We beauty bloggers are guilty of only talking about the glamorous side of beauty - the latest highlighter, the lipstick of the moment, the best glow-giving skincare etc but what I rarely see mentioned on blogs, Instagram or YouTube is the not so glamorous side of beauty. I'm talking about cellulite, ingrown hairs, chicken skin arms - things that most of us have to deal with but for some reason, nobody seems to talk about! Today, I am sharing with you the products that I use to treat these issues.
Before I start, I want to say that I don't think that any of these issues are things that we should be ashamed of. We're all human and our own worst critics but I think that we are conditioned into believing that only smooth skin is attractive and that lumps and bumps shouldn't be seen but we have to remember that photos in magazines and on Instagram are airbrushed and filtered. The reality is that most people have hang ups. From the perspective of somebody who has been chronically ill for years (bedridden for a lot of time prior to starting this blog), I believe that we should appreciate our bodies and support them rather than criticise or punish them. If there is any area of your body that bothers you, don't say that you hate it, try to change your relationship with it and if some of these products improve your relationship with it then that can only be a good thing!
Cellulite: This is the bane of most women's lives and it affects people of all sizes/weights. Whilst I don't believe that any cream can actually get rid of cellulite, there are a few ways to improve the appearance of it but it is one of those things that you have to keep on top of. Body Brushing daily is a cheap and effective way of improving the appearance of cellulite and for health, in general. It helps to improve blood flow and encourages lymphatic drainage, which in turn improves the appearance of cellulite and provides gentle exfoliation as an added bonus. It should be done daily before showering, starting at the feet and working upwards in long strokes. To increase it's effectiveness, adding a few drops of Legology Cellu-Lite will help to depuff, contour and streamline the legs. I also like to massage this oil into areas of stubborn cellulite with my fingers/knuckles to really concentrate on the area. It's also brilliant to use on the stomach area around period time as it helps to relieve water retention, which I personally suffer from a lot around that time of the month. A little goes a long way with this oil, which is good as it's quite pricey. I also have to mention the gorgeous lemon scent, which is really refreshing and uplifting. Another product that helps to contour the legs and reduce water retention is Legology Air-Lite Daily Lift For Legs. The key is to massage the cream in, starting from the ankles up to the calves and then from knees up to the tops of the thighs and then the buttocks (always working upwards). It's important to really massage it in with your knuckles as this really helps to work the product in and help with drainage. These products aren't cheap but I promise that they are effective once you use them consistently.
Keratosis Pilaris/bumpy skin on upper arms: This is the dry, rough little bumps that can occur on the backs of arms or thighs. They aren't usually itchy, just annoying! The answer to this condition is AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids). There is no point in using a gritty physical exfoliant on this area as it will most probably exacerbate it. Using a body lotion that contains AHAs on a daily basis will help to unclog the pores and make the skin smoother. Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion contains lactic acid, which is a gentle exfoliant and with regular use, you will see an improvement in the bumpy skin on upper arms or thighs. In their clinical trials, 80% of users reported an improvement in just 4 weeks. Another great option is REN AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum. This also contains lactic acid but there is also shea butter and xylitol in the ingredients list, both of which hydrate and nourish the skin so if you have dry skin all over, you will love this serum. It also smells amazing - like zesty oranges, but it isn't too overpowering. With continued use, limbs will be smooth and hydrated. When using AHAs it's important that you don't skip sun protection as your skin will be more prone to burning so this is not a product that you should bring on holiday.
Ingrown hairs: Regular exfoliation is the best way to prevent ingrown hairs. My two recommendations are Ameliorate Skin Smoothing Body Polish and Ameliorate Exfoliating Mitt. The mitt is used on dry skin before showering, in circular motions to exfoliate the skin and regular exfoliation will prevent ingrown hairs. The body polish is a product that I use a few times a week to ensure that my skin is soft and smooth. It combines both physical and chemical exfoliants and is applied to dry skin, left for a few minutes to work, before rinsing. Skin will feel smooth and soft and any products used afterwards will have better absorption. That's how to prevent ingrown hairs but if one appears, don't pick it! Apply a warm compress to reduce inflammation then gently rub a wet face cloth over the area. Use a sterile tweezers to pull the hair out (once a little bit of hair appears, don't go digging), then treat with a dab of diluted tea tree oil Please note that this is what I do but I'm not a doctor so don't take my advice as professional! The key is to prevent ingrown hairs so make sure to exfoliate regularly!
Hard skin on feet: Some of us tend to neglect our feet in winter, but even using foot cream regularly doesn't guarantee that there won't be a build up of hard skin from time to time. Using a foot file on dry skin weekly will remove the buildup of hard skin and callouses. Margaret Dabbs Professional Foot File is easy to use - you just file and see the dead skin cells fly away! Follow up with a foot cream and one that I highly recommend is Margaret Dabbs Foot Hygiene Cream, which doesn't just moisturise the skin, it also has anti-microbial properties, which helps to prevent fungal and bacterial infections. It has a balm to oil texture so I recommend scooping out a small amount and warming it in your hands before massaging into the skin. I have repurchased this foot cream several times, particularly over summer when feet can get sweaty!
Blackheads: I personally don't like squeezing blackheads, but if I have a facial I'm happy for the therapist to perform extractions. The best thing is to prevent them and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, exfoliation is key! The perfect everyday exfoliator is Pixi Glow Tonic, which contains glycolic acid - an AHA that will gently remove dead skin cells from the skin's surface. For a more intense treatment, Alpha-H Liquid Gold can be used 2/3 times weekly. I call Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta pads blackhead and texture removers. They combine five AHA and BHAs, which exfoliate the surface of the skin but also penetrate the pores to declog them. Pores are left clear and refined and the skin also has less texture. If you prefer to use a physical scrub, I have two great products that I can recommend: Lixirskin Soft Clay Rubber and Kate Somerville Exfolikate. Soft Clay Rubber is both a mask and an exfoliant, which you apply to dry skin by massaging or patting into the skin. When the product dries down, you then rub it off with fingertips. At this point, you can squeeze blackheads and then rinse well. If your skin is heavily congested, you can use this as an exfoliant as I've described and then follow by using it as a traditional mask. For a very quick fix, Exfolikate is a great product because it works in two minutes. It combines fruit enzymes with lactic acid and aloe vera, manuka honey, vitamin E and other skin healing and nourishing ingredients. It is applied to the skin, then massaged in and left for up to 2 minutes before rinsing. Skin instantly looks clear and feels smooth with refined pores. A great antidote to dull, congested skin.
Are any of these issue for you? How do you deal with them? Is there any other unglamorous side of beauty that you would like me to blog about? Please let me know in the comments below!
All of these items are available to purchase from Cult Beauty. Some of these products were kindly gifted to me but this is not a paid ad.
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Thanks for reading!