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    Smoother Skin in Minutes a Day

    Protect your sexiest asset with the right creams and moisturizers.
    By Karen Bruno
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

    Women’s skin is naturally softer than men’s. But over time, the skin on a woman’s body is subject to chafing and irritation from clothing. The skin dries out from hot water and harsh soaps, and it becomes drier and flakier with age. Fortunately, body washes and moisturizers can restore the softness that aging takes away.

    Some of the compounds found in advanced facial skin products -- peptides, retinols, and fatty acids such as ceramides -- are also used in body creams and moisturizers. But products for the thicker skin on the body are formulated differently than those made for the delicate, thinner skin of the face and hands. So it’s important to look for products designed specifically for the body.

    Soaps and Body Cleansers for Women

    Deodorant soaps and other harsh bar soaps lift dirt from the skin. But they can also strip skin of its oils and leave an irritating, itchy film on the skin.

    Dermatologists say it’s better to use a moisturizing bar soap or a moisturizing body wash. These skin cleansers are milder than typical bar soaps and are packed with emollients and humectants that moisturize and smooth skin.

    But keep in mind, as aesthetic dermatologist Amy Derick, MD, says, "Fragrances can be irritating to the skin." Consider going fragrance free if you have sensitive skin.

    For soft, silky skin, look for cleansers and soaps that contain the emollient glycerin and humectants such as petrolatum, sunflower oil, and soybean oil.

    Body Scrubs for Women

    Body scrubs and all-in-one body washes help remove dead skin cells, allowing the moisturizer to penetrate skin. Women also use these scrubs before applying self-tanners for an even look. Some women use body washes with benzoyl peroxide to clear acne from their backs or other parts of the body.

    But not all body scrubs are equal, Derick says. "Versions containing fruits smell terrific but can be harsh," she says.

    • Look for scrubs containing synthetic beads, or tiny grains of sugar. According to Derick, these particles are more uniform in shape than those in fruit scrubs, and less damaging to the skin.
    • If you have dry skin, use a body wash containing glycolic acid or lactic acid, which are moisturizing. "They may not smell great, but they work," Derick says.

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