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Change bathing habits for soft skin

By Al Varela

Dear Al: You have taught me how to exfoliate my face, moisturize and mask it too. I even know how to get lipstick off my teeth. But what about my body? It is dry, flaky and itchy. Especially my back. Can you help?

Whenever I hear of women who have dry, itchy skin, I picture the pioneer women who would make lye soap to use in their daily hygiene ritual. Although we still use soaps today, we can be thankful that we also have many other ways to cleanse the body.

The ritual of bathing starts by preparing the water. Bath water should never be very hot. Water temperature should be warm or tepid. Besides the obvious with water temperature, hot water can actually cause the body to itch and feel uncomfortable, and also swell the tissues.

Water soluble oils can be added to the water to provide emollient and aromatic scents to the water. Bath salts are also used for the purpose of making water soft and aromatic.

For people that say "who has time for a bath?", bath products are available for shower lovers too. Bath foams are available in liquid forms to be put on your wash cloth to use during your shower.

This is a perfect time to introduce a body exfoliating agent to remove any dead skin cells. The exfoliating product used for the shower contains a larger particle and is usually made up of micro beads that come in either creams or gels.

One of the best exfoliating aids I have found is the buffing cloth from Dermalogica. You can use this product with your favorite shower gel and thanks to the buffing cloth's long rectangular shape you can use it to exfoliate your back without calling your partner to scrub it for you.

The variety of products produced today put bathing with soap on the back burner. Bath brushes, bath gels, exfoliating creams, gels and oils have made soap companies think twice about producing products that can cause excessive dryness.

The most recent soap bar products have incorporated olive oils, cereal grains and loofah pieces into them, producing a soap bar that has all the ingredients of foams, and gels. These new bars meld the new thinking in skin care with the old-fashioned feel of a bar in your hand, winning over even the most ardent bar-soap lovers.

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