Another brutal California winter has come to an end, and we can now push aside our hoodies and pull out our summer wardrobes! Summer months means trips to the beach and days in the sun, but also the struggle for the perfect bikini body.
Throughout the year I spend hours on skincare, testing out different products to create the perfect routine for my face. This raises the question - does the rest of our skin require the same level of care? Are skincare products for our body, like firming oils and serums, valuable additions to our daily routines?
Walking through skincare aisles at CVS or any other pharmacy I’m amazed by the vast amount of skincare products that exist. It seems like every other day there’s a new miracle cream or magic moisturizer that will have anti-aging superpowers or erase every last pore. With layers coming off for summer and people looking to achieve the ideal summer body, firming body oils and serums seem to be the latest trend.
If you go to a store or look online, you’ll find a slew of firming body oils and serums offered from a variety of brands. These products claim to have detoxifying and hydrating effects that tighten, smooth and soften skin, as well as reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks. Imagine, instead of going to the gym and doing squats, slathering on a firming oil or serum that promises to achieve the same results.
Before diving into this trend, I looked into the effects of the core ingredients in some of the most popular firming oils and serums on the market, to see if these promises proved to be true. Although ingredients vary with each brand, common ingredients in the most highly recommended brands include caffeine, L-carnitine, peptides, water, essential oils, and antioxidants.
Caffeine is a drug that has been normalized by the public. We depend on it for energy in our daily cups of coffee, green teas, and energy drinks- even chocolate has caffeine in it. I’m sipping on an iced latte as I write this very blog post! However, when applied to your skin, caffeine also has soothing properties and dehydrates fat helping to break it down, which reduces cellulite, making it a common ingredient in many firming formulas.
Many firming body oils and serums are also spiked with L-Carnitine, an amino acid that our bodies naturally create to produce energy, as well as a nutrient and dietary supplement. When used for your skin, L-Carnitine has similar effects to caffeine, as it minimizes cellulite by dehydrating and breaking down fat cells.
Peptides are another ingredient commonly found in body oils and serums intending to tighten and tone skin. Combined with other molecules like glycerin, peptides increase your body’s collagen and elastin production. This is important, as collagen creates keratin for your skin, so having peptides as an ingredient can have firming effects and improves your skin’s bounce.
Unsurprisingly, water is one of the top ingredients found in firming body oils and serums. In order to hydrate and moisturize skin, water is fundamental. Although water won’t necessarily have firming effects, as an ingredient in skincare products it will definitely leave your skin feeling smooth!
Depending on the firming product you choose, essential oils and antioxidants are ingredients that vary the most. Essential oils often have soothing effects, but can also make your skin smoother. Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, restore and strengthen skin, giving it a more firm and youthful appearance.
Although I wouldn’t rely on firming body oils or body serums as a magical solution for tighter, smoother, or perfectly toned skin, they have been shown to be a good temporary fix when used daily. Like many skincare products, paired with a clean diet, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle, firming body oils or body serums can be a valuable step towards reaching your skin goals- and who doesn’t want their skin looking firm, smooth, and youthful especially during the summer months.
Before buying a firming body oil or serum, I recommend flipping over the bottle and skimming through the ingredients to make sure that the product can deliver what it promises!
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