November 16, 2019 at 12:00AM by CWC
Have you ever wished you could dive right into your hyaluronic acid serum when you’re really dry, or pour your retinol all over your body for an overall glow? Same. The next best thing? Taking a bath, which is a fantastic opportunity to submerge yourself into a skin-boosting ingredient that all of your skin—from your head to your toes—needs.
“A good bath is perfect for softening dead skin, especially in those odd areas on the back of the achilles tendon just above the ankle and also the feet and elbows,” says Ellen Marmur, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of MMSkincare. (All body parts I tend to ignore with my moisturizer.) Not only that, but the hot water works as a way for those moisturizing bath products for dry skin (and other skin types) to really get into your bod. “Baths are wonderful for hydrating the skin and delivering many active ingredients,” says Julie Russak, MD, dermatologist and founder of Russak Dermatology. “Warm water dilates the pores so the skin is able to absorb the ingredients better.” Sign me up. (Side note: Both advise to moisturize with a lotion once you get out… otherwise, your skin will just lose all of that hydration it just got.)
For the most luxurious, all-over skin treatment bath, we’ve broken down the perfect tub-friendly product to grab for your skin’s specific needs, below.
For dry skin: a milky bath
If you’re dealing with extra parched skin (like moi, thanks to this weather), Dr. Russak recommends reaching for a milk bath product. “For really dry skin, I love coconut milk bath products like Herbivore Botanicals Coconut Milk Bath Soak, which is soothing, moisturizing, and softens skin,” she says.
For a detox: bath salts
Epsom bath salts have been around for ages, for good reason—they work wonders. “Bathing in a solution of warm water and bath salts will work to draw out impurities, pollutions, toxins, oil, dirt, and sweat from the skin as well as increase blood circulation,” says Dr. Marmur, adding that they’re also going to heal dry skin. “It may also soothe skin affected by conditions like eczema and psoriasis.” Bonus points for calming achey muscles, too. Try Dr. Teal’s Detoxify and Energize Epsom Salt Soaking Solution ($7).
For sensitive skin: colloidal oatmeal
Oatmeal is an OG MVP when it comes to soothing skin irritation. “Colloidal oatmeal is very calming and anti-inflammatory for sensitive skin,” says Dr. Russak. “It can relieve irritation and itching.” Pour some Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment Colloidal Oatmeal Skin Protectant Single Use Packets ($10) into your tub, and you’re golden.
For breakouts: tea tree oil
If you’re dealing with body breakouts, I feel your pain. Your bath BFF? Tea tree essential oil. “Tea tree essential oils are great as they’re a natural antimicrobial, so they fight any bacteria that could cause acne or fungus,” says Dr. Marmur. Add a few drops of something like The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil ($12) to your bath to fight any gunk clogging your skin.
For normal skin: lavender oil
A bath booster that’ll work for any occasion? Lavender, the friendly flower with a beautiful, calming scent. “Lavender essential oils are especially good because they’re calming, gentle, and nourishing,” says Dr. Marmur. Pro tip: Take a lavender-spiked bath at nighttime, using something like Naturopathica Lavender Blossom Bath & Body Oil ($32), and you’ll drift right off to sleep.