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.
Read next: Suffering From Bacne? Here’s The Solution
If you have keratosis pilaris, try a cellular renewal body serum
Have you suffered from that chicken-like appearance of the skin?
Yes, those tiny, bumpy spots that resemble permanent goosebumps on your arms or legs? They’re called keratosis pilaris. We’re all at some point prone to it, with the British Skin Foundation reporting up to 40% of adults suffer from it.
While it sounds serious, it’s harmless as it is caused by accumulated dead skin getting trapped in the hair follicle. However, it can be so itchy if not treated, leaving your skin irritated and inflamed. In addition, it can make the skin’s surface rough to touch and often worsen during winter.
Unfortunately, there’s no permanent fix for preventing keratosis pilaris. Still, you can keep it under control by using a cellular renewal body serum like the Renew-Plus Body Serum, £44.
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 is an anti-wrinkle body serum that helps to soften lines. This is thanks to the star ingredient water lily extract that smooths away roughness and leaves skin soft, supple and radiant.
It also helps to make sure you’re regularly exfoliating. This will help eliminate dry skin cells lingering on the surface. Try Exfoliating Body Scrub, £32. Use twice a week before lathering the body serum.
Your feet also need a regular slough of dry, thickened skin, followed by a good slathering of moisturiser to keep them smooth and good-looking.
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 wash 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 shower gel in your hands with warm water, place your hands cupped near the face and do some inhalation and breath work. Try to last for over 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.
McHale says: “A 50p-sized amount of the shower concentrate lathered into the hands of 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.”
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 – not forgetting that overall sense of well-being. Use twice a week after cleansing. Slather with Tonic Moisturizing Balm, £35 for a complete at-home spa treat.
2. Use the proper water temperature
If you want your skin to benefit from your body wash routine, shower with lukewarm water. This is especially true if you suffer from thick or dead skin on your heals 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.”
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.
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
This all depends on your personal preference. Some bath tools on the market can help you with blood circulation and sloughing dead skin cells, among others.
If you have keratosis pilaris, ingrown hair or dry skin, these Ameliorate Exfoliating Mitts, £10, can help sweep away those impurities. They are made with an innovative fabric weave gentler than synthetic or natural loofahs.
If you’re willing to invest more, we recommend this luxe tool, PMD Clean Body, £145.
This bath tool vibrates up to 7,000 pulses per minute to effectively sweep dirt and oil out of your pores. It has cleansing silicone bristles along the back. The front is magnetised to secure any of the three attachments – including the anti-bacterial exfoliating loofah, aluminium oxide buffer or relaxing massager. Use them all to promote clearer, smoother skin.
Or use a washcloth or flannel. Just make sure the cloth is washed and thoroughly dried after each use; leaving a damp cloth in the shower or bath is a no-no, as it could 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 this. 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