Eye Cream, Butt Cream, Foot Cream, Hands.
I like to think of myself as being more eco-conscious than stingy and so when I see products marketed at specific ‘target’ areas my ‘aha, you’re just trying to con me’ radar starts flashing, my wallet freezes over and my feet make a move towards the door. Well, that was until just now when I actually thought about it.
Yesterday I wrote a post on this very blog showing where actives have to get to in the skin in order to work. In order to create such a blogging masterpiece (seriously????) I had to do some research and that included brushing up on my skin biology (even though I’ve studied it at Uni I just can’t get all of those layers into my head). Then, to top it off I found my Coenzyme Q10 eye cream that the good folk at Nivea sent me sometime last year (bad blogger…..) and it all started to make sense.
Your skin on your eyelids is thin and hairless so it is both the most likely to age and react from environmental toxins. Being thin the skin reacts better to light weight formulations rather than heavy, dragging creams and potions. Also being thin the potential for actives to pass through it is higher than say the skin on your forehead or cheeks so active levels can be lower and still illicit a response. Finally being the eye area there is no need for fragrance.
Contrast that to your backside. The skin here is tough as it has to put up with being squashed by you all day and as a consequence it is quite thick (but not as thick as your soles). In addition it is pretty much always covered (unless…..) and may or may not be hairy (regardless to what it looks like there will be numerous follicles through which actives can possibly channel) and as such products for your butt have to take that into consideration – the need for your butt to breathe (ahem), to be comfortable in clothing and not stick to it and to be protective (from chaffing etc). A good butt cream will probably also have quite an anti-fungal component to it as the dark, damp environment does provide fungi with a happy place in which to set up home – absolute opposite of your eyes.
Next we have feet. Our feet have a very thick stratum corneum for added protection. This is great until it gets waterlogged and swells up leaving you all wrinkled. As the SC is much thicker than that on your backside and is pretty much always hair-free naturally. This is a big difference as hair follicle active-delivery is now not an option for delivering your benefits. Naturally our feet are also used to being pounded in the dark and so any ‘foot’ focused products have to take that into consideration. Foot products should not be too damp or make the environment too wet for mould to grow but they should be quite thick and be able to deliver actives through that sizeable SC.
And finally we have the hands. Hands are our most sociable appendages, always out and about and getting stuck into things and as such they tend to age quickly. The fact that our hands may be a good 10 or so skin years older than our backsides also matters as they may be the first bit of us to become hyper-reactive to ingredients. That said in general a good hand cream is all about the touch. The vast majority of us don’t want to feel greasy after applying our cream, we don’t want stuff to fall out of our grip and we don’t want our hands to be sticky. However, we do want and need our hand creams to leave our hands feeling protected and soft because they work and to work they have to plump up and support the thick skin of our palms and the environmentally aged skin of the tops of our hands.
So, it is time to admit that I was very wrong to be so judgemental about eye, butt, foot and hand cream and admit that yes, there is a point after all and it’s not just about the dollars.
Here’s to bit-specific skin-care!
PS: It is of course OK to still approach your skin care regimen with a ‘one size fits all’ product but if you want the best performance or have a specific issue then getting the right tool for the job may just be worth a try.