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Skin Science

Your body skincare plan: How to care for your neck, elbows and hands

An Asian woman applies a body skincare cream to her dry elbows.
Liz Thompson
Liz Thompson May, 21, 2020

Freelance writer, green beauty expert, coffee drinker, beach bum wannabe

Let's talk skincare. Your mind probably went to your face just now, but we want to focus on all the other areas of your body. They deserve just as much attention!

Have you ever thought about moisturizing your neck? Exfoliating your elbows? Protecting your hands from UV exposure? It's a good idea to address all of these areas (and many others). Body skincare is about more than beauty — your skin acts as a protective shield, and it has to stay healthy in order to feel vibrant and look radiant.

Perhaps your neck looks a bit less elastic than it used to. Or maybe your hands are a little red or spotty. It's even possible your elbows have become dark and scaly. None of these issues should alarm you! It's simply time to put body skincare into action.

How to identify damage to your body's skin

Afro-american girl rubbing her elbow, standing in bathroom, reflecting in mirror. Pain and health care concept.You probably know what to look for when the skin on your face is unhappy, but skin damage on your body may not be as noticeable. We've got you covered. Look for these signs on your neck, elbows and hands:

  • Signs of aging. The skin on your neck is thinner and even more delicate than the skin on your face. It also produces less oil. This double whammy makes it one of the first areas to show elasticity loss, sagging and wrinkles.
  • Dryness. Elbows have thicker skin, like heels, so they're prone to dryness as well as callouses and discoloration. This area also takes a good amount of wear and tear due to friction from clothing and bumping up against items. To complicate matters further, your elbows probably get their fair share of sun damage during the warmer months, even if it's not a spot you'd usually think to apply sunscreen.
  • Irritation. Hardworking hands bear the brunt of daily life — and they show it. Not only are they washed regularly, they're often just as exposed to sun and other environmental factors as your face is. This can lead to dryness, redness, flaking and UV damage. Hands also tend to show signs of aging more quickly than other areas of the body (usually in the form of discoloration and thinning).

Body skincare tips for your neck, elbows and hands

Now that you know how skin issues can develop on different parts of your body, it's time to give yourself the TLC your skin is begging for! Here are body skincare tips you can leverage for a healthier-looking skin on your neck, hands and elbows.

Soothing your neck

This delicate area needs daily care — you can borrow products from your facial regimen here, but be sure they use mild ingredients that hydrate and strengthen skin, like vitamin E. This can improve your skin's elasticity and visibly diminish the appearance of sagging and horizontal lines.

Whatever your routine looks like, antioxidants are an absolute must for the neck. Ingredients such as blackberry extract protect skin from signs of aging and environmental stressors. And if you aren't using sunscreen on your neck, it's time to start! Rub some on to prevent dryness, sagging and discoloration caused by sun damage.

Dealing with dry elbows

Before you slather on the body cream or shea butter to add a dose of moisture to your elbows, this flaky, calloused area calls for some sloughing. Using a loofah or body brush in the shower to exfoliate will prep the skin — so, when you follow your shower up with a yogurt-based body moisturizer that has natural exfoliating properties of its own, those ingredients can get right to keeping skin soft without having to work around dead skin cells.

Finally, don't forget the sunscreen! Applying a hydrating lotion with SPF every single day is the best defense against UV rays and the skin damage they cause.

Softening calloused hands

Hydration is key in keeping hands looking youthful, and vitamin C really shines when it comes to boosting radiance and evening out skin tone. Put these benefits together and treat your digits to a dose of moisture (that includes brightening ingredients) to see diminished dark spots and redness.

Did you know you can mask parts of your body other than your face? Hand and foot masks do everything from providing moisture to restoring chapped skin! Your skin health is in your hands — literally — so schedule a weekly date with yourself to mask your hardest-working body part. Think of this as a 10-minute opportunity to relax and repair.

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