Your Body Deserves a Skincare Routine Too, You Know

A head-to-toe routine awaits.

woman applying moisturizer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When I ask someone about their skincare routine, they list the eye cream that got rid of their dark circles or the sunscreen that changed their life. The irony is: Majority of skin exists below the chin. “While skin on our body is different and a bit more resilient than areas like the face, it still needs TLC,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Georgina Ferzli. “Skin on our body is more prone to dryness, roughness, and, eventually, loss of elasticity.” 

A solid body skincare routine will contain the three basics: A good cleanse, an occasional exfoliation, and regular hydration. From there, you can add in extra steps to target personal concerns, ranging from an itchy scalp (yes, your scalp is considered skin, too) to dark spots on the chest or loose skin around the knees. Finding a cream, lotion, or mask for every niche concern you could possibly have isn’t difficult. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming. 

woman applying moisturizer

Applying moisturizer morning and night is one of the most important steps in a body skincare routine.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The body care industry is one of the fastest growing sects in the beauty space, and has been rapidly expanding since 2021. Collectively, it’s worth well over $27 billion, with a projected 5.9 percent growth rate by 2028. That means bodycare technology is advancing, innovations are being rolled out weekly, and there’s truly a product for every skin type and concern. “These products will be tailored to skin that is thicker than facial skin and can handle harsher active ingredients—and heavier creams to stay hydrated,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield. “Still, body routines will be different for each person.” 

To discover the best body skincare routine for you, and shop editor and dermatologist-tested products, scroll ahead.

A Complete Body Skincare Routine

Unlike a facial skincare routine, which has to be hyper-aware of over-exfoliation, breakouts, redness, and irritation, body care has the luxury of being a little more laid back. “Unless we are addressing specific things like back acne, eczema, or other conditions, our body skin can handle products that are a bit harsher and a bit less intricately pieced together,” Dr. Ferzli adds. 

That said, you can tailor your body routine to be as basic as possible (cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate) or to incorporate treatments from head (scalp serums) to toe (yes, foot masks exist). 


If you take showers, you’re hitting your cleansing quota and starting your body skincare routine off right. A body wash will not only keep your skin clean and free of bacteria, but it can also be key at targeting certain skin concerns. For example, if you have acne, consider using a benzoyl peroxide body wash to target the bacteria causing breakouts. There are body washes infused with chemical exfoliants (think: lactic or glycolic acid) that are beneficial for fading dark spots and evening out skin tone. Or, if you have sensitive skin look for a gentle, fragrance-free formula infused with soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal or aloe vera. 

It’s also ideal to cleanse in lukewarm water. As nice as a hot shower feels, it can strip necessary oils from your skin and perpetuate dryness.


Skin on the body is thicker than the skin you’ll find on your face, so it can tolerate heavier exfoliation. “Incorporating a shedding ingredient to help skin feel soft and healthy is definitely something I recommend,” says Dr. Ferzli.

Regular exfoliation, whether physical or chemical, will help get rid of dull spots and dry patches, while simultaneously keeping skin looking bright and healthy—something that’s notoriously difficult in the winter months. “If you have eczema or very dry skin, we might scale back on exfoliating the body or using any body scrubs. Nevertheless, if you have skin that feels duller/uneven, we would definitely want to incorporate a scrub,” adds Dr. Greenfield. 


Whether you have dry skin or are naturally more oily, you should still incorporate a moisturizer into your body skincare routine. “Dry skin can put you at risk for infections and skin sensitivity,” says Dr. Lal. The lower legs, back, and arms as well as the elbows and knees have the highest risk of becoming dry and rough, so it’s best to pay a little extra attention when applying moisturizer to these areas. If your skin is extra dehydrated, a body butter, balm, or occlusive hydrator will likely be best, however plenty of lightweight, non-sticky options are also on the market. 


Once your skin is sufficiently cleansed and moisturized (the bare minimum), you can start addressing specific skin concerns like tightening, lifting, brightening, smoothing, or correcting discoloration. “There are many different body products to address many different concerns, and often they are in combo creams so we can address multiple concerns with one or two lotions or creams,” notes Dr. Greenfield. 

The neck and décolletage area are typically areas you’ll want to show a little extra love. “This skin is thinner at baseline, and also suffers from more sun exposure, which leads to early onset laxity and poor skin texture if left uncared for,” says Dr. Ferzli. 


If your body skin is going to be exposed to sunlight, it needs to be generously coated in sunscreen. Unprotected sun exposure can not only cause age spots and hyperpigmentation, but it can also lead to skin cancer.

Do I Need a Body Skincare Routine?

Yes, you need a body skincare routine. “Off-face skin accounts for the vast majority of the skin on your body and treating it well, keeping it healthy, hydrated, and clean are important to preventing infections, rashes and inflammation,” Dr. Greenfield notes. Most of this routine, aside from the cleansing step, will happen post-shower. 

How Often Should I Do a Body Skincare Routine?

Body routines will be different for each person—how much cleansing, hydration, or treatment your skin needs will depend on your skin type and concerns. “Some people will need cleansing more often, while genetics play a role in the amount of hydration that is necessary to keep skin properly moist,” says Dr. Greenfield. It might take a little while to establish the best cadence for your routine, but you should at least cleanse and moisturizer once per day. 

Meet the Dermatologists

Georgina Ferzli, MD, MS, FAAD

Georgina Ferzli, MD, MS, FAAD is a leading, board-certified dermatologist in New York. She serves as Clinical Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College at Cornell University and Columbia University NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.


She specializes in both cosmetic and general dermatology. Dr. Ferzli graduated from Georgetown University, where she also received her Master’s degree in Physiology and Biophysics. She completed her medical and dermatology training at the State University of New York at Downstate, where she graduated with honors and was selected to serve as Chief Resident in her final year. Dr. Ferzli then completed more refined training with a prestigious fellowship in Lasers and Cosmetic Dermatologic Surgery at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.


Dr. Ferzli is sought after for her skill using advanced skincare lasers and technologies, her customized approach to body contouring, and her aesthetic ability with Botox and dermal fillers. Dr. Ferzli has received numerous awards, including being the first recipient of the award for Excellence in Patient Care and Compassion, which was created in recognition of her unique dedication to her patients. She also earned the award for Excellence in Dermatology upon graduation from medical school.

Dr. Nava Greenfield

Dr. Nava Greenfield is a dermatologist practicing at Schweiger Dermatology Group. Dr. Greenfield earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Queens College, City University of New York, where she graduated Cum Laude with honors in mathematics, natural sciences, chemistry and biochemistry.

Dr. Greenfield attended medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University. She completed her internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital and her residency in dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Greenfield has been published in many medical journals, including The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, the Journal of Women’s Dermatology and Pediatrics. Dr. Greenfield is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Women’s Dermatologic Society and the American Medical Association.

Dr. Karan Lal

Dr. Karan Lal is a double board-certified dermatologist, who specializes in pediatrics and adult dermatology, laser surgery, soft tissue filler augmentation, body sculpting, and pigmentary abnormalities of the skin and enjoys treating patients from birth onwards.

Dr. Lal has a passion for treating patients from a range of backgrounds. He has been featured in many media publications, including ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire.

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar,,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.