Body Care Buyer Guide

You may think you’re using the right skin care product but still aren't able to achieve that youthful glow and feel. What you may not realize is that your skin is an ever-changing, ever-evolving organ that requires special care beyond water and your standard bar of soap.

There are several different ways to clean and exfoliate your skin: body scrubs, facial scrubs, soap, shower gels, loofahs, and exfoliants. All come in at different price points and are suited to different skin types. It can seem overwhelming to try and pick one that works for you the first time without wasting oodles of money, but hopefully this guide will help you choose which ones are right for your skin type, and your budget.

Understanding your needs and deciding how much to spend

One of the most frustrating concerns when shopping for anything is how much to spend on something you don’t really know will work for you. This is especially true with health and beauty products because skin types vary so much and often times impulse buying can result in an expensive purchase that isn’t the best choice! Understanding what your skin type is and what you’re looking to achieve will help you narrow down your choices.

Skin types

Generally speaking there are roughly five skin types: dry skin, normal skin, oily skin, combination skin, and sensitive skin. Performing a simple tissue test can help determine which type you are. In the morning, several hours after you have washed your face, take a tissue and blot different areas of your face, then look toward a light to see results.

For normal and dry skin: There should be no visible oil on the tissue. If your skin feels tight after blotting with the tissue, you probably are more on the dry side. Are you itchy after showering and sometimes even dry a few hours after applying lotion?

Combination and oily skin: You will notice “clearer” areas on the tissue where you blotted the oils. Combination skin is normally only oily in one area of the “T zone”. Your legs may be dry but your back may be oily. Consider different cleansers and lotions to target the unique skin type on different parts of your body.

Sensitive skin: You probably know who you are. You tend to notice blotchy areas or redness during periods of stress or when trying a new product. Even changing climates, laundry detergents, and dyes can be irritating.

Body Soaps

Most “cheap” soaps on the market today can leave a nasty residue on your skin which contributes to that dull look you may have experienced. It’s worth the time to seek out a soap that is of better quality, but not necessarily more expensive. Just like all health and beauty products, more expensive does not equal more quality. You can find great products at your local drugstore or supermarket that are reasonably priced.

Glycerine soaps are great for people with oily or dry skin because they cleanse without over drying. Over drying the skin can often times lead to even more oil.

Body soap is well suited for the body, but usually isn’t best to use on the face. Stick with a facial cleanser for the face.

Deodorant soap or soap for body odor - these soaps are specially suited for those with a higher degree of odor than most, and are probably not safe to use for those with sensitive skin because of their high amount of fragrance.

Ways to Exfoliate

Skin cells are always expiring, and if you don’t exfoliate every once in a while, those built up dead cells may be what’s keeping you from looking your best. You’ve determined your skin type and maybe selected a soap that works well for you (and doesn’t leave residue!). It’s time to talk about exfoliating.

There are several ways to exfoliate the dead skin cells off your face/body. Body and facial scrubs are made with granules of a substance like corn meal. For your face, ensure that the granules are uniform in size as otherwise they may irritate the more sensitive skin in that area. Using a scrub with a circular motion on the skin and rinsing thoroughly should wash away the dead skin cells and help achieve a smooth, glowing complexion.

If granules are too abrasive ,use a loofah or sponge as an alternative with your daily body wash or soap. For the face, there are facial brushes made with very soft bristles that can be used with your daily face wash. Using a scrub with a facial brush or loofah could be too harsh on your face, be careful.

Now, Moisturize!

You’ve got your skin cells whisked away, let’s talk about keeping your skin moist and hydrated. Most moisturizers are labeled by skin type, so you should be able to identify which lotion or cream will work for you. Keep in mind that face moisturizers and body moisturizers are different - so make sure you choose one appropriate for your needs. And as with scrubs and exfoliators, moisturizers come in all shapes and sizes, and fit all budgets. The best moisturizers out there don’t have to be the priciest.

Tinted moisturizers are great for a makeup replacement and to even out blotchy skin.

Daily body moisturizers with sunscreen should be used by everyone who will be exposed to more than 15 minutes of sunlight during the day – this includes time in your car, in and out of buildings, or just talking to a neighbor at the mailbox. Dermatologists recommend that any exposed skin is covered with a lotion having a minimum spf of 15 to prevent sun damage that results in premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer. There are many new lotions on the market that are light daily body lotions with spf to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

Collagen moisturizers are said to lessen wrinkles and the effects of aging. These are also good for dryness prevention.

Moisturizing body lotions are usually basic and come in varying degrees of thickness. Great for giving your legs a softer look after shaving.

Organic aloe-vera lotion and milk and honey lotions are all natural choices that work well for the eco-minded or for people with allergies.

Moisturizing face creams should be labeled to say which skin type they work well for. It’s best to know your skin type when choosing a face moisturizer.

Another great way to seal in moisture is to use any of the wonderful body oil products on the market. Using a palm oil bath soap or bath oil while bathing can help nurture supple skin. If you have dry skin, oil should not necessarily be used as a substitute for a moisturizer. When shopping for body oils always look for grade “A” oils, these are very pure and have a great value because of their long shelf life.

Shopping for health and beauty products, soaps, moisturizers and scrubs can be overwhelming, but determining your skin type, your budget and what your needs are can narrow down your choices dramatically. Don’t’ forget about some of the great organic and all natural bath and body products that are available. These can still come at a reasonable price and have fewer of the harsh ingredients that mainstream products sometimes have.