We spend a huge amount of time and money on skincare for our face, but the rest of our body is usually treated to budget shower gel and the occasional dollop of moisturiser, panic-applied pre-beach holiday. The skin on your body has many of the same problems as that on your face – roughness, discolouration, dryness, signs of ageing, a build-up of sebum, plus irritations such as ingrown hairs and keratosis pilaris (little bumps, most commonly on the upper arms, caused by a build-up of keratin in the hair follicles).

But it also benefits from many of the same ingredients – hyaluronic acid, retinol, glycolic acid, clay, salicylic acid, essential oils – as well as those such as shea and cocoa butters, which can cause breakouts on the face but are generally fine for use on the body. Skincare that is made for the body often makes claims such as being fat- or cellulite-busting that rarely (if ever) stand up to proper testing.

Thankfully, an increasing number of brands are offering products that take skincare-quality ingredients and put them to good use in bodycare. These are the ones that we found made a real difference.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Body Cream: £7.99, Amazon

First of all, this smells absolutely divine and lemon-y, and is very lightweight so doesn’t leave you wet and sticky for ages after application. It contains a triple whammy of lactic, glycolic and salicylic acids to exfoliate away dead skin and encourage skin turnover; these are also promising ingredients for those who struggle with back breakouts. Our tester found that, applied once a day, it left skin smooth and glowing, and was particularly effective for preventing the ingrown hairs she usually gets on the backs of her thighs.

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Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Body Treatment: £54, SpaceNK

When a premium skincare brand the quality of Sarah Chapman (we love the facialist’s sheet masks, skincare boosters and Overnight Facial) makes a product for body, we get excited. This oil is beautifully light and non-sticky and contains anti-wrinkle ingredient matrixyl, Collageneer (which stimulates the synthesis of collagen), plus vitamin A, E and C and a whole load of oils such as argan and jojoba. After massaging five pumps over the body every night for two weeks, our fiftysomething tester found a great improvement in the elasticity and appearance of her skin.

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REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm: £23, REN

There are plenty of salt-based scrubs that will do a great job on rough patches, but REN brings a little spa-like luxury to proceedings that we love. Guerande mixes exfoliating grains of sea salt with almond, olive, peppermint, basil and rosemary oils to leave skin smooth and with a slight moisturised sheen left behind. For a more effective scrub, use it dry and wash off in the bath or shower; more sensitive skins will find it best applied to wet skin, where the warm water provides a little more slip between scrub and skin.

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The Chemistry Brand Hyaluronic Concentrate: £28, Escentual 

The Chemistry Brand is part of the Deciem group, which is behind skincare-brand-of-the-moment The Ordinary. It takes a similarly scientific approach (though, sadly, with slightly higher prices). Its Hyaluronic Concentrate contains 19 per cent of the moisturising acid, which holds 1,000 times its weight in water and locks water on to the skin. It is a gel-like formula and sinks into skin incredibly quickly (sort of like applying hand sanitiser), comes in a big pump-dispensed bottle and is very good value for money.

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The Chemistry Brand Retin-Oil: £20, The Chemistry Brand

Retinol is the closest thing to a skincare miracle you’ll find: it increases cell turnover and encourages the production of collagen, improves the appearance of sun damage, lines, acne, scars and dark spots, evens out skin tone and smoothes texture. We’re obsessed with using it on our faces, so why not elsewhere on the body? Retin-Oil contains one per cent retinoid, plus vitamins C and E and fruit oils, and we found it helped reduce crease lines around the neck and bust and improve the appearance of scarring. We’d happily use it on our face; another winner from The Chemistry Brand.

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Rodial Bee Venom Body Serum: £65, Rodial

Rodial’s Bee Venom range (including a £180 serum!) is almost entirely for the face and gets its name from melittin peptide, the main component of actual bee venom, which plumps and firms – without the sting. The only body product in the Bee Venom range is this serum, which also contains anti-ageing retinol (see above), exfoliating AHAs and BHAs, and softening rose and honey: a real powerhouse combination. Our tester saw an improvement in lines on the bust and upper arms, plus general improvement in elasticity, smoothness and redness.

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Clarins Renew-Plus Body Serum: £41, Clarins

This has a slightly chemically scent, but there our niggles end. Milky enough to sink in almost immediately but still properly nourishing, Clarins Body Serum is cult for a reason. Apply morning and night to leave skin silky smooth, and to improve tone, redness and discolouration. We like to use it while on holiday to keep skin in good condition while tanning, and find it completely prevents peeling once you get home.

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Ameliorate Transforming Body Cream: £27.50, Escentual 

Ameliorate is a hero brand made specifically for people with keratosis pilaris or those who struggle with very dry skin, and the body cream is the latest addition to the line. It has the same levels of lactic acid as the famous lotion, plus omega oils, shea and cocoa butters and squalene for serious hydration. It is thick so a little goes a long way; make sure skin is completely dry before applying or it will struggle to sink in properly. Applied twice a day to affected areas, it is the most effective combatant we’ve found against our KP.

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Murad Detoxifying White Clay Body Cleanser: £11.69, Amazon 

We know that clay is great in cleansers or masks for drawing out impurities in the face, so why not the body? Upgrade your usual shower gel to Murad’s creamy body cleanser, which keeps pores clear without stripping moisture, thanks to a blend of oils and amino acids, plus root ginger for a pep-up.

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Aesop Breathless Body Treatment: £25, Liberty 

We’ve got something of a body oil addiction and have a bathroom shelf stocked with everything from Elemis to Rodin, but Aesop Breathless is our favourite. Its blend of almond, macadamia, jojoba and orange oils smells at once heady and refreshing. It’s rich but sinks in well, so doesn’t leave your limbs sticky and greasy. Massage a few drops in, paying particular attention to dry areas, after any other products before you go to bed. We also like to use a little on our arms for special occasions to tame hair and give a light glow, or mixed with a body moisturiser to give it a hydrating boost (and eliminate a step in the routine).

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The verdict:

There’s something here for every skin concern, but our suits-all bargain buy is Nip + Fab’s Glycolic Fix Body Cream.

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