Summer is fast approaching and that means it's time to breakout our warm weather wardrobe. Hello spaghetti strap tanks and little summer dresses! Unfortunately problems like back blemishes and stretch marks can make some of us a bashful about baring our body skin. Natural skincare to the rescue! Here are some easy, chemical-free fixes that will have your birthday suit looking and feeling great for a season of fun in the sun.
1. Bacne -- I personally struggled with bad acne for over a decade and know that despite the most empowering mantras, these little bumps can do a number on your self-esteem. Body blemishes are no exception and I have seen a number of clients that find the summertime particularly daunting for this reason. Not only because it's a season of skimpier threads but also because bacne (and chacnes) is often aggravated by body heat and sweat. Unremoved sweat on the skin can lead to breakouts, which is impossible to avoid when showers aren't handy. Solution? Pack an anti-bacterial floral water mist and spritz your body down as needed. Be sure to use a pure hydrosol (plant water) that does not contain alcohol. You want to purify your skin without dehydrating and irritating it. Some personal favorites include: organic peppermint and immortelle (AKA helichryse) hydrosols.
2. Bumpy Arms (AKA Chicken Skin) -- Technically known as "Keratosis Pilaris" but endearing called "Chicken Skin," these red bumps found on our upper arms make many of clients shy about going sleeveless. Make long sleeves an after thought by applying an oil-rich cream religiously. Keratosis Pilaris is aggravated by dryness and irritation of the hair follicles so is best treated by nourishing and soothing arm skin. Look for heavy moisturizers containing calming ingredients such as camellia oil, chamomile and aloe vera. These comfort this rash-like skin ailment and soften brittle follicles.
3. Scaly Patches -- Dry patches that show up on our shins and forearms can be an unwanted reminder of a winter's past. Shiver. Sometimes skin tissue can become so dehydrated that it takes on snake-like appearance, which just begs to be shed. Simple moisturizing is not enough to remove these scaly patches. Instead, rehydration must be done in combination with intense exfoliation and a DIY way to do this is by daily dry brushing. Use your dry brush in circular motions that move towards the heart before your morning shower to slough away stubborn skin build up. Not only does this remove dead cells but also increases blood flow and prevents water-retention. This reduces the appearance of cellulite: Double score!
4. Ingrown Hairs -- Planning some cottage sunbathing? Or maybe just having a Gwyneth Paltrow moment (a la Iron Man 3's premiere)? Either way, being ingrown-free prevents red pustules that can show up in your intimate areas. Caused by dead skin buildup, ingrown hairs appear when our hair follicles are blocked and covered causing hair to grow inwards. This is why they most often appear in our body's folds such as the bikini and underarm regions. Not only can this lead to inflammation and infection but dang they can be painful! Meticulous moisturizing prevents dead skin accumulation allowing strands to grow straight. Apply an oil or lotion to ingrown-prone areas both morning and night for sexy, smooth ingrown-free skin. Make sure you use a petrolatum-free product as petro-ingredients (often labelled as "mineral oil") as they have been found to be pore clogging, common irritants as well as possible carcinogens.
5. Stretch Marks -- Stretch marks can give us second thoughts about wearing short shorts or crop tops. While they can be more difficult to treat than other skin problems, even these scars can be diminished by the right skin repair strategy. The key is in understanding the different types of stretch marks. Red, smooth stretch marks are young scars, meaning that they have not fully set yet, this makes red stretch marks easier to heal than their silver-colored counterparts. Silvery, white and textured stretch marks indicate that our skin tissue has been deeply damaged and must be treated from our skin's dermis layer. Repair red stretch marks by using rosehip oil. This oil is both excellent for wound-repair and discolouration as they contain high-concentrations of vitamin C and essential fatty acids. Silver indented streaks require a more intensive approach. Look into laser or endermologie as these services treat uneven texture and encourage tissue regeneration by increasing collagen production.