Try 'Shower Cocktailing' Because Your Body Needs Its Own Skincare Routine

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We spend a lot of time perfecting our skincare routine to prevent breakouts, brighten dull skin, reduce acne scarring, and repair our skin barrier, but while we focus so much on our face, we often forget the rest of our body. Our arms, legs, back, and chest are prone to the same effects as our faces if we don't care for them properly. While you might indulge in an everything shower once a week, sometimes it's not enough to keep your body hydrated or nourished. Dermatologists are advocating for folks to start implementing shower cocktailing: Using specific products to target skin concerns in the shower rather than general non-effective products.

Your current shower routine might look like having two to three rinsing days and one to two deep whole-body and hair showers. Entire body and hair showers can include deep conditioning, exfoliating, shaving, hair masks, scalp exfoliating, and moisturizing post-shower. Although dermatologists recommend showering twice a week to prevent over-stripping your skin of oils, it's vital to use skin products with long-lasting effects that get you through non-shower days. Figuring out your skin concerns is the first step to determining which products you should be using to help treat body acne, and improve your skin's texture and overall look.

Always use the proper water temperature

Using the right skincare products for your body below the neck is a significant part to shower cocktailing, but so is using the correct water temperature. If you enjoy hot and cold showers, you'll want to cut back on them. Instead, dermatologists recommend showering with lukewarm water or water that is between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. "Hot showers affect the skin's most outer layer, the epidermis," cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green told "Heat from hot water, combined with soap, will soften your skin and slowly strip away its natural, oily protective barrier." This can leave your skin feeling dry and itchy.

Cold showers have their perks, such as waking up the body and mind, but they don't open up your pores to remove dirt and oil from your body, therefore you won't be cleansing your body properly. 

As for time spent in the shower, only up to 20 minutes is best. Being in the shower for too long can dry out your skin and you want to hold onto as much moisture as possible to prevent irritation. However, if you enjoy spending long periods of time in the shower or bath, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman recommends taking measures to protect your skin as much as possible. "I believe it is important to 'soak and grease,'" he told With means using an in-shower oil and applying lotion to your skin immediately after you get out.

Pay attention to these areas when shower cocktailing

Your skin is still exposed to dirt, bacteria, and oils, even if it's layered with clothes. If you find yourself dealing with back acne that you've never had before, it could be from sweat buildup or conditioned hair resting on your back, shoulders, or chest that doesn't get washed away correctly. Anything that can clog your pores will cause your skin to break out, therefore it's vital to scrub those hard-to-reach places to prevent acne. 

Using anti-acne body washes will help clear your skin. Look for products that include benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid ingredients. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Corey Hartman told The Zoe Report he suggests letting the body wash sit on your skin for a few minutes before rinsing to receive all its benefits. Remember to only use anti-acne body wash on areas where you have acne rather than your entire body.

Bumpy skin on your legs is a common condition from shaving and getting razor bumps. However, red bumpy skin on the back of your arms is known as keratosis pilaris (chicken skin), a buildup of dead skin cells clogged in the hair follicles. They're itchy and dry and change color depending on skin tone. Although Dr. Margaret Wat, a dermatology specialist at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson, told Banner Health that keratosis pilaris disappears as you age, you can still treat it with a keratolytic product that contains lactic acid, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid.

Use a hydrating body wash and a lightweight moisturizer

Repairing a dry skin barrier is simple; choose hydrating cleansers infused with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and glycerin instead of bar soaps that strip your skin. You should also avoid body washes that have fragrances in them, especially if you have sensitive skin. Fragrances can irritate your skin and cause eczema flare-ups. Before you try any new product, it's always a good idea to do a patch test to ensure your skin will be able to handle the product all over your body.

An oil-based cleanser or shower gel is best to help keep moisture in dry skin; look for ones that have ceramides in them. Avene XeraCalm Cleansing Oil is fragrance-free and nourishes your skin. The La Roche-Posay Lipikar Wash AP+ is also an excellent body wash for all skin types. It's fragrance-free and has shea butter and glycerin to boost hydration.

Once you're out of the shower, apply your lotion right away while your skin is still damp to lock in the oils and moisture. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michael Kaminer told Juara that your skin will soak up the moisturizer better when slightly damp. And remember that thick, heavy moisturizers aren't always the way to go; instead opt for lotions with ceramides and glycerin to give you the best hydration.

Exfoliate your body as needed for your skin type

Body scrubs are contradictory when it comes to using them on your skin. While they feel good, help reduce bumps, and eliminate dead skin cells, some body scrubs can be too harsh. Exfoliating your body is vital to keep your skin feeling smooth and soft, but how often you do it depends on your skin type as you want to prevent damaging your skin barrier. As New York City dermatologist Dr. Robert Anolik told Goop, "If you have very dry or sensitive skin, you might want to do it less frequently. If you're not sensitive or have oily skin, your skin can withstand — and should benefit from — a bit more."

When exfoliating, you don't have to stick to body scrubs; you can also use different physical exfoliators, such as a dry brush or a sugar brush. Chemical exfoliants with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are also an option and are often gentler since they're liquid formulas you apply to the skin. These can help remove dead skin cells and brighten your skin. There are a few products that combine physical and chemical exfoliants into one. Nécessaire's Body Exfoliator includes glycolic acid and works as a scrub. 

You'll want to use different exfoliators for different parts of your body. For example, your back and chest may benefit from chemical types, your legs can withstand physical exfoliators, and your bikini line needs a gentle serum to target ingrown hairs.

Brighten dull skin post-shower

When you get breakouts on your face, you know it's crucial not to pick at them, or they will leave behind dark spots and scars. The same thing happens to the rest of your body. If you have acne on your back and don't treat it properly, you'll end up with dark spots. In addition, not applying sunscreen to your face and body can give you dull, uneven skin. UV rays are powerful and can damage your skin, leaving you with blotches and hyperpigmentation. While dry brushing can help eliminate dead skin cells and reveal a new layer of skin, sunscreen helps protect your skin at all times and can help prevent skin flare-ups of eczema and rosacea.

Other body parts, like your underarms, can become discolored by the deodorant you use and shaving. Dark underarms can make you insecure and stop you from wearing tank tops or tube tops, but there are ways to lighten them using chemical exfoliants. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman told Birdie he recommends avoiding "physical exfoliants with rough pieces, as you don't want to cause microtears in the skin." The Ordinary's Glycolic Acid Toner is a gentler alternative that has gone viral on TikTok for treating underarm hyperpigmentation. When using chemical exfoliants such as this, remember to gently apply it on the area without rubbing harshly.