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A photo of a woman lathering up her back


How To Wash and Moisturize Your Back

You may not think much about your back, but it requires care just like the rest of your body. Here, learn how to wash and moisturize your back for soft skin.

Your back is one of the only external parts of your body that you can’t see without the assistance of a mirror (or a camera). And because you don’t see it often, it’s easy to forget about when you’re completing your body care routine. It’s also one of the more challenging spots to reach. But just like the skin everywhere else on your body, your back is covered in microscopic pores that secrete sweat and oil—and if you don’t care for this skin correctly, you’re likely to experience concerns like body acne or dryness. If you want the skin on your back to look its best, a body cleanser and moisturizer are essential.

Here, we’ll give you a few tips on how to take proper care of your back. Ahead, you’ll find advice on how to put lotion on your back for soft, smooth skin from head to toe. We’ll even introduce you to a few Kiehl’s favorites that you can use in your routine, whether your skin is dry, oily, or somewhere in between. Read on to learn how to wash and moisturize your back for hydrated, healthy-looking skin—even if you can’t see it.

Tip #1:

Cleanse Your Back With a Mild Body Wash

The first step in your back care routine starts in the shower. When sweat and oil on your back are left to accumulate, these substances can trigger or worsen existing skin concerns.

To keep your skin looking and feeling its best, reach for a gentle body wash, like Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser. This mild shower gel washes away dirt, sweat, and oil, leaving the skin feeling clean. It’s suitable for all skin types and available in four refreshing fragrances: grapefruit, coriander, lavender, and a men’s pour homme scent.

If you’re prone to dryness, try Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser instead. This indulgent cleanser contains a moisturizing blend of skin-friendly emollients, including grapeseed oil and castor oil. It emulsifies with water to create a light, subtly-scented foam that washes away impurities for soft, clean skin.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred body wash, dispense a generous amount of the liquid onto a loofah and massage the lather over your back. If you’re having trouble determining how to wash your back without pulling a muscle, we recommend investing in a back washer tool to help reach those hard-to-access areas. Once you’ve given your back a good scrub, rinse the body wash off with lukewarm water—hot water can leech moisture from your skin, resulting in dryness and irritation.

Tip #2:

Reach For a Lightweight Moisturizer

Ideally, you should apply body lotion immediately after showering (while your skin is still damp) to lock in hydration. To help keep your skin feeling soft and smooth, reach for a formula suited to your skin type and its unique needs.

For dry, itchy skin, try a body cream, like our cult-classic Creme de Corps. This rich formula, first launched in the 1980s, contains a blend of skin-friendly emollients, including cocoa butter and olive-derived squalane. It helps moisturize the skin to leave it feeling soft and smooth.

If you prefer lightweight hydration, we recommend Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion. This Kiehl’s favorite with aloe vera and oatmeal soaks into the skin quickly to deliver lightweight yet lasting moisture. Alternatively, try Superbly Restorative Argan Body Lotion, which hydrates and helps protect against skin-damaging environmental stressors for smooth, radiant-looking skin.

Dispense a generous amount of your chosen moisturizer into your palms and massage the lotion over your back, taking care to focus on areas that are prone to skin concerns like dryness or discomfort. To reach tricky parts of your back—like between your shoulder blades—try using the back of your hands (rather than your palms) to massage the cream onto your skin.

A photo of Kiehl's Creme de Corps product line

Tip #3:

If You’re Not Flexible, Try Body Oil

Not everyone is blessed with an unlimited range of motion; some of us just aren’t that flexible. To hydrate your entire back without assistance, we recommend investing in sprayable body oil, like Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil.

This indulgent formula contains a nourishing blend of lightweight plant emollients, including olive-derived squalane and avocado oil. It dispenses in a fine mist that doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue. To apply it to your back, hold the spray bottle over your shoulder, pointed downward toward the center of your back, and lightly mist your skin. Rub it on where you can and allow the oil a few minutes to absorb before continuing with your body care routine. You can also use this indulgent moisturizer as a massage oil for nurtured, supple-feeling skin.

Tip #4:

Use An Extendable Skincare Tool

There are many skincare tools on the market that are meant to help simplify your routine (like the aforementioned back washer). If you have trouble evenly applying moisturizer to your back and don’t have anyone at home to help you, we recommend investing in a skincare tool like a dry brush or a back buffer. Though these are typically used to help apply body wash in the shower, you can also use them to spread moisturizer onto your skin.

First, pick your chosen tool: We recommend something with a long handle and a gentle, spongy head, though really, any back-washing device on a stick will work. After getting out of the shower, dispense a generous amount of body cream, like Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Butter, onto the soft side of the tool. This rich cream, formulated with shea butter and jojoba butter, is ideal because it has a thick, buttery texture. Then, use the tool to smooth the body butter over your back and allow the formula time to sink in. Be sure to clean and dry the sponge or brush thoroughly between uses to avoid transferring bacteria to your skin.

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