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The One Step You're Missing For Softer, Tighter Body Skin

Hannah Frye
Author:
January 22, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.

woman with soft skin touching her back
Image by Ohlamour Studio / Stocksy
January 22, 2023
We carefully vet all products and services featured on mindbodygreen using our commerce guidelines. Our selections are never influenced by the commissions earned from our links.

The body care market has been hiding behind the curtain for a while—at least in mainstream beauty culture. Creams, serums, exfoliants, and retinols have all been widely used on facial skin, but rarely do your arms, legs, and chest get the same attention. Well, until now.

Let 2023 be the year of focusing on all of your skin from head to toe. The first step: picking up a body serum. There are plenty of options on the market these days, so we'll run through the basics to help you find your next favorite product. 

How to pick a body serum. 

Just like you would for your face, you should first identify your skin type and specific goals before heading to the beauty counter. It's important to note that the skin on your body might be slightly different from your face, so don't be surprised if it's drier, less sensitive, etc. 

Now, it's time to get specific. To follow, a few common skin goals and what kind of body serum will check that box: 

1.

For rough texture: An exfoliating serum. 

Perhaps you've used a body scrub to ease tiny bumps and uneven texture, but that's not your only option. Look to chemical exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) to smooth texture and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) to manage breakouts on the back or chest

For those with keratosis pilaris, or tiny white and red bumps on the back of the arms, legs, etc., look for ingredients like urea and lactic acid to encourage regular cell turnover. Generally, these ingredients are top-notch for an exfoliating body serum: 

Need a quick recommendation? The Soft Services Smoothing Solution is one A+ pick for this category. 

2.

For aging skin: A retinol serum. 

Retinol is a powerhouse ingredient that can truly transform the skin, whether you want to clear breakouts, ease fine lines and wrinkles, or brighten your overall complexion. With all of those benefits at your disposal, why not slather it on your body as well?

Look for retinol body serums and creams that are pre-formulated as such rather than mixing your own retinol into your favorite body cream. Retinol is a notoriously unstable ingredient, so it's best to leave the chemistry projects to the pros. 

Also, your retinol body serum or body lotion should be used every two or three days rather than every single morning or night. On the off days, opt for a simple hydrating formula instead. Think of it like skin cycling but for the whole body. 

3.

For dull skin: A vitamin C serum. 

If you're struggling with a dull complexion or sporadic hyperpigmentation and dark spots, vitamin C is going to be your best friend. Using vitamin C topically has been shown to help with a plethora of skin concerns, including: 

In order to spot this ingredient in a lineup, look for vitamin C itself as well as fruit extracts rich in antioxidants. Vitamin C comes in many forms on an ingredient list, including L-ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate—but brands will normally call out their vitamin C content, so you likely don't have to hunt for it. 

You might even choose to incorporate a vitamin-C-rich body lotion in addition to the serum, just to go the extra mile. But here's a top-tier serum pick: Uni's 24-Hour Body Serum.

The takeaway. 

If you want to take your body care routine to the next level, you might want to consider investing in a body serum. Be sure to evaluate your skin type and goals before shopping, and remember to follow up any serum with body lotion—so here's a list of our favorite creamy formulas to top off your routine

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