Just as you need to keep your heart and lungs fit and healthy, your skin needs some health loving TLC too. Getting hot and sweaty is great for your overall health, but it’s worth remembering that your skin is your body’s largest organ, accounting for around 15% of your bodyweight. It’s a super clever organ, renewing itself every 28 days and shedding 30,000 dead cells every minute (yes, really!) So it makes sense to look after your body’s covering, especially when it’s working overtime to cope with the changes you make to your diet and the extra sweat (and stretching) as you work out.
Healthy skin needs Vitamin A (combats sun damage), Vitamin D (reduces blemishes), Vitamin C (antioxidant, regenerates vitamin E, aids production of collagen and helps provide sun protection) and Vitamin E (antioxidant, protects against sun damage and ageing, aids circulation which in turn flushes out toxins). Later this week I’ll be talking about the supplements I take to give my skin a helping hand but today, it’s about what I slap on to protect it from the outside.
Just as I follow a routine for the face, I’m just as ruthless with the body. In fact, you could say I’m a fiend when it comes to exfoliating and moisturising. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Mornings, before I do anything, you’ll find me in the bathroom, dry-body brushing, even before I brush my teeth. Those couple of minutes are worth the difference it makes to circulation, lymphatic drainage, and hopefully, cellulite. I’ll always make sure to have a hot shower straight after a workout, and if there’s time, a quick session in the steam room before jumping into the shower, to really open up the pores. Shower time means a quick exfoliation (got to divest myself of those 30.000 dead skin cells – eeewww) with what ever scrub is at hand – previous favourites have included a recent empty and a probable repurchase, Clinique’s Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator (here), the age-old St Ives Scrub (here), Caudalie’s Divine Scrub (here) and a homemade concoction comprising brown sugar, almond oil and vanilla extract. (For a once-a-fortnight deep exfoliation, I’m addicted to my Dermasuri Exfoliating Mitt, which you can read about here). Currently occupying that daily exfoliant position in the shower is the L’Occitane Almond Scrub, which I use in conjunction with the Almond Shower Oil from the same range. Which brings me to nicely to oils. If I can use an oil for cleansing or moisturising, it’s a safe bet I will. Give me any chance to add back moisture and hydrate at any opportunity.
Neutragena’s Light Body Oil sinks right in just as a dry oil should, Caudalie’s Divine Oil not only smells divine, it also leaves a beautiful sheen on the skin while Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil is also a firm favourite, (with the Golden one making an appearance on special occasions and holidays!). For easy application, Benefit’s Bathina Silky and Seductive Body Oil Mist goes on in a just a couple of sprays. If I’m really short on time, then Nivea’s In-Shower Body Moisturiser (here) always comes up trumps – don’t you just love it when a new product does what it promises. Next on my list to try is Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis Overnight Body Treatment – it sounds like the perfect body treatment in a tube!
While I’m good at the cleansing and moisturising, I’ll admit to being a little slack on the treatments front. Cellulite creams are always a good idea in theory, but for some reason I hardly ever get around to using them – patently obvious, I might add! Ones that I would use include the Dr Ceuticals Bottom Lift & Tone and Liz Earle’s Energising Hip & Thigh Gel – probably because they’re both gels, so will absorb quickly and easily. I’ve loved Bliss’ Fat Girl Slim – who can resist that name! New to my anti-cellulite arsenal are the beautiful, if eyewateringly expensive Legology from Kate Shapland and Shiseido’s Advanced Body Creator. Watch this space – I’ll be reporting back on those two soon. A slightly more purse friendly option and highly effective is Institute Estherderm Svelt System Lipo-Slimming Serum.
And when I’ve overdone it at the Body Pump class, I’ll call on the muscle relaxing rubs that help out no end. Deep Heat can be a little too intense, but This Works Deep Muscle Therapy is a diluted version that even has a handy rollerball, so I can massage my screaming calf muscles. Weleda’s Arnica Oil is the perfect alternative to a languorous bath when there’s just no time, but a soak in the Himalayan Detox Salts just seems to melt away all strains and pain.
Lastly, sun screen. Healthy skin is protected skin, so in the summer, my protection of choice is either Ultrasun or P20 – something I can put on once a day and then literally forget about. Because I am that lazy.