Okay doctor, we got the memo—we know the sun is going to shrivel us like raisins and tattoo us like circus ladies. But, let’s be real. For some of us, basking and frolicking and sporting outdoors is simply a way of life. For others, sun-worshipping is a necessary vice (there are worse depravities, that’s for certain!). Sure, we might swathe our faces in SPF and hat up like it’s our job, but we often forget that protecting the body is just as important — and can perhaps prove harder — than shielding the visage. According to Nancy Samolitis, MD, FAAD, and co-founder of Facile Dermatology + Boutique, even sunscreen has its limitations; the only truly effective way to combat the sun’s tirade is to wear head-to-toe sun-protective clothing. “Although sunscreen products may prevent sunburns, there’s always some degree of aging and sun damage when your skin is exposed to any UV light,” Dr. Samolitis says. The gist? Even if you bathe in SPF, you basically need to wear a monk’s robes 24/7 for your body to not show signs of aging.
Yeah, not happening. So, once the inevitable signs start rearing their ugly heads — aka crepey skin and a barrage of spots — we all start scrambling for the reversal cures. SOS-mode, if you will. For those times, we have a brilliant duh of a hack (you can thank us later). We all know the positive effects retinol has on the face. But were you aware that it’s like gold for your body too? Yep it’s true.
The only disclaimer, according to Dr. Samolitis, is that retinol needs to be blended with a moisturizer if you’re using it on areas other than your face. “Because we produce less oil on the body, the skin may be more sensitive to retinol, so I recommend using a product that is designed for the body or blending facial retinol with a moisturizer to prevent dryness and irritation,” she says. Not only does this step provide hydration, it helps to spread it a bit further over the body (side note: this is budget-friendly good news!). Dr. Sam’s own retinol formulation plays especially well with hydrators. “Facile’s Reverse serum contains a potent formulation of my favorite anti-aging ingredients including retinol, vitamin C and niacinamide,” she says. “To use it on the body, I recommend blending one dropper full of Reverse with one pump of Dew You serum.” If you’re looking for an option specifically designed for the body, her patients also love Dermend Fragile Skin Moisturizing Formula, a cream designed to treat sun-damaged and fragile skin on the body.
So everyone breathe a collective, full-body sigh of relief. No one needs to wear a superhero suit or embrace a quarantine-style social life to maintain below-the-neck youth. Simply employ a retinol regimen as diligent as a nightly facial routine, and the battle is half-won.