Stretch marks. Cellulite. Bacne. Unless you’re genetically blessed with flawless skin (lucky you!), you probably know what it’s like to suffer from these issues. The good news: You are not alone. Even more good news: These skin concerns are seldom permanent. Here, we’ll show you how to minimize the appearance of your most pressing body skin concerns for a smoother, sexier and more confident you!
1. BODY ACNE
Body acne—usually found on the back and chest area—develops pretty much the same way facial acne does. But because your body skin is thicker than your facial skin and is often in close contact with fabric, body acne could be more difficult to treat. The first step in banishing body blemishes is to keep your skin clean and your pores unclogged. For this, use a gentle cleanser with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and exfoliate regularly to clear your pores. You can treat existing blemishes with topical creams or liquids that contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic and glycolic acids, benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil.
2. STRETCH MARKS
Creams and ointments with botanical oils, cocoa and shea butters and hyaluronic acid can definitely improve your skin’s elasticity and prevent stretch marks from forming, but once the marks show up and become silvery white—which happens in the later stages—there’s very little you can do about them. If laser is not an option, treatment creams with high concentrations of glycolic acid, vitamins C and E and retinol (only if you’re not pregnant) can help minimize the appearance of stretch marks by boosting collagen production and cell renewal.
Of course, aside from cosmetic surgery, exercise is still the best way to tone your skin and get rid of cellulite. However, if you’re looking for a product that can help reduce the dimpled appearance on your thighs, buttocks and arms, reach for products with caffeine and essential oils like flax, hemp, evening primrose, almond, jojoba and grapefruit. Most experts believe that these ingredients can help stimulate circulation and dissolve fluid deposits.
4. KERATOSIS PILARIS
Keratosis pilaris generally appears as a cluster of small white or red bumps on your upper arms, thighs, buttocks and cheeks. While it’s not a serious medical condition and usually resolves on its own, symptoms can be controlled with proper skin care regimen. Use cleansers with gentle chemical exfoliants like glycolic and lactic acids to remove the keratin and dead cell buildup on your skin. Likewise, slathering on body lotions with alpha hydroxy acids can help buff away rough skin patches by simultaneously exfoliating and hydrating your skin. You can also apply a retinol cream at night to speed up your skin’s turnover process.
5. CRACKED HEELS AND ELBOWS
When skin dries out, it hardens and eventually cracks, leaving tender skin exposed. Not only does this look awful. If left untreated, cracked heels and elbows can cause open wounds and scarring. If physical exfoliants like scrubs or a pumice stone aren’t enough, reach for creams that contain chemical exfoliants (salicylic, glycolic or lactic acids) to soften and dissolve the thick layer of skin. Complement this by keeping your skin moisturized with a heavy lotion. Some people find that putting socks on at night helps seal in moisture.
6. BRUISES AND SPIDER VEINS
While minor bruises heal on their own without treatment, you can help speed up the process by applying ointments with vitamins C and K and other healing and calming ingredients like calendula, arnica, aloe vera and lavender. Likewise, nourishing your skin with vitamin K and other nutrient-rich herbs like rosemary, horse chestnut, butcher’s broom, St. John’s wort and witch hazel can help strengthen and protect skin, improve circulation and diminish the appearance of varicose veins.
Most scar treatments contain brightening agents like kojic acid, licorice, hydroquinone and hydrocortisone as well as exfoliants like glycolic acid to even out skin discoloration and texture and make scars appear less visible. For keloids and other elevated scars, silicone-based treatments can be very effective because they form a protective barrier around scars to help the skin repair itself.
READERS—What’s your most pressing body skin issue, and what do you do to address it? Share it with us in the comments section below.