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Bodycare: Bacne, Strawberry Legs, Stretch Marks and More
If you spend any time scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, you’ll have heard the phrases ‘strawberry legs’, or ‘chicken skin’. Bodycare (that’s skincare beyond the face) is the talk of the twitter-verse, and with 2.5 billion hits on #bodycare TikTok, it’s no surprise that finding the right routine for your skin extends past the neck.
We’re all about holistic skincare, and if you care about the skin on your face, shouldn’t your body get the same attention? We run through looking after your skin beyond the face and get expert advice from our Dermatology Team.
Chest and back
Got acne on your chest? Or bacne (back acne)? It’s likely caused by the same factors as acne on your face. Build-up of the same oil, bacteria and dead skin fill up hair follicles, which causes inflammation and the formation of spots. Diet, hormones, lifestyle and genetics also come into play here, but due to the larger surface area, bacne and chest acne can be harder to manage.
For mild body acne, using a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid wash can help – you can get these over the counter, and are most effective when paired with a topical acne treatment with ingredients like retinoids. Prescription treatments such as tretinoin or adapalene increase skin cell turnover and ease inflammation to clear and prevent body acne.
Stretch marks are normal and natural (and we’re all about celebrating healthy skin). They appear as a result of your skin expanding and shrinking throughout your life, on your arms, legs and stomach. And not just because of your pregnancy status – working out, puberty, weight loss or gain cause them, as can your genetics.
Stretch marks usually fade over time but often won’t completely disappear – we reframe them as stripes you earn as you go through life – there are ways to fade their appearance, such as topical retinoids and hyaluronic acid-based creams. You can also opt for a microdermabrasion or laser treatment.
Shoulders and arms
‘Chicken skin’ or as it’s officially known, keratosis pilaris (or KP), is caused by a build-up of excess keratin in the opening of hair follicles. This results in what looks and feels like permanent goosebumps, without the chills – dry, rough bumps, brown, red or pink, usually found on the upper arms (but also commonly on the thighs, cheeks or buttocks).
It’s a chronic condition, but it’s not harmful or contagious, and it’s easily manageable. To ease the appearance and feel of KP, regular moisturiser and gentle exfoliation can help. The skin on your body is tougher than your face, so using a physical scrub and salicylic acid lotion in rotation is fine to do – just remember, your skin deserves gentle respect (and compassion) everywhere on your body, so no need for harsh scrubbing.
As Dr Jason Thomson recommends, “Make sure you’re using a moisturiser with barrier-friendly, moisturising ingredients: hyaluronic acid, ceramides, humectants and natural moisturising factors.”
Our top tip: If you’ve accidentally squeezed out too much of your facial moisturiser, be sure to bring it down to your neck, chest and shoulders – if your face loves it, the rest of your body will too!
Putting a random word in front of ‘skin’ is definitely having a moment – first chicken skin, now strawberry skin – what’s next? We’ll leave that up to TikTok. Strawberry skin or strawberry legs is a name for the dark spots that appear on your legs after shaving.
The name itself comes from the seeds of a strawberry, dotted around the fruit, like pores and hair follicles are dotted around your legs. These get clogged with oil, dead skin, bacteria and general daily build-up. Shaving removes the top layer of skin, exposing the clogged pore to air and turning its contents darker in the process.
Dr Jason Thomson explains, “Shaving is often the key factor that leads to the development of strawberry legs, particularly if you’re using an old or blunt razor without shaving cream.”
“It can result in clogged pores that appear black, and ingrown hairs, so it’s important to make sure you use a sharp blade, alongside a moisturising shaving cream and go with the grain (in the direction of the hair growth). Keratosis pilaris can also affect the legs, resulting in the strawberry legs appearance.”
Hands and nails
From #HaileyBieberNails and home gel manicures, a trip to the nail salon or a DIY mani-pedi is a staple selfcare moment for many of us.
If you want to keep your hands, nails and cuticles in shape, using a hand cream is always a good habit. Keep some on your desk, in your handbag and by your bed for a final skincare step before you sleep. If you’re keen to focus on nail and cuticle hydration, go for a targeted oil such as apricot and jojoba oil.
On the day of your nail appointment, you know your nails will go through a lot, so apply sunscreen to your hands and nails at least 30 minutes before and let it dry down for maximum protection against the UV.
If you’re opting for a pedicure and want to maintain it, as with everything, regular moisturising and exfoliation is key. Dry skin on your feet will show the tell-tale signs of flaking dead skin and sometimes itch, so use a regular moisturiser.
Hard skin shows up as rough, callous-like patches, usually on the balls and heels of your feet. Painful cuts or splits in the skin can appear too. You may want to see a podiatrist for a filing, and use exfoliants like AHAs, salicylic acid and urea. For day-to-day care, you don’t need a fancy foot mask, just give them a good soak and bring your regular body moisturiser all the way down to the tips of your toes.
Selfcare, above all
We love a selfcare moment (it makes us feel good!) and the more we have, the merrier. However, we’re also firm believers in doing what’s right for your unique skin needs and not what a video on your feed told you so. Take the time to know what’s right for your skin, and make it a habit. There’s lots we can’t change, but by staying committed to happy and healthy skin, we can all give our bodies the love they deserve.
Medical facts checked by Head of Medical, Dr Jason Thomson.
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