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The Body's Specific Skin Needs

By: Joan Tomeu
Posted: June 28, 2011, from the July 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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Most of the skin on the body is typically protected from the UV exposure that the face is subjected to on a daily basis; however, this body skin has its own special needs. The physiological differences of skin—depending on its location and the fact that skin on the body is often neglected—make body-specific products a necessity. Although the skin conditions typically treated on the face also occur on the body, their management varies when they present on the body. For these reasons, the skin on the body is best served with products formulated specifically to address these unique needs.

Special skin

The basic structure and function of the skin remains the same regardless of where it is on the body, but small differences play a considerable role in how treatment plans should be designed. The most significant differences are in cell turnover rate, sebaceous activity and epidermal thickness.

Cell turnover rate. The cell turnover rate in body skin is slower than in facial skin because of dryness, neglect and decreased environmental exposure. The combination of these factors typically leads to a reduced ability for the skin on the body to properly desquamate.

Sebaceous activity. This is much lower in the skin on the body versus that of the face, primarily because the body’s sebaceous glands are located predominantly on the face and scalp. This can make dry and impacted skin more of an issue on the body.

Epidermal thickness. This varies depending on the location of the skin. The facial epidermis is approximately 0.12 mm thick, while the skin on the body is thicker, closer to 0.60 mm. The proliferation of bacteria and hyperkeratosis becomes more of an issue on the body because the skin is thicker, creating a more deoxygenated environment.

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