With the joy of our abundant Western Australian summer comes copious heat and sun exposure, laddering up to lizard.
In this article, Heartwood’s Director of Spa & Wellness Nikki O’Dwyer demystifies why our bodies tend to be drier than our faces, shares how to combat the scaliest of skin, and tells us all her favourite products to lean into.
WHAT CAUSES LIZARD-LIKE SKIN?
Without enough SPF protection and excessive exposure to the sun and heat, your skin barrier function can easily be damaged, causing transepidermal water loss. This leads to dry skin in the summer months.
The skin also loses excessive water through sweat, and constant exposer to air-conditioning, eventually drying it out. It can further worsen if you don’t drink enough water, or if you’re spending a lot of time in the pool to beat the heat! Chlorine is known to steal your skin’s natural pH, also leading to dryness.
HOW DOES THE SKIN ON THE BODY DIFFER FROM THE SKIN ON THE FACE?
The major difference is thickness! The skin on the body is thicker than the skin on the face and is not typically as sensitive. Because the skin on our body has far less sebaceous (oil) glands than the skin on our face, dryness (especially around elbows, knees, and feet, where skin is thickest) is common.
The subcutaneous layer of fat underneath our skin is also thicker on our bodies than on the face, therefore, the skin on our body is not as susceptible to fine lines and wrinkles as on our faces, neck, and dec - where our skin is much thinner.
SHOULD WE USE AN OIL AND MOISTURISER?
Oils and moisturisers are friends and can be used together to combat DRYNESS. Body oils are universal and can be used by most skin-types. Drier skin-types or those prone to eczema or rosacea may benefit from using a body oil (emollient) to help lock in moisture and replace the natural oils the skin may be struggling to produce. The top benefits of using body oils are that they can improve skin texture, hydrate, and help to revive crepey-skin by plumping it.
Using a body-specific moisturiser can significantly reduce the chance of developing extreme dryness (lizard skin!) I always notice when I haven’t applied body moisturiser, my skin starts to feel dry, tight, and ashy because its rapidly losing water. Applying a moisturiser straight after a shower or bath traps in the water your skin already has, plumping up the skin and protecting it. When the skin is still slightly damp the pores dilate, allowing the skin to soak up the benefits of the moisturiser, giving maximum absorption.
The ultimate combo for combating lizard-like skin is to use a body oil first, massaging it in and allowing 10-15mins for it to sink in, then applying a body-specific moisturiser over the top before heading to bed. Wallah … soft, hydrated, happy skin!
IS THERE A WAY TO HYDRATE SKIN ON THE BODY WITHOUT CAUSING BREAKOUTS?
Using an astringent, nutrient-rich body cleanser morning and night is a great way to keep the skin clean, hydrated, and nourished, whilst also preventing any breakouts. This is a gentle way to wash off any excess sweat, oil, dirt, and SPF from the day. Completing the routine with a noncomedogenic body-specific moisturiser to seal in hydration, re-balance the skin and add a protective barrier.
WHAT IS THE IDEAL ROUTINE TO PREVENT & TREAT SCALY SKIN?
- Gently exfoliate the skin on the body using an oil-rich body scrub once a week
- Use a dry brush once or twice a week to help tighten and tone the skin, increasing circulation and energy, preventing sagging and scaly skin
- Use a hydrating soap or body cleanser in the shower to gently clean the skin, washing away any sweat, dirt or SPF
- After showering, replenish the skin with a nutrient-rich, body specific moisturiser
- On the cooler summer nights opt for a body oil before bed – massage into skin before a shower to protect the skin from losing moisture or apply after a shower to help lock in moisture. Leave to sink in for 10-15 mins before jumping into bed
- For optimal treatment and prevention of dry skin, use a body oil immediately after showering, whilst you are still damp, allow it to sink in for five to ten minutes, and then apply your body moisturiser
- At the start of each day apply a thick layer of SPF on the body and cover up where you can
- Hydrate! Drink plenty of water to hydrate the skin from within (eight to ten glasses)