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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Skincare: Body

As with my facial skincare [main and supplementary routines], the goal is to keep my naturally very dry skin moisturised without irritation, an especially tricky proposal in winter, so that I can then forget about it and use my hands for other things than scratching myself to death.


CLEANSE
A soap-free, non-drying body wash makes a huge difference to how comfortable my skin feels -- I've learned through experience that even the richest moisturisers afterwards can't compensate for a harsh cleanser. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Surgras [ingredients] is my current favourite; for summer / humid climates / active bouts of eczema or irritation, I switch over to the lighter Lipikar Syndet [ingredients]. Please note that both of these shower gels contain niacinamide, sodium laureth sulfate, and Surgras also contains fragrance. If you dislike products which leave a slight 'film' on the skin, avoid Surgras.
Scrubs can be tricky for delicate skin, but the Haus of Gloi Soft Bubbling Scrubs are a good balance of effective and gentle for me -- the sugars dissolve quickly enough into a light, clean-rinsing foam that even a bout of overenthusiastic buffing [me + sugar + bubbles = enthusiasm an ever-present danger....] won't leave skin red or chapped. The dinky 2oz. sample sizes are a perfect way to experiment with the plethora of HoG scents on offer, and each $3.50 tub, used once weekly, lasts me a full month.
Haus of Gloi Honeysuckle Lemon Curd Soft Bubbling Scrub ingredients 
If a slightly stronger exfoliant is needed for elbows, knees and arse, I reach for FuturePrimitive Soap Co. Bubbling Sugar Scrubs, which are a bit more scrubby and a bit less foamy than the Haus of Gloi Bubbling ones, but which are gentler than the Haus Emulsifying Scrubs. The Future Primitive scrubs also rinse clean, and their scents tend to suit my olfactory preferences more (and layer better with my perfumes) than the foodier Haus of Gloi offerings; being a UK indie brand, there is quicker/cheaper shipping to enjoy as well.
FuturePrimitive Soap Co. Urchin Girl Bubbling Sugar Scrub ingredients 
As a general rule of thumb for dry, sensitive skin, keep your showers short and not too hot, and shower in the evening so that your skin can dry properly and absorb any moisturisers before being exposed to cold winter air.


MOISTURISE
But with my holy grail moisturiser, I just have to shut up and cough up the price of international shipping every few months. Having tried every readily available option, and many an indie one besides, Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butters remain the best at keeping my skin soft, comfortable and eczema-free. While not the thickest or most emollient, they are definitely the most efficient body butters I've tried, and the gorgeous 'whipped' texture is light enough to smooth with no effort in no time at all (no boring 'warming between hands' or 'rubbing' or other esoteric and faintly kinky speshul application skillz required), and sinks in immediately even in a humid Hong Kong summer.
Haus of Gloi Aether Pumpkin Butter ingredients
Never a fan of gourmand scents, most of the Haus flavours are far too sweet for me (the scents I can enjoy in a scrub are magnified in pumpkin butter form), so my usual seasonal order (a 6 oz. jar lasts me a month) consists of two tubs of the unscented Aether and one other for variety. Apothecary (shown here) is mostly lemongrass on a faintly woody-herbaceous base, and my other favourite from the permanent line; noses being subjective, this light citrus might smell more 'neutral' to some than Aether, with its untempered shea/pumpkin/coconut components.
For enquiring minds, the limited edition seasonal scents I do like and repurchase: Three Treasures, Snow Wolf and Plotter's Breakfast (Yule), Samhain (Fall) and Something Hopeful (Valentine's, sometimes -- I hope they bring this back next year).


HANDS AND FEET
...don't necessarily require special / additional products, so listen to your own skin. Since I have Raynaud's (which affects extremities), do a lot with my hands and walk everywhere, separate products do help. Herby Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Hand Recovery (a coarse-grained salt scrub which leaves palms and cuticles soft and coated in oils -- I wouldn't use this on the thin skin on the backs of hands) and Hand Therapy (a matte, instantly absorbed but effective moisturiser) have been staples for years. I use the scrub once a week and keeps tubs of the cream everywhere -- I can get on with whatever I want to do immediately after application without leaving sticky, greasy handmarks.
In my bag, a rotation of travel-sized Japanese drugstore handcreams -- currently Shiseido Hand Cream -- which are usually scent-free, quickly absorbed to wear under gloves and carefully packaged never to explode/spill all over the rest of the stuff I tote around.
CCS Heel Balm contains 20% urea, higher than most UK drugstore offerings, and slathered overnight over feet (optionally topped with cotton socks) helps to keep them soft and prevent cracks.


EMERGENCIES
I was prescribed both of these basic treatment creams by doctors: Womnale DX II is a healing Japanese drugstore 20%-urea-and-hyaluronic acid mix (miraculously elegant texture for a urea cream and never stings), while Diprobase is a barrier-forming paraffin ointment, cheap as chips in the UK. All the blather above ensures that I rarely suffer from eczema / chilblains / cracked and chafed skin any more, but I still keep these around as insurance: a quick slather when early warning signs of sore skin manifest usually nips things in the bud.

28 comments:

  1. You have my eternal gratitude for having introduced me to Haus of Gloi last year. I now use Aether body butter on the body (when I can be bothered, bad me!) and Lavender Sugar body butter as a hand cream, I love that particular smell. I need to try one of the scrubs, even though right now I'm still in love with the Ren Guerande Salt one but it can be a bit harsh.

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    1. That Ren scrub smells SO GOOD though. I can't use it but I visit it in the shops all the time :D

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  2. I'm laughing over here, because it sounds like a lot of your favorites are oh-so-similar to mine! I also love the Haus of Gloi bubbling scrubs and pumpkin butters. I really enjoy Absinthe as a scrub for the energizing quality it has, but otherwise your scent picks are largely the same as mine ... except I love Pumpkin Queen; I wonder if it's an American thing?
    I'm jotting down FuturePrimitive for future reference.
    I've discovered a new favorite for feet - Suti Fabulous Foot Balm. Nothing fancy like urea, but apparently my feet love it, and a little bit goes an almost alarmingly long way. (Yes it's a 'balm' but it melts pretty much instantly in your hands.)

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    1. I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say! :D Absinthe is tolerable to me but because I shower at night and have terrible insomnia as it is, invigorating isn't a great idea :/

      I am not totally anti balm :D I like the Boots Botanics one as a top-up. Just can't be arsed to use them all over my body, but this Suti requires googling.

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  3. My favourite body moisturiser for parts of me that sorely need it (knees, elbows, feet) is lanolip's golden ointment. it's pricey but it's goooooood.

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    1. This sounds amazing (I really rate their intense rose hand cream) but I would be so tempted to franken it from unbranded lanolin, manuka and vit e!

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  4. Fantastic post! I just received my Haus of Gloi pumpkin butters in the mail yesterday, thanks to board recs - so excited to try them out! It doesn't get very cold here, but it's quite dry, which is probably why I get so dry/itchy in winter.

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    1. Let me know how you get on :D
      I thought I wouldn't need these in a HK summer but the aircon made me scrabble to reorder.

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  5. I love reading your skin articles Kate!

    I use Lipikar Syndet as a facewash in the morning and I use urea ointment (prescribed by my doctor) as a body lotion or a body lotion with 15% urea in it or I simply use Neutral baby oil (when Im in a rush). It all gets me through the frikkin cold winters.

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    1. <3
      That's the problem with urea creams, most are so difficult to work into the skin and I get tempted to skip moisturiser :/

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  6. I too am a Haus of Gloi convert! I love that the pumpkin butters are so incredibly soft and creamy - not like TBS Body Butters, which consistency varies wildly from creamy to almost hard.

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    1. \o/ Yes! They are effortless to apply, which makes it a pleasure :D

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  7. Soo...I read this and instantly ordered a few pumpkin butters from Haus of Gloi (you're so damn persuasive). THANK YOU KATE! I have eczema and have been in the market for something effective. These sound amazing! And love that their indie. The shipping costs for me in Canada were pretty good. I can't wait to get my goodies :)

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    1. aw yay :D I hope they work for you! I've tried every drugstore 'specialist' eczema cream around and these are more effective and much more pleasurable to use.

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  8. Wow I never thought there was anyone else with crazy skin. Mine is just like yours a pain the butt...

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  9. Hmm, another Haus of Gloi fan. I'm intrigued! Also the Lipikar. So far I've been using Mustela line for baby, both body shampoo and eczema cream, they work wonder on my eczema-prone skin.

    Claire

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    1. I've seen Mustela around, must check out the ingredient list :D

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  10. HoG Pumpkin butter is the best body stuff ever. It stops my shins going scratchy in the winter, and scratchy shins are a lot more painful than they sound. PS - next Halloween, try Spider Silk, not foody at all.

    Have you ever tried Emu Oil for your feet? It's a bit disgustingly like rubbing on chicken fat, but it sorts out my heels like nothing else. I put a few drops of May Chang essential oil in the bottle to cut through the fatty smell.

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    1. ....I am morbidly curious now. And googling images of overenthused emus.

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  11. I am going to try HoG because I love scrubs and lotions, I don't think the butter is going to work for me though, I don't need so much moisture in my skin. On the other hand I have really dry feet and hands, I use hand cream every time I wash them. I have been using the same one for ages, the same as my mum, my feet cream has 15% urea that's enough in the winter...over the summer I complemented with rosehip oil.

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    1. They do make a lighter milk moisturiser -- emulsions :) They go on like water but aren't rich enough for me.

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  12. Count me in as another Haus of Gloi fan! The pumpkin butters are the only thing that worked for me in North Dakota winters. A subscriber recently told me that the body emulsions are just as moisturizing and cheaper, but also sort of "hold" the perfume better (I've found that the pumpkin butter version of Peach Mama doesn't smell quite right, alas). Perhaps we should endeavor to try those. ;)

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    1. Oh hai miss :*
      I tried a few emulsions and they weren't moisturising enough for me (started getting itchy in the afternoon) but they did pack a bigger whack of scent IIRC. :)

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  13. I love your skincare posts! Finally ordered some Haus of Gloi- excited to try it. I've always stuck with the cheap stuff (Cetaphil in the tub) because I use so much, but maybe I'll use less of a higher quality potion *fingers crossed*

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    1. Whee :D I hope you like them! V. addictive hobby.
      Sadly Cetaphil doesn't work for me -- it seems to just 'sit' on top of my skin and never really address the underlying issue.

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  14. I like the look of Haus of Gloi... cane sugar - oh my! Sounds yummy!

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