Exfoliation is a part of every facial skincare routine, but it’s less common to talk about exfoliating your body. If you’re looking for softer, smoother, glowing skin all over your body, exfoliating could be the key to your skincare dreams.
Your body naturally flakes off dead skin cells every day, but certain factors like age, sun damage, dry air, and congestion can build up dead skin on your body. When dead skin cells aren’t sloughed off, your skin becomes dull, itchy, blemished, and wrinkled.
There are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. Examples of physical exfoliants include salt, sugar, and granulated coffee. This sugar scrub is a wonderful physical exfoliant. Examples of chemical exfoliants that can be found in natural sources include glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, and malic acid.
Exfoliation should usually be done one to three times a week, depending on what your skin type is. Sensitive skin might do best with only one treatment a week, while tough, overworked skin might crave it three times a week. Once you start adding exfoliation into your routine, you’ll be able to notice when your skin needs it. Avoid using exfoliants on open cuts and sores, as that will irritate the skin and often hurt.
Moisturizing after exfoliating your body is key to making the effects last. The hydration in a good body cream or oilwill help to protect the skin from environmental aggressors and sun damage that can congest pores and build up dead skin cells. Plus, if smooth skin is your goal, moisturization is essential to soft, nourished skin.
Exfoliating before shaving can also help prevent irritating razor bumps. An exfoliant will help to clean out the skin, prepping it for shaving and removing any dirt and debris that can cause issues. You can also exfoliate after shaving, which helps ease out annoying ingrown hairs.
How to Exfoliate
Exfoliating is pretty self-explanatory. Simply rub onto the skin using light to medium pressure in circular motions. You don’t need to scrub deeply – that can just remove healthy skin. Use warm water to open the pores to prep for exfoliation but avoid hot water that just dries out the skin. Certain chemical exfoliants might say to leave on the skin for a minute or two, so check your specific brand’s directions for those instructions.
Pay special attention to your heels, elbows, and knees that have thicker skin that generally need more exfoliation. Since these areas tend to be dry, exfoliating can help remove dry dead skin and prep the area to absorb more hydration from your moisturizer.
You can use your hands to apply your exfoliator, but you might like to try out a tool instead. Washcloths offer gentle exfoliation and are readily available. Other options include exfoliating gloves or sponges. You can also try dry brushing, but that is used without product – so be sure not to get those two mixed together!