How to get smooth, summer-ready skin


Don’t want to take that cardigan off? Here’s what you need to do

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / October 10 2019

If the very thought of baring your arms, back and legs this summer fills you with absolute dread, it’s time to put a skin care plan in place. And we’re here to help!

Whether you suffer breakouts on your chest and back, rough bumps on your arms, or dull skin all over, we’ve pulled together a handy, no-fuss guide for helping you fix some of your top skin concerns.

If you suffer from keratosis pilaris…

If you feel like you have a perpetual case of goosebumps, you probably have keratosis pilaris (KP). But don’t freak – it’s a super common skin condition, and there are a few things you can do to help keep those small bumps under control in time for the warmer months.

Don’t know what it is? KP (also lovingly nicknamed ‘chicken skin’) is basically a harmless skin condition where a build-up of keratin forms in the hair follicles on your upper arms and thighs and appears as rough patches of skin or tiny bumps.

So, what about treatment of keratosis pilaris? While there isn’t a permanent fix, you can improve the appearance of tiny bumps and redness by using chemical exfoliation formulas that contain glycolic acid and lactic acid. We like First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA. It basically works to loosen the skin’s top layer while also decongesting pores with its pumice buffing beads. If you have sensitive skin, you might prefer a milder treatment like Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Body Soap – this alpha hydroxy acid body cleanser has a low concentration of exfoliating acids and can be used daily.

If you suffer from KP, it’s also smart to load up on the lotion front, post-shower. Paula’s Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA is a great option because not only does it help remove dead skin cells, but it’ll also replenish moisture (it has nourishing shea butter in it) and minimise irritation. With daily use you’ll start to notice smoother, softer skin pretty quickly.

Want more info on how to treat keratosis pilaris? Check out four things a dermatologist recommends you do to get rid of those sandpaper-like bumps to help improve the appearance of the skin.

First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA

Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Body Soap

Paula’s Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA

If you have body acne….

Not only can body acne be confusing to treat, it can be super tricky to hide - especially if a swimsuit or a little strapless number is on the cards. Bacne, chest acne, butt acne and everything in between can make the thought of summer pretty stressful, but with the right products and remedies you’ll be able to clear it up quickly. 

If you’re wondering what causes pimples on back and shoulders, a similar deal as facial acne: oil gets trapped in clogged pores, resulting in the production of acne-causing bacteria and inflammation.

In terms of how to get rid of back acne, chest acne and shoulder acne, you’re going to want to ditch your usual shimmery, fragrance-heavy body wash. Instead, opt for something that will clarify, exfoliate and soothe your skin. Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash is the best kind of body wash for back acne and the like. It’s a non-irritating wash that contains salicylic acid (great for clogged pores) and has eucalyptus and tea tree extracts to soothe the skin.

If you’re battling with a big pimple on your back, instead of squeezing it and risking scarring, opt for blemish patches (XL versions of the ones you use on your face) like Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Surface can help speed up the healing process.

To avoid this whole situation in the first place, make sure you’re looking after your skin correctly, especially post-workout – because trapped sweat is a common culprit of body breakouts. If you can’t hop in a shower after the gym, have some body wipes on hand, like Yuni Shower Sheets, to remove sweat and oil before they clog your pores.

Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Surface

Yuni Shower Sheets

If you have dull, dry skin…

As you get older, your skin cell turnover can become sluggish, often making your skin appear dull and dry (read: not great for summer). The answer? Get into dry body brushing. It’ll speed up cell turnover, improve circulation, and is great for improving the radiance and brightness of your skin. It’ll also prep your skin so it’s ready to absorb products and much-needed moisture. Before you jump in the shower, we recommend using a brush made with soft, ultra-fine bristles like Ecopure Bath Massaging Hand Brush

Post-shower, reach for a rich body moisturiser such as Aveeno Daily Moisturising Body Lotion. It’ll leave your skin soft and hydrated for hours, plus it’s unscented (a bonus for sensitive skin) and won’t break the bank.

Ecopure Bath Massaging Hand Brush

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Body Lotion

If you have unwanted hair…

During the winter months you can get by for weeks without anyone noticing you’ve completely ignored the fuzz on your legs. However, summer is not as forgiving. If you’re the kind of gal who loves a silky-smooth finish from head to toe, it’s important to know your options. 

If you’re after quick and easy hair removal, shaving is inexpensive and you don’t have to leave your house for a treatment (always a major plus). Just make sure you prep your skin correctly to keep your skin barrier happy (we like Ren Tamanu High Glide Shaving Oil) and select a razor that contours to your legs so you can get super close without the risk of cutting yourself. We suggest Gillette Venus ComfortGlide, because it also moisturises while shaving.

While it has the biggest reputation for discomfort, waxing is another popular option because it leaves skin smoother for longer and typically requires less maintenance. If you’re looking to try your hand at at-home waxing, try Nair Sensitive Large Wax Strips

If you’re over shaving and waxing and are looking for something more permanent, laser hair removal (IPL) is an option. Just keep in mind that laser treatments involve a bit of a process, and multiple sessions are generally required for best results.

Ren Tamanu High Glide Shaving Oil

Gillette Venus ComfortGlide

Nair Sensitive Large Wax Strips

If the thought of summer has you worried about pigmentation, check out our article on how vitamin A and retinoids can help treat dark spots.

What are your favourite body care products to help improve the appearance of your skin for summer? Share with us in the comment section below.

Main image credit: @stephclairesmith

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.