With spring rapidly approaching and limb-bearing weather finally in the foreseeable future, it couldn’t be a more perfect time to talk about body-care. More specifically: The best ways to treat and prevent different bumps and textural issues that may occur on the body. To complicate matters, the stress of the pandemic — plus working and sitting at home more — may be contributing to a rise in breakouts, research shows, and not just that on your face.
Of course, it’s worth pointing out that there are myriad conditions that can affect the skin on our limbs — that being said, today, we’ll be covering extremely common ones, including ingrowns, keratosis pilaris, dry patches due to eczema, body breakouts, and folliculitis, that impact people of all ages and races. Here, you’ll find a breakdown of each epidermal concern and their respective causes, as well as insight from experts on how to prevent and treat them ahead of spring.
“Ingrowns develop when the free edge of a hair does not clear the skin and instead grows back into it,” explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “This can cause a skin-colored bump, or in some cases, a red angry nodule if it gets inflamed or infected.” The pesky, pimple-like bumps typically develop in areas where people tend to remove hair most, says Zeichner, like the bikini area or legs.
Often called KP, keratosis pilaris is an incredibly common condition, affecting up to 50 percent of the population, in which dead cells build up within our follicles and lead to a “chicken skin” appearance. “KP is characterized by small, rough bumps most commonly found on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and back,” says Shari Marchbein, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “While it’s considered a normal skin variant, KP is an indication of sensitive or dry skin and is often found in the same patients who suffer from eczema or dry skin.”
While you might know how to handle breakouts on your face, those on your body can be a little more stubborn. And if you have zits appearing on your chest, back, or even butt, you’re not alone — research shows that roughly 47% of people get body breakouts. It’s often due to sweat trapped under your clothes (think your sports bra after a workout, for example) or even friction. (Acne-like bumps on your chest and back could also be folliculitis — more on that below.)
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“Dry patches are most commonly caused by eczema, a condition where the skin barrier is not working as well as it should be, leading to loss of hydration and inflammation,” explains Marchbein of the widespread skin issue. She adds: “The skin may get dry, flaky, red, or itchy, and it may be caused by genetics — that, or exposure to external factors like irritants and allergens.”
Folliculitis is often mistaken for conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and body breakouts, as it’s characterized by pus-filled or red angry bumps that can look similar to that of the aforementioned afflictions. “Folliculitis is inflammation and bacterial overgrowth centered around hair follicles,” explains Marchbein. “We can get this from sweating, friction, wearing tight clothing, not showering after exercising, waxing and shaving with dull or dirty razor blades, as well as plucking out hairs.” In regards to where you’ll find folliculitis, Marchbein says it typically occurs in the buttocks and bikini area, as well as sometimes the legs.
How to address body-care concerns
First and foremost: If any of the above conditions are proving chronic or severe, you should definitely visit your dermatologist to devise a multi-pronged treatment approach. For instance, Marchebin explains that, much like acne, folliculitis can be chronic and often requires a combo of over-the-counter and prescription medications to really kick it to the curb. The same can be said for ingrowns. “Inflamed ingrowns may require topical antibiotics like OTC bacitracin ointment or a prescription version from your dermatologist,” says Zeichner. “Your doctor may also give a cortisone injection to the inflamed skin.”
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With that said, simply keeping the skin clean and appropriately hydrated can definitely help to improve and combat these issues, as well as body breakouts, dry patches and KP. In fact, Marcbein says that moisturizing alone can make the appearance of keratosis pilaris look and feel better because it softens and calms the rough bumps. “Look for hydrating ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides,” advises Marchbein. “Also, lotions containing AHAs and BHAs can be especially helpful in softening the bumps associated with KP.”
Ditto for dry patches and eczema, considering any product that conditions and soothes can help improve a compromised barrier, thus leading to happier skin. “You want to stick to moisturizers that hydrate and protect the skin,” says Zeichner. “And if they aren’t working, visit your dermatologist for professional help.”
To that end: If you got the green light from your dermatologist to treat your textural issues at home sans medication, then we highly suggest trying our brand-new Watermelon Glow Pink Dream Body Cream. Not only is it made with multiple types of hyaluronic acid to soften dry, distressed skin, but it also contains hibiscus AHA — a natural alternative to chemical exfoliants that offers gentle smoothing — as well as supreme soothing agents like watermelon extract and coffeeberry. That super-gentle exfoliating action helps keep dead cells out of pores, thus mitigating body breakouts. On top of that, the psoriasis-approved moisturizer features antioxidant-rich watermelon seed butter to help skin hold on to moisture, along with bacuri butter to support skin optimal barrier strength.
Oh, and did we mention it smells like the sweetest, juiciest watermelon in the world? Because well, it truly does. Scent aside though, this unique and powerful combination of ingredients aids in hydrating, exfoliating, and soothing the skin all at once, subsequently resulting in fewer textural issues, irritation, and dryness. And, it’s clean and safe for all skin types, too — even hypersensitive, so everyone can benefit from this beautiful, fruit-infused formula.