Bodycare Bootcamp: 6 Ways To Combat Dry, Scaly Skin This Winter

While winter wreaks havoc on our complexions, just as much is true from the neck down. Ashleigh Cometti speaks to two experts to ensure you’re good to glow, from head to toe

Wave goodbye to scaly limbs this winter with our picks of products to hydrate and restore. Photo / Mecca Cosmetica for Mecca Athletica

 As John Mayer once famously said, “Your body is a wonderland,” and it’s about time we started treating it as one.

If your limbs are feeling more “deserted island” than “wonderland” there are a few things you can try to restore the skin on your body to its supple best.

A trusted body lotion remains a cornerstone product in any thoughtful beauty routine – provided you remember to use it.

But as the category continues to diversify, selecting the right cold weather hero to tackle the dryness and environmental stressors of the season can feel a lot like trial and error.

Caring for your body doesn’t have to be confusing when you’ve got two of the top body care experts to hand. We spoke to Randi Christiansen, co-founder and CEO of Nécessaire, and Mecca skincare manager Lucy Shaw about the best ways to care for your body during the cooler months.

Prioritise hydration

It’s the number one winter body care tip shared by Randi, who says it’s time to put hydration and moisturisation front and centre when the mercury drops.

“Nourish yourself with water in all ways possible. Drink water, apply hyaluronic acid for deep hydration on your body, face and scalp, protect your [skin] barrier with the best moisturiser you can find,” she says.

Try to down seven to eight glasses of water daily, and if the thought of that bores you, consider adding a lemon wedge for flavour.

Apply your body care on damp skin

So says Lucy, who explains that slathering on your body lotions or creams after a warm (not hot!) bath or shower is best for their absorption.

After your shower, lightly towel dry your body before starting to layer on your products.

“By leaving the skin damp, your products will absorb more readily, you won’t need to use as much product, and most importantly, you will seal moisture into the skin and help to slow down [trans-epidermal] water loss which is always heightened in the cooler weather,” she says.

Look for products with glow-giving ingredients like niacinamide. Photo / Mecca Cosmetica for Mecca Athletica

Treat your body as you would your face

In the same way that the skin on our face shows signs of ageing, so too, do our bodies, even more so where environmental factors like sun and UV-induced damage are concerned.

Some typical skin concerns our bodies can experience when not taken care of properly include sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles, melasma, pigmentation and scarring.

Areas that are regularly exposed to the sun like chest, neck, hands and arms tend to age much faster, so it’s extra important to show those regions some extra TLC to avoid them appearing crepey or dehydrated over time.

Lucky for us, many brands are adopting the stance that our faces don’t end at our necks, with the below-the-neck skincare movement being pioneered locally by brands like Tronque.

Active body care is cropping up all over, Lucy explains, packed with results-driven ingredients that leave their plainer predecessors at the door.

Shop smarter

In general, a good body lotion will leave skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated. Experts recommend looking for formulas that highlight cold-weather ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, essential fatty acids like plant or nut oils, or humectants like glycerin.

“Ceramides are important because they can help to strengthen your skin barrier, target flakiness and help to smooth and plump skin,” Lucy says.

READ: 20 Ways To An Impossibly Good Winter Beauty Routine

Consider Summer Fridays Summer Silk Nourishing Body Lotion, $44, which is brimming with ceramides and plant-derived butters to deliver long-lasting hydration with no greasy after-feel.

Niacinamide (aka vitamin B3) is one of the hero ingredients featured throughout the Nécessaire range, not least in The Body Lotion, $41, which Randi says acts as a multi-vitamin for skin to help moisturise, nourish and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier.

Don’t be put off by a fragranced formula, either, unless your skin is sensitive or you have known skin allergies.

Body lotion, butter, cream, serum – what's the difference?

Turns out a lot, actually, and Lucy explains that each of these products have different textures and functions.

“Both body creams and lotions are like your moisturiser for your face. They hydrate, lock in moisture and look after your skin barrier,” she says.

Lotions are slightly lighter than creams, which makes them a good option to wear during the day under clothing. Try the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Body Daily Skin Therapy Body Lotion, $9.

But if your skin is feeling especially thirsty and in need of extra nourishment, Lucy recommends reaching for body butter as its thicker consistency is ideal to slather on generously before bed.

Make the ritual all the more luxurious with Kiehl’s Crème de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter, $64.

Body serums and face serums share similarities, in that they have lower molecular weights and absorb more deeply into skin, not to mention they work best when layered under a cream or lotion, Lucy says.

“Body serums are typically more targeted to specific skin goals and have a higher concentration of active ingredients.”

Try the Tronque Exfoliating Refining Body Serum, $145, contains a face-worthy combination of ingredients to tackle a multitude of skin concerns including keratosis pilaris and ingrown hairs.

The type of body care you use depends on what your skin needs at any given moment, Randi adds. “This might vary based on skin concerns, skin types, hormones, where you live and the season,” she says.

Establish a solid body care routine

A hydrated, radiant body calls for a regimented routine, and Lucy says winter makes for a perfect time to start using an active body care routine in preparation for short sleeves and necklines in summer.

A nightly body care ritual could look something like this:

Start by taking a warm shower or bath using a hydrating body wash like the Everblue Naturals Fearless Body Wash, $8 – it's pH-balanced formula won’t strip skin of its natural oils.

Lightly towel dry skin then apply your choice of body serum, followed by a mix of body lotion and oil (which Lucy says saves time). Viva loves pairing the Mukti Organics Botanique Lotion, $50, with The Skin Kitchen Refreshing Jasmine Body Oil, $36, to drench skin in moisture.

At least twice per week, use a gentle, chemical exfoliant like the Mecca Cosmetica Mecca Athletica Skin Perfecting Body Wash, $42, to unclog pores, slough away dead skin cells and keep skin healthy.

STOCKISTS: Everblue from selected supermarkets or online at Themarket.com; Kiehl’s from Kiehl’s boutiques and selected department stores or online at Kiehls.co.nz; Mecca Cosmetica, Nécessaire and Summer Fridays from Mecca or online at Meccabeauty.co.nz; Mukti Organics from selected day spas, health food stores or online at Muktiorganics.com; Palmers from selected department stores and pharmacies including Chemist Warehouse or online at Chemistwarehouse.co.nz; The Skin Kitchen from selected department stores and independent retailers, or online at Theskinkitchen.co.nz; Tronque from selected day spas, department stores and independent retailers, or online at Tronque.com.

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