Skincare from the Neck Down
When it comes to skincare, most of us tend to put more emphasis on our face than on the rest of our body. That stands to reason—your face makes the first impression and if you’re going to focus your hard-earned money anywhere, that’s a good place to do it—but keeping skin looking radiant from head-to-toe can also go a long way toward helping you look younger and healthier, and feeling more confident.
In this article, we compile the best research for having velvety smooth, revitalized skin from the neck down.
It All Starts with Sunscreen…
Some of the most telltale signs of skin looking older are evident on skin from the neck down: Uneven skin tone, crepey skin, loss of firmness, and spots. This is especially true if you haven’t been diligent about using sunscreen, or if you have been tanning your body as you may have been tanning your face. Either way, it’s never too late to start.
For a quick and easy way to ensure sun protection all over your body (and we can’t stress this enough), consider our EXTRA CARE Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50. It’s a lightweight, invisible-finish formula that provides broad-spectrum protection to help reduce the risk of signs of early skin aging. No other skincare product but sunscreen can assert that claim!
In addition to sun protection, the skin on your body will stay looking and feeling wonderfully radiant using the same types of formulations you use on your face: Antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, soothing agents, retinol, enriching oils, and butters are essential to your skin, especially dry skin. You’re more likely to experience dryness on skin from the neck down, even if you have oily or combination skin on your face.
To address those needs, our RESIST Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment is a phenomenal anti-aging lotion that delivers a combination of the best moisturizing ingredients available. It absorbs quickly, but still leaves a silky-smooth feel on skin!
Below we present our other top picks for products to address your most common body-skin concerns.
Clear Up Body Acne
Anyone who struggles with breakouts on their back (the dreaded “bacne”), neck, thighs, or booty knows all too well how frustrating and stubborn they are. The research is clear: Blemishes, whether on the face or the body, need the same skincare ingredients. This is what you need to know:
- Avoid bar soaps. The ingredients in bar cleansers can clog pores, dry the skin, and make red areas worse!
- Don’t use abrasive body scrubs or loofahs. Acne cannot be scrubbed away; using abrasive products on it can make it worse.
- Use a gentle water-soluble cleanser that doesn’t contain oils or fragrance (fragrance is not skin-friendly, whether natural or synthetic). Our PC4Men Body Wash meets those criteria, and don’t let the name deter you—it works beautifully for women, too.
- Apply a well-formulated BHA exfoliant (active ingredient salicylic acid) to breakout-prone areas. Our CLEAR Acne Body Spray with 2% Salicylic Acid is a game changer for breakouts. It's formulated to exfoliate to clear pores deeply, even skin prone to milia. It’s one of the few on the market that’s non-irritating, and the spray has a 360-degree nozzle that you can hold upside down if necessary to cover every part of your back and other hard-to-reach areas.
- Follow up with a benzoyl peroxide product, such as our CLEAR Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide. Abundant research shows that benzoyl peroxide is the gold standard when it comes to reducing stubborn acne, wherever it lurks on your body.
Get Rid of Bumpy Skin and Hard, Clogged Pores
This very common problem involves tiny, hard, raised, clogged pores typically found on the upper arms, thighs, shoulders, and back. Basically, these are clogged pores that become solid and then often become red and aggravated. Unclogging them and following up with a soothing skincare routine is the key to getting smoother skin.
For this type of problem a BHA lotion, like our RESIST Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA, is ideal—you won’t believe your eyes after just a few days of use. It helps improve the appearance of dry, rough, bumpy skin and it is even suitable for skin prone to keratosis pilaris. It also contains soothing agents for double the benefit. The best part? You can wear sleeveless tops again!
In addition to following the vitally important recommendation above, it’s also imperative that you avoid bar soaps (which can make clogged pores worse) and use a gentle body wash instead. Keep in mind: You can’t scrub away the plugs, but you can make them worse. Scrubbing will only make them mad—then they really won’t go away, leaving clogged pores stubbornly where they are.
Diminish Uneven Skin Tone (Especially on Your Hands)
Daily sun protection for all exposed areas is critical to keeping your skin young and healthy-looking and, most important, reducing the risk of early signs of aging. Although the results of past neglect are probably already showing up on your skin, most certainly on your hands and arms, starting to use sunscreen now will make a world of difference going forward. It’s not too late to get sun-smart!
You will be stunned at how much you can fade brown spots by using a skin-lightening product that contains hydroquinone, such as our RESIST Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser 2% BHA Gel. Apply it to discolorations over any part of your face or body at night, and then make sure to follow up with broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) in the morning. Remember, without diligent use of a sunscreen, any skin-lightening product doesn’t stand a chance!
Have another skincare concern for your body? Find more of our Paula’s Choice Body Care picks here.
References for this information:
Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology, September 2016, pages 1480-1490; and August 2006, pages 781-7
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, September 2016, pages 1121-1123
Dermatology Research and Practice, February 2015, ePublication
Dermatology, May 2014, pages 314-325
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2013, pages 16-26
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, June 2011, pages 45-55
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, February 2000, pages 21-52
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!