Oil Versus Lotion

by CATHERINE COSTER

People usually care more for their face than for their body. Just looking at how many products are available on the market to treat and cleanse the face versus body’s skin, it is obvious that there is an important discrimination towards 80% of your total skin surface!

Nevertheless, as a beauty expert, when I look at someone, I like to consider him/her as a whole and the areas that usually reflect someone’s age the most, more than the face, are actually the chest, the hands & arms.

Treating your body skin is as important as your face. Because we use clothes that protect our body’s skin from UV rays and other external aggressions, we tend to neglect it in our daily routine but if not moisturized and exfoliated properly, it will certainly show the first signs of aging before you know it… And all men love to touch a soft and silky body, so there are a lot of reasons to start considering your body assets!

A very simple but “must-do” routine would be:

  • Shower with a gentle body soap and use exfoliating gloves on rougher areas such as back of the arms, elbows, knees and feet. The use of an exfoliating cream once a week, is still recommended, as the micro beads due to their shape will have a more “detailed” effect and they are also often enriched with emollient ingredients leaving the skin polished but not as dry.
  • Then after each shower, always use a body lotion or body oil just like you would put a moisturizer on your face. For the longest time, I thought that it would take me longer every morning to put cream on my body after  the shower and that it would make me run late for work – It was just an excuse as I was running late whether I was putting body lotion on or not.

And believe me, once your body is soft and shiny after a few days of this regimen, you will think it is worth the extra minutes you need to apply your body treats!

Your skin produces natural oils in order to protect you from external aggressions, but also to create a “waterproof” film so it keeps the water and good stuff inside your skin. When you lose your natural oils, often due to taking hot showers, drying shower gels or soaps (that give you a very clean feel but are actually acting like a detergent), no matter how much water you drink, it will evaporate and leave you with a dry, itchy and rough skin. That being said, every skin type need hydration.  We all use shower gels and soap to wash, and chances are that most of us take at least one shower a day, which is way faster than the rate our skin can reproduce its natural lipid barrier to protect itself.

Now, as I am often being asked, is it better to use a body oil, body lotion, or body balm?

I would say it depends on three things: texture preferences, level of dehydration and desired look.

Oils will recreate your skin’s natural lipid barrier and help retain the water in your skin from evaporating. Look on the labels if the oil contains grape seed extracts, jojoba oil or coconut oil, which are excellent nourishing ingredients. I prefer not to recommend products with the use of palm oil for environmental reasons, as it is the major cause for deforestation and production of greenhouse gases, consequently global warming, but it remains unfortunately predominantly available in most beauty products.

Body balms often come with Shea Butter as a main active ingredient. It has great “waterproof” properties and the balm texture is easy to apply. Shea butter has natural sun filtering properties, but very minimal, such as SPF 6 or less. It also works great to prevent stretch marks.

Lotions and creams are emulsions, which means they are made of oils combined with water and water-soluble actives.  Due to the instable nature of the mixture, lotions and creams need preservatives to keep the product homogeneous, so they are not as environmental friendly as oils or balms are.

But they provide great emollient properties for dry and dryer skin, and conveniently penetrate easily and fast into the skin especially on rough areas (elbows, knees and feet)

Because of their fast absorbency, the shiny and silky look on the skin disappears quite fast after application. So if you are going for the golden legs look, use body oil rather than a lotion!

As I have become more and more concerned by the impact of cosmetic products production on the environment, I prefer to recommend organic products that are as safe for our planet as they should be for us.