While skincare for our face is getting more and more elaborate with the popularity of the ten- (or more!) step routine, our body tends to receive much less attention.
Many of us still think body moisturisers are reserved for those with very dry skin or those living in colder climates. After all, the thought of waiting around for the sticky lotion to dry before putting clothes on isn’t exactly appealing in Singapore’s hot and humid weather.
However, while you may not need to moisturise your body every day, your skin will still benefit greatly from using a body moisturiser on a regular basis, especially as we age and our skin becomes drier.
To help you in choosing the right body moisturiser for your skin type and skin concerns, we’ve gotten in touch with Mr. Percival Pastrana, Head of Total Product Experience, Skin Health R&D from skincare brand Aveeno to provide more information on this important product and how to use it right.
What is a body moisturiser?
According to Mr. Pastrana, a body moisturiser works to protect your skin from dryness and dehydration in order to maintain the functions of the skin barrier.
Dehydration can compromise the skin microbiome – the microorganisms on the surface of our skin that are vital for optimal skin barrier function. A compromised microbiome can leave the skin vulnerable to irritants and allergens that can cause irritation and allergic reactions.
Extreme cases of dry skin can also cause soreness, itchiness and scaly, rough patches on the skin, resulting discomfort or even pain.
Hence, it is important to keep our skin hydrated with moisturisers to achieve and maintain optimal skin health.
How do body moisturisers work?
Just like in a face moisturiser, moisturising ingredients in body moisturisers come in three types: humectants. emollients and occlusives.
Humectants moisturise the skin by attracting water molecules from the lower cell layers and retain them at the epidermis. Common humectants are glycerin, hyaluronic acid and honey.
Emollients help smooth out the skin by softening rough texture and soothing irritated skin. Common emollients are lipids, oils, shea butter, oatmeal.
Occlusives form a physical barrier between the skin and the environment to prevent moisture loss. Common occlusives include oils, silicones and waxes.
The combination of these three types of ingredients will give moisturisers an effective and long-lasting moisturising effect.
How to choose a good body moisturiser for different skin types?
While most moisturisers serve the same basic function of preventing dryness, it’s important to choose one for your specific skin type, be it oily, dry, normal or combination, for maximum efficacy and comfort.
For oily, acne-prone skin, choose products with lightweight, fast-absorbing formulas so they won’t feel greasy on the skin. You should also avoid highly comedogenic ingredients that might potentially clog your pores and cause acne.
For dry skin, look for ingredients that are more nourishing and able to sooth irritated or itchy skin, which are common skin issues associated with skin dryness.
According to Mr. Pastrana, an example of ingredients suitable for dry skin is colloidal oatmeal which is “one of the few natural ingredients that has been recognised as a skin protectant for use on dry, itchy or irritated skin.”
How to choose a body moisturiser that is weather-appropriate?
For Singapore’s hot and humid weather, if you spend most of your time outdoor where you are more likely to sweat, Mr. Pastrana recommends moisturisers made from ingredients that are less likely to clog the pores, with a lightweight texture, complemented with sun protection.
However, Mr. Pastrana also notes that sun protection shouldn’t be a priority when choosing a moisturiser. Moisturisers should always be chosen based on their efficacy and suitability for the skin. We can, and should, use a separate sunscreen for sun protection.
When travelling to colder climates with low temperatures and low humidity levels, our skin tends to get drier. Mr Pastrana recommends choosing moisturisers with a more nourishing formula to protect your skin from dryness and other skin issues associated with it.
Product recommended: Aveeno® Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion
How to test a new moisturiser for irritation or allergic reaction?
When trying out a new moisturiser, it’s important to use it on a small area on your skin first to test for irritation or allergic reaction.
The right way to test, according to Mr. Pastrana, is to apply a pea-sized amount onto your inner forearm. If you experience any allergic reactions, stop the usage immediately and consult your doctor or dermatologist.
How much moisturiser should we use each time?
It’s important to use enough product to make sure your skin is sufficiently moisturised. If your skin can’t take too much of the moisturiser without feeling greasy, switch to one with a more lightweight, fast-absorbing formula.
Mr. Pastrana recommends applying body moisturisers liberally, with the recommended amount of 2mg/cm2, which is approximately one golf ball size of product for the entire body.
“Another easy way to ensure you are applying sufficient product,” Mr. Pastrana says, “is to think of six teaspoons (tsp) of product for full body moisturisation ( one for each arm and leg, the torso and the back).”
How should a good moisturiser feel on the skin?
The main indicator of a good moisturiser is well-moisturised skin, which should feel soft and smooth to the touch. A good moisturiser should also absorb quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy or sticky residue behind.