Beauty marketing has always been targeted towards skincare, body care, and hair care. And rightly so, since these are the parts of our bodies that are visible to others. But we have other body parts too—and they need just as much love, care, and maintenance as their more visible counterparts.
And don’t get me wrong, it’s not about looking good. Every day we’re bombarded by heavily edited images of good-looking models with perfect skin and bodies, and it would be unhealthy for us to try to aspire for some unrealistic ideal. Taking care of our bodies should not be about aesthetics; it should be about making sure that we’re healthy. If we’re fit from the inside, then a glowing appearance will follow. Looking good is a positive side effect of being healthy. It’s the same for the often-neglected parts of our body.
Here are some areas in our bodies that are often neglected and how you can start caring for them now.
It’s easy to forget about your back completely—after all, you can’t see or reach it. But it would be a mistake to continue neglecting your back since it’s prone to acne. Our backs are always inundated with dead skin cells and other acne-causing bacteria. They also carry a lot of strain—they hold us up when we stand or sit, when we move things, and when we hunch over our desks all day long.
To care for your back, consider getting into yoga. Research suggests that it helps improve chronic lower back pain and posture. As for washing, purchase a gentle back scrubber or back loofah. You can also use them to apply lotion and other moisturising products to your back.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 31% of adults aged 20 to 44 have untreated dental caries. It seems that oral health often gets lost in discussions of self-care and physical health, which is unfortunate because oral hygiene is an integral part of being healthy in the time of COVID-19.
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and make a habit of flossing and using mouthwash. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist at all times. And when your teeth are perfectly healthy, consider going for teeth whitening. A perfect set of pearly whites can help boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Our underarms are incredibly prone to emitting body odour, and yet it’s a body part that’s often forgotten about. Our armpits have so much to offer to harmful bacteria—they’re warm, moist, and usually dark—the holy trinity of spaces where bacteria can thrive. With bacteria’s presence comes stink, especially when they come across sweat, producing what we know as body odour.
To start caring for your underarms, do a simple three-step routine:
- Exfoliate. Use a gentle loofah or scrub; a dry brush can work too. Do it once a week and do it gently—the last thing you want to do is irritate the skin.
- Prime. Like the primer you use on your skin, an underarm primer can prep your skin for deodorant and help to balance the pH.
- Use deodorant. Not all deodorants are created equal—a lot of these products work differently with different people since everyone’s body chemistry is not the same. Be in touch with your armpits’ needs. Do you have bumps or chicken skin? Is the skin sensitive? Do natural products not work to combat the odour? Don’t be afraid to explore until you find a product that works not only to fight the stink but also to improve your skin.
Elbows and knees
Our elbows and knees, much like our armpits, are also prone to common skin issues like chicken skin, hyperpigmentation caused by excessive sun exposure, melasma, and others. To combat these issues, do this simple long-term routine:
- Cleansing. Don’t forget to thoroughly wash your elbows and knees with soap and water whenever you take a bath or a shower.
- Exfoliating. Just like your back, your elbows and knees also have a lot of dead skin cells that you need to get rid of regularly. Be gentle but still thorough.
- Moisturising. You can use a thicker moisturising product on top of your body lotion.
- Wear sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that we use at least an SPF 30 whenever we go outside.
Beauty and Health Go Hand in Hand
Current research suggests that when we actively maintain our appearance, our emotional and physical well-being are positively impacted. We don’t have to choose one—we can be healthy and beautiful at the same time. Take care of your health from the inside and let it flow on the outside.