A skin care routine for body: How to protect and maintain healthy skin

Hi Dr. Irwin, Love your website and the scientifically-based, thorough information. I am 48 and just starting to really pay attention to skincare. My question is about a skin care routine for body skin. (As I am already following your suggestions for facial skin and seeing good improvement!) I'm wondering about a good daily routine for body skin. I think I have normal skin, but I do get itchy and flaky on my limbs in the cold, Canadian winter months. I read your blog answers to others about not using anything but water to clean limbs to avoid stripping natural oils, AND using a Cerave moisturizer (I think). Anything else you would suggest in terms of a good daily routine to maintain the overall moisture balance and health of body skin? Thanks! (PS. I ordered your book, too! Can't wait to get it.)

The itchy, dry winter skin is very common, but totally fixable with the right habits, products and care!  I have to say though, that if you live in a very dry, cold climate, it means a bit of work. 🙂

A good skin care routine for body:

  • Shorter showers or baths are good (3-10 minutes),  but hotter water is more drying
  • Gentle lotion cleanser (like Cerave) or gentle soap (like Dove for sensitive skin) only the armpits, groin and head and neck area only.  Don’t “soap” the limbs or trunk – you need your natural oils
  • Once or twice a week, soak 5-10 min in an Epsom salts (2 -4 cups in the bath) or other mineral salt bath – helps  to remove the outer dead layer of skin
  • Once or twice a week, GENTLY exfoliate your body with a wash cloth or gentle loofah. A harsher salt scrub may be used once a month.
  • Every day and every time you get out of the bath or slower, lube lube lube your entire body with cream or lotion.  I like organic ones for this but they can be expensive. Try the Cerave Cream or Cetaphil Cream or Vanicream for more budget alternatives.
  • Creams are better for dry skin than lotions. I recommend SkinMedica Replenish Hydrating Cream.
    Oils can be good also, like this Pevonia Dry Oil Body Moisturizer that I really like for dry skin, and isn’t greasy (wont get your clothes oily).
  • If you are very dry, use creams like Amlactin, Lachydrin or glycolic based body moisturizers.

If you get a rash, it’s generally because you are over scrubbing or allergic to something in the cream.  If it’s not gone in a day or two after stopping , see your doctor!

Hope this helps,  Dr.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!