Smart short­cuts for SU­PER SOFT, SUP­PLE SKIN!

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - BODY & SOUL -

We fo­cus so much on face care that we might be a lit­tle guilty of ig­nor­ing the rest of our body. Car­ing for this skin doesn’t have to cost too much and it takes just a few min­utes each day. The ben­e­fits in re­turn are smoother skin that’s clear and vi­brant: a real con­fi­dence boost for the sum­mer months ahead!

In the body-care aisles you will find a slew of lo­tions, but­ters, balms and oils — all are nour­ish­ing but not all are equal. Lo­tion, with its light­weight for­mula, will mois­turise but it is eas­ily ab­sorbed and spends the least time on the sur­face of the skin, which is fine for nor­mal skins. Body but­ters are a creamier for­mu­la­tion and are usu­ally en­riched with oils. Th­ese last longer on the skin and are more mois­tur­is­ing, bet­ter for drier skin. Balms are dif­fer­ent in that, yes, they will add mois­ture to the skin but they work to pre­vent mois­ture loss; this makes them ideal for very dry skin and for ar­eas such as the feet, knees, el­bows and an­kles.

Where balms be­come con­fus­ing is that you have one for feet, an­other for hands and yet an­other for the body! Cut through this con­fu­sion by look­ing for the pri­mary mois­tur­is­ing in­gre­di­ent, say shea or co­coa but­ter. This is the key in­gre­di­ent, so buy as high a con­cen­tra­tion as you can af­ford, 100 per cent if pos­si­ble. Ex­tra in­gre­di­ents in spe­cial­ist balms — such as pep­per­mint in a foot balm to keep feet smelling fresh or laven­der in a hand ver­sion to make your hands smell sweet — aren’t nec­es­sary if you sim­ply want an all-rounder balm.

Body oils are a se­cret weapon against dry­ness. Look for skin-nour­ish­ing jo­joba or argan, or a nat­u­ral blend of a se­lect few. Use your oil the fol­low­ing ways: straight af­ter bathing when the pores are open; or try mix­ing a cou­ple of drops into your lo­tion for ex­tra mois­ture when needed, or sim­ply ap­ply to rough ar­eas be­fore but­ter or balm for a boost of nour­ish­ment.

So, as­sess the dry­ness of the skin on your body to de­ter­mine the level of body care you need. Re­mem­ber, though, even if most of your skin is nor­mal and you ap­ply body lo­tion daily, your feet and other rough ar­eas will im­prove dra­mat­i­cally if you use a balm be­fore bed!

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