Dermatologists Say Your Anti-Aging Skin Care Routine Is Missing This Crucial Step

Plus vetted products to shop.

Edward Berthelot / Contributor/ Getty Images
woman wearing a crop top showing body skin

For many, the skin on their face hogs all the attention while the skin on their body gets a mere one-over of body wash in the shower and a slather of SPF when outdoors (and even that can be a stretch). The truth is, though, that taking care of your skin everywhere is just as important as taking care of your face alone, and while you can’t necessarily stop premature aging in its tracks, you can certainly slow down the process if you take the proper anti-aging skin care precautions. Common issues you may face as your body skin ages are crepeypness on the neck, sun spots on the hands, and general loss of collagen on areas like your chest, arms, and legs.

As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Geeta Yadav of Facet Dermatology explains, “collagen starts to deteriorate in our late 20s and becomes more and more noticeable as we age, but then you have to consider the fact that bad habits (such as smoking, unprotected exposure to UV, and environmental factors like pollution) can all accelerate the collagen breakdown.” Thankfully, it’s easy to make any body care routine an anti-aging body care routine. All it takes is using quality ingredients and a few simple tweaks on your part.

Below, TZR is breaking down nine expert-backed anti-aging body care tips for you to incorporate into your total body skin care routine. Plus, shop quality products that have premature aging on the forefront of their formulas.

1. Use A Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer On The Neck

If your skin leans dry, chances are you’re already familiar with the plumping and hydrating benefits of a hyaluronic acid product. According to Dr. Yadav, when you combine the skin’s natural aging process with actions like frequently looking down at your phone or tablet, you’re likely to experience fine lines, wrinkles, and crepeypness on the neck. While not an anti-aging ingredient per se, hyaluronic acid (a humectant) is a top contender when it comes to tackling these side effects, working to attract moisture and draw it into the skin, says Dr. Yadav. The result is a plumper, smoother, and firmer-looking complexion. Look for a serum or face cream that makes use of the ingredient, and also try your best to bring your electronic devices to eye level (versus looking down, which can cause folds on the neck, aka tech neck).

2. Exfoliate Regularly

The skin-brightening results you get from exfoliating your face? Your body deserves that love too. “As we age, the natural exfoliation process slows down, which can leave the skin looking dull and lackluster,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp. “Facilitating the exfoliation process keeps skin looking youthful and vibrant — it may also reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots (hyperpigmentation).”

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to bacne, opt for a chemical exfoliator that uses AHAs or BHAs. Dr. Camp says these tend to be more gentle on the skin than physical exfoliators, as they utilize acids to break apart dead skin cells and flush them from the skin surface. If your skin can handle it, opt for a physical exfoliant, which tends to be more abrasive thanks to their gritty texture. You can also manually exfoliate your body with exfoliating gloves — these are typically made from a coarse woven fabric that can be used with shower gel to cleanse and exfoliate at the same time, notes Dr. Camp.

3. Lighten Sunspots With Vitamin C

Sun spots are grim reminders of under-protected skin and sun exposure and often increase in number as we age. They’re characterized by small, dark spots on the skin, and often appear on areas that are frequently exposed to the sun such as the hands, face, and shoulders. That’s where vitamin C products come in. “Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which means it neutralizes unstable oxygen molecules that develop as a result of exposure to UV radiation,” explains Dr. Camp. “These free oxygen radicals, as these molecules are called, can be damaging to cellular structures like DNA, lipids, and proteins, but vitamin C helps address exposure-related changes by treating dark spots.” Try a vitamin C-infused cream for your hands or serum for your body if you’re dealing with dark spots.

4. Wear SPF

Most of the aging process that occurs in your 30s, 40s, and 50s is from cumulative sun damage that occurred as an adolescent. Translation: Although you may not see the negative impact of premature aging when you’re young, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Stefani Kappel warns it will catch up eventually. “The rate in which we age is influenced by skin type, genetics, and amount of sun exposure and environmental damage,” says Dr. Kappel. So while there may be factors working against you when it comes to your skin type and genetics, you can still keep your body protected by wearing adequate protection and avoiding unnecessary exposure.

Dr. Kappel recommends using a mineral-based sunscreen, which physically bounces UV rays off to prevent them from entering the skin (versus chemical sunscreen, which absorb them). Go for an SPF of at least 30 and don’t forget the often-missed spots on the body (like the neck, chest, and back). Remember: Preventing signs of aging by regularly wearing sunscreen is much easier than treating them once they've formed, says Dr. Yadav.

5. Protect Those Hands

Your hands are among the first areas of the body that show signs of aging. This is partially due to the fact that hands are constantly exposed to the sun, which can lead to aging in the form of thinning skin, sun spots, crepeypness, and wrinkling. Add on to this the frequent hand washing, which strip the skin of its natural oils and can cause skin to dry out, looking older than it actually is. “If those natural oils are not replenished, this can cause damage to your skin's moisture barrier, leading to chronic inflammation that can accelerate aging,” says Dr. Yadav.

Aside from applying SPF on your hands, consider wearing gloves when performing household chores to avoid exposing your hands to overly harsh chemicals, which can dry out the skin. “You can also wear gloves while driving to protect your skin from unnecessary UV exposure, which accelerates the appearance of aging on the hands,” says Dr. Yadav. “At night, you can apply an anti-aging hand cream that contains glycolic acid or lactic acid to help gently resurface the skin on your hands.”

6. Apply A Retinol Body Lotion

It may be a well-loved ingredient for the face, but as Dr. Yadav says, skin is skin, and wherever you apply retinol, you'll reap the rewards of it. “Retinol is known to stimulate new collagen production, which helps firm up the skin and improve the appearance of laxity as well as fine lines and wrinkles,” she says. “It also helps stimulates cellular turnover, a process that slows as we age, which helps reveal healthier, new skin more quickly.”

If you’re new to retinol or if you have sensitive skin, ease into your retinol body treatments slowly. Dr. Yadav recommends starting with a once-weekly application, then gradually working your way up to every day to get the most out of your retinol body treatment. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, when it comes to retinol, so this could take several months.

7. Try Peptide-Infused Serums

Think of peptides as chemical messengers that are healthy for skin cells. “They are made of proteins and help stimulate cells to do different things like synthesize new collagen and elastin, increase cellular renewal, or strengthen the skin barrier,” says Dr. Kappel. “Specifically, anti-aging peptides can plump and smooth skin texture, and this is true for all areas of the body.” While peptide-infused creams can be beneficial, peptides are more readily absorbed into the skin in a serum formulation because they’re better able to deeply penetrate the skin, so opt for a peptide-infused serum to reap bigger benefits.

8. Consider Your Feet

The main factor leading to signs of aging on the feet? Dryness. “As we age our skin becomes drier, and in addition to being rough in texture and flaky, the barrier function of skin may not work as well when it is dry,” says Dr. Camp. “Also, the exfoliation process may not occur as easily in mature skin, causing the skin on our toes and heels to become thickened and callused.” If you’re sick of hiding behind socks and close-heeled shoes, it’s time to amp up your foot care routine, which Dr. Camp says should consist of a foot scrub to soften the texture of feet, mechanical exfoliators to slough off accumulated dead skin cells, and a balm to help repair the skin and seal in moisture.

9. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods

So much of skin care starts with what’s being consumed, and this rings true for both your face and body. Up your intake of antioxidant-rich foods like kale, spinach, berries, apples, and beans for healthier-looking and feeling skin. “In addition to containing antioxidants to help your body's defense against free radicals, these foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep skin firm, smooth, and nourished, as well as reducing inflammation, which can present in the skin as acne or redness,” says Dr. Yadav.

We at TZR only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Shop 8 Anti-Aging Body Care Products To Add To Your Routine