Skin Care Basics for the Active Belly Dancer
Most of us become really obsessive (bordering on obsessive-compulsive, really) with our skin care regimen. We have every cleanser, toner, serum, gel, cream—for day and night—and lotion to pamper the face, legs, and arms. We’ve got it down to a science—or have we?
While we’ve definitely zeroed in on these parts, we’ve also neglected some body parts which are actually equally important, even more, as they show early signs of neglect and—yikes!—aging. You don’t want to have the face of a 30-year-old—but with a décolletage that looks 50! (Yes, the décolletage is one of the oft-forgotten parts.) Here are the body parts you shouldn’t be ignoring:
It’s ironic how people neglect this area (essentially the area between your neck and breasts) when it’s the most age-revealing part of our body. The skin in the décolletage is thinner and very delicate, hence sun spots, age spots, lines, and wrinkles are more common in the area. How do you take care of it? Much like you would your facial skin. Use the same facial cleanser. Again, remember that this part is extra delicate—so go easy on the loofah and exfoliating scrub.
If you wish to exfoliate the area, use natural exfoliants (sea salt, oatmeal, etc.) that don’t irritate skin.
Right after your bath, and while skin is still a bit moist, apply moisturizer on the area. You may also apply anti-wrinkle creams—the same kinds you use on your face—and always apply sunscreen lotion. This part is actually very exposed to the sun, more so than your arms and legs.
Creams, natural or not, that contain Vitamin C are good for treating sun spots. You can make your own lemon juice-based concoction or grab a Vitamin C-enriched serum at the beauty counter.
To treat the wrinkles and fine lines, you can use the same products that you use on your face. Look for these active anti-wrinkle ingredients: Vitamin C, Co-EnzymeQ10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Idebenone.
Hands and Feet
Our hands and feet are age-revealing body parts too—and which we most often neglect. While they’re not always exposed to the sun, our hands and feet take a daily beating from all our activities: cooking, dishwashing, gardening, writing/typing, walking in killer heels—and from our belly dancing! Plus, constant washing, use of hand sanitizers, alcohol, and the like can be very drying on the skin. We’ve used and abused our hands and feet too many times; they deserve some TLC!
When doing work that uses water and detergent, wear gloves all the time. Detergents have such high alkaline levels and they strip your hands’ skin of moisture and protection (acid mantle or the layer of lipids and sweat secretion that protect skin). You also need to wear gloves when doing hard labor, like gardening, massive cleaning, among others.
Wear sunscreen on your hands (especially the backs). If you need to wash your hands often (whether it’s required or you’re just obsessive about keeping your hands clean), do so with a mild pH soap. If you’re worried that soaps like these don’t do the job of effectively cleaning your hands, don’t be. Some soaps have effective anti-bacterial properties and moisturizing agents.
Use hand lotions, creams, or gels. If you don’t like the sensation of greasy hands, opt for light creams or gels. (Lotions may be too rich for your hands.) Exfoliate and moisturize feet, too. Foot spas (and hand spas) are also great.
Pamper them with manicures and pedicures whenever you can. You don’t need to splurge on a salon service each time (though that would be nice every now and then); a good DIY at home will do the trick as well. Massages, especially for the feet, are great after dancing. They improve circulation and are just relaxing—for you and your feet.
When dancing, try to wear shoes whenever you can to prevent calluses, bruises, and even some serious injury.
Elbows and knees
Nothing is more off-putting than dark elbows and knees, and these happen a lot because these parts are often exposed to surface friction—when we rest our elbows on tables or when we kneel. These body parts also don’t have oil glands, and so they dry up really fast—and you get crusty, dark elbows and knees. Eeew.
Exfoliate your elbows and knees with a gentle body scrub once a week or so to slough off dead skin cells and dirt build-up (and the crust!).
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Your regular body lotion will do, though heavier creams (like those for your feet) may do a more effective job on your elbows and knees.
Avoid more surface friction. As dancers, we often do movements that require us to kneel and do some floor work or routines. Just make sure to take extra care of your knees by being more religious with your regime.
An effective skin care regimen should not be focused on certain parts. Try to adopt a more holistic approach to skin care. Remember what people always say—and this is so true when it comes to health and beauty: It’s all in the details.
Related Hot Topics
|Lasers: A Belly Dancer's Guide Through The High Tech Beauty Galaxy||Getting To The Basics for Belly Dancers' Wellness: Water|