We all know that skincare concerns often don't stop at the face. Bumps, lumps, and pretty much anything else can show up anywhere they dang well please on our bodies, too. This is where targeted bodycare products come in—a beauty category that's been gaining more and more momentum in recent years. Although I naturally approached the idea of targeted bodycare with a healthy dose of skepticism, the experts I consulted reveal they can actually add an effective boost to your routine, depending on what area or type of concern you're looking to target. (If you're interested in that kind of thing, of course!)
Board-certified dermatologist, Elyse Love, MD, says, "targeted bodycare is a great way to address body skin concerns. Our faces have historically gotten most of the attention from the beauty world, but body skin shares many facial skin concerns [too]." Granted, when asked if she thinks they're worth adding to your routine, she stresses that that's subjective but can definitely be worthwhile.
From another perspective, top New York–based esthetician and head of education at Topicals, Lily Njoroge, also agrees that body-specific treatments deliver better results than using a facial product on the body.
What to Look For in Targeted Bodycare Products:
The first major thing you want to know about targeted bodycare products is that you can opt for a higher concentration of the active ingredients. "The skin on the body is more resilient and can typically tolerate more than the face," Njoroge shares. "[This way] most people are able to use treatments that are more concentrated with stronger actives." Although this is great news, it's also important to be aware when coming across bodycare products that tout themselves as anti-aging wizards.
"[The term anti-aging] is truly a marketing term that preys on people's fear of aging," she says. "[This sometimes] allows brands to slap an exorbitant price tag on 'regular' ingredients, because people will pay to look good and appear seemingly younger. "True aging can never be stopped or reversed with just over-the-counter topicals. Only medical treatments like Botox, fillers, retinoids, microneedling, chemical peels, or procedures like Morpheus8 can reverse visible signs of aging, but still only to a certain degree."
Njoroge also notes that premature aging caused by UV and particulate matter-induced cellular damage is a bit different and can be prevented and reversed to a certain degree. In short, this is what most would call free radical damage. That's where antioxidants come in: They prevent any harm from being done to your cells by "donating" an electron to stabilize the free radical. That being said, Njoroge always stresses this specific kind of protection.
"I advise that people focus on body treatments that target their concerns and provide them with antioxidant protection. It doesn't have to have an anti-aging label to have 'anti' aging benefits. A [true] 'anti' aging product is one that promotes healthy cell turnover and collagen synthesis and protects your skin's barrier, that's it. And really, the number one anti-aging product we all need is SPF. That should be advised more than super-pricey serums that aren't really unique in any way."
Now that you're armed with this insight, there are a few other things to consider when selecting a product for your skincare concerns. Njoroge always thinks it's important to look for a well-rounded formula. "Make sure they have a bit of everything and not too much of one particular group of ingredients," she says. "You want something that promotes cell turnover, but simultaneously promotes a healthy moisture barrier to prevent excessive dryness and mitigate irritation. Additionally, you want something that has ingredients that are proven to target your specific concerns. If you have body acne, look for something with AHAs or salicylic acid. If you're looking to brighten hyperpigmentation, a product with a mixture of tyrosinase inhibitors is best. For wrinkles and fine lines on the body, retinol is your best friend."
Using Njoroge's advice, I've selected the best targeted bodycare products for a few major skincare concerns below. Scroll through and find the right one for you.
The Target: Loss of Firmness
The Mutha Body Contour Serum is packed with AHAs, hyaluronic acid, coffee extract, and other natural ingredients to act as a true multihyphenate. It tightens and firms the skin while helping to clear up any body blemishes and bumps. It's also a personal favorite of mine that I never skip after a shower.
I want to preface this by saying that cellulite is not bad. It's completely normal and anyone who would like to embrace it should proudly stand by that. That being said, I also recognize that some may not love it and would like a little help reducing it. Clarins's Body Fit formula works wonders to sculpt and tighten the skin in places you may need a little extra lift.
The Target: Dull & Dry Skin
The Target: Acne
This clearing clay treatment features 10% sulfur and 1% zinc PCA to powerfully clear the skin. Given that it's clay, it might make it a bit messier. It is, however, worth it for clear skin all over or works well as a spot treatment for other pesky bumps.
Njoroge always recommends this supercharged mist. "It's packed with exfoliating actives such as glycolic acid and kojic acid. It also has protective and reparative antioxidants like licorice root extract and camellia sinensis (green tea). The anti-inflammatory properties from the ingredient centella asiatica are also great for those with body acne."
The Target: Wrinkles