The skin is the largest organ of the human body. However, when many think of “skincare,” the instinct is to focus on the skin on the face. The face, of course, is probably the most visible and noticed part of you, but it is important to remember to take good care of all your skin.
Here are a few areas of skin that can sometimes be overlooked:
Your hands are perhaps the most used of all the body parts, coming into contact with the most external elements. This also means that the skin on them sees more wear and tear. Additionally, the skin on the palms of the hands is thicker and more resilient than the skin on the tops of your hands, which means they each need unique care. Start by cleansing your hands daily with a moisturizing soap. If your have rough palms, care for them regularly with a gentle exfoliating scrub and moisture treatment. As collagen and elastin in the skin naturally begin to decrease over the years, use treatment products (especially on the tops of your hands) to help firm and tighten the skin. And finally, don’t forget the sunscreen to help protect from UV damage and age spots.
Arguably, your feet may take the roughest treatment of all the skin on the body. They carry you through your days, are pounded on as you exercise, are shoved into shoes, and are often overlooked when it comes to tender loving care. Give your feet some love by regularly exfoliating them with a pumice stone or exfoliating scrub. Give them a nightly deep moisture infusion by covering them with a heavy moisturizing cream and socks each night while you sleep. And say yes to an extra callous treatment and massage the next time you get a pedicure.
Neck & Chest
For women especially, the neck and chest (or décolleté) are areas known for showing aging – especially sun damage. The easiest way to keep this area of your body looking young is to extend your facial skincare routine down to your neck and chest. Also, be cognizant about the fabrics you wear. Wools and synthetic fabrics can irritate a sensitive neck and chest area. Finally, the skin on your neck and chest is thin, so sun damage is more obvious and harder to reverse. Make sure you wear SPF 15 or higher every day (even if you only plan on being indoors) on your neck and chest to avoid future damage.
It’s rarely discussed, but the skin of your behind needs special care too. Bring the saying “soft as a baby’s bottom” to your own backside by exfoliating the skin on your derrière 2-3 times per week with your favorite body scrub or dry brush. Minimize the appearance of cellulite by using topical products that help restore skin elasticity and firmness. Or get a deep tissue massage to help break up that connective tissue and improve circulation for healthy skin everywhere!
Even people who take very good care of most of their skin often forget the elbow area in their daily care routines. This is understandable as you rarely notice your own elbows unless you go out of your way to do so. It’s worth noting, though, that smooth and soft elbows can quickly become rough and scaly. The skin over your elbows is there to protect the joint underneath. If you are constantly creating friction on the elbow area (such as leaning on a desk typing), your body responds by thickening the skin in that area to protect the joint. You can help reduce the elbow buildup by exfoliating and moisturizing your elbows regularly. And become more conscious of how you use them. When you catch yourself leaning on a table at lunch, consider sitting back. The less friction on the elbows, the less maintenance will be needed!
Of course, each of these areas can also benefit from an Inclusive Health lifestyle. Reducing stress, exercising, eating a healthy diet with many water-rich foods and making time for yourself are among the ways to improve cellular hydration throughout all of your skin – and your entire body!
Don’t forget to take care of your skin…all of it! Your body will thank you.
Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Click here to learn more about Dr. Murad.
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