Friendly reminder: Your skin does not stop at your neck. Which means, that diligent regimen you’re doing on the regular up top should absolutely extend to the rest of your body. The first place to start? Your legs, says New York City dermatologist Howard Sobel, MD. “You see your face in the mirror all the time, but you rarely look at your legs and are more likely to neglect them.” Pretty much. Here, a play-by-play of exactly what to do in and out of the shower.
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1. Don’t forget protection.
Daily sunscreen is pretty obvious when you’re trying to prevent facial wrinkles, but for full body anti-aging, you need to protect every sliver of skin that sees the sun—legs included, says Washington, D.C. dermatologist Rebecca Kazin , M.D.. “Especially in warmer weather when we start wearing clothes that leave them exposed.” Get in the habit of applying a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 every day; if you really can’t be bothered with another step, choose a formula that doubles as a moisturizer like Banana Boat Protect & Hydrate SPF 50. Be sure to use a quarter-size amount per leg and pay extra attention to the backs of your legs, toes, and the soles of your feet, says Dr. Sobel, where “skin cancers frequently turn up.” And if you’re outside or sweating a lot, reapply every two hours.
2. Prep legs for shaving.
Starting with steam is the simplest pre-shave move you can do. And all it takes is hopping in a hot (not scalding) shower for five minutes, says Dr. Kazin. “Warming up your skin loosens pores and softens skin, making it less irritating to shave.” Now, you’re going to want to slough off all the dead skin that would otherwise build up, potentially causing ingrown hairs post-shave. Dr. Sobel suggests reaching for a glycolic acid-based exfoliator (grainy scrubs can be too abrasive before shaving) like to get rid of flakes gently. A heads up that “the knees can accumulate thicker dead skin sells,” so let the formula sit a few extra minutes before rinsing.
3. Take your time.
Don’t rush, especially over tricky spots like ankles, knees, and shins. Using hydrating products like Skintimate Signture Scents Raspberry Rain Shave Gel and the Schick Hydro Silk Razor will also help you get a close shave (the latter can keep skin moisturized for up to two hours post-shave).
4. Load up on lotion.
This is the point where you need to douse your legs in glorious hydration, since “the skin on the body has fewer sebaceous glands and tends to be much drier than the skin on the face,” explains Dr. Kazin. Plus, “hydrated legs will look and feel smoother.” Choosing a rich cream with hyaluronic acid like helps, but the real trick is to apply it as soon as you get out of the shower when skin’s still damp. “Allowing the water to evaporate off the skin without adding moisture will lead to dehydration and scaliness,” she warns.
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