Exfoliate, why me, well if exfoliating is done properly, your skin will reward you with a gorgeous healthy glow and the envy of many. If done improperly your skin will be a neon sign flashing,
” Look at me…I did this all by myself…and my insurance won’t cover it ! ” so educate yourself about the pros and cons before you start scrubbing away.
And wouldn’t it be nice to be 40 plus, or even plus –plus-plus, and still have people comment on your skin and that radiant glow…how do you do it girl !
It’s no secret that a healthy diet and exercise, less stress, more sleep and good gene’s play a part in how our skin looks. But, there are a few things we can do to boost things along.
Can you say exfoliate ? Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin’s outermost surface.
How do you remove dead skin cells? There are primarily two methods of exfoliants:
Mechanical (*) – This process involves physically scrubbing the skin with an abrasive, example: micro-bead facial scrubs, salt, oatmeal, microfiber cloths, sponges, loofah’s, brushes and Microdermabrasion.
Chemical (*) – This method include scrubs containing salicylic acid, glycollic acid, fruit enzymes, citric acid, or malic acid, which if applied in high concentrations require a medical professional, and in lower concentrations are available in over-the-counter products . Chemical exfoliation may involve the use of products that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), or enzymes that act to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to ease away.
Although this article is primarily about the face and the exfoliating benefits, hazards and a few how to’s, it also applies to most parts of the body. And even though the body naturally sheds some of the dry outer layer about every 28 days, a little kick start won’t hurt to get that glow started.
Benefits of Exfoliating or Why you need to Exfoliate Exfoliating enables new skin cells to breathe, by ridding the epidermis of the dry outer layer that often inhibits nourishing growth. In short…dead skin cells are the enemy. So we need to remove those barriers of dead skin cells which will then allow our moisturizer to penetrate into the skin and do their magic…moisture is our friend.
And when those dead skin cells are removed by exfoliating, out with the bad, here’s the good news:
It keeps pores clean and improves blood circulation, which gives your skin a healthy, more youthful glow.
It significantly improves blemished skin, pigmentation, clogged pores, and breakouts. **
Unclogs the skins surface, which can reduce the effects of your skin from looking dull and older.
Allows moisture to penetrate the skin.
Keeps your skin from looking flaky and lifeless.
The skin attains a glowing quality while simultaneously fighting aging agents.
Can preserve that youthful appeal and make ageing skin look younger.
Exfoliation also helps your moisturizer and skin care treatments penetrate better.
With proper exfoliation, foundation will cover more smoothly.
Wow…how awesome is that! Okay, slow down, don’t run off yet, there are a few cautionary bits of info you need to be aware of. The more well versed you become on this topic the better your results will be, after all you don’t want to be the one with that neon sign do you?
Cautions before Exfoliating Your skin type and sensitivity level determines how and how often you should exfoliate. So do what’s right for you, a friends recommendation might or might not be the best for you…so check it out first.
No matter what type of exfoliant you use, always apply a moisturizer and sunscreen immediately afterwards. Since the process strips away not only those dead skin cells but the natural oils, you’ll need to replenish that moisture and protection right away.
If you have sensitive skin or are taking medications like retinol for anti-aging or acne, these products already act as exfoliants, so you don’t need to do anything more, other than to use a non-abrasive mild (made for sensitive skin) face wash.
If you’re not using a prescription-strength product and you want to give exfoliation a try, try it once a week for dry skin or twice a week for oily skin, and see how your face reacts.
If your skin is dry, you should avoid facial exfoliants which include a significant portion of pumice, or crushed volcanic rock. Pumice should be reserved to exfoliate the skin of the feet, not the face.
Using Exfoliants Avoid irritating exfoliants. When searching for exfoliants or DIY recipes, you’ll find everything from sea salt and oatmeal, to ground up shells and seeds. So beware that a scrub containing products with sharp edges or large particles can damage and scratch the skin which can lead to breakouts and infections.
Depending on your skin type once or twice a week is usually sufficient.
Be gentle, exfoliating shouldn’t hurt.
Chemical exfoliation methods are often too harsh and can cause pain, redness, and even infection.
Don’t over-exfoliate or use a product with granules that can tear at the skin.
Rub the product in a circular motion for 30 seconds and then rinse off with lukewarm … never hot water.
Consider using natural products for exfoliating your face.
Always apply a moisturizer and sunscreen immediately afterwards, I know I’m repeating, but this step is extremely important in protecting your skin.
General Skin Care Tips: Scrubbing your face too hard or too often can result in irritated skin, and redness and that’s not the look you’re going for, so be gentle.
When trying a new skin care product (or home recipe), test it out before you go to bed. Then if you have an adverse reaction, you’ll be giving your skin time to repair itself while you sleep.
To save time, mix in a dime-size amount of your favorite facial scrub into your cleanser and do it all at once.
Make sure you remove your makeup before going to bed. Leaving your makeup on can cause acne or black heads plus you’re not allowing your skin to breathe. So think twice, it only takes a few minutes, and down the road you’ll be glad you did.
A wash cloth works as well as some of those special exfoliating cloths that are on the market.
After washing your face always apply a moisturizer and sunscreen, it’s a small step that takes just seconds, but gives big rewards if you are diligent about this.
Skin-Care Brush: choose one specifically for use on the face; our skin is more sensitive here, so you don’t want one as rough as what we’d use on the rest of our body. And be sure to follow instructions and use them as directed
Lip Brush: Chances are your lips get dry and begin to peel occasionally, especially in the winter. So to smooth those chapped lips, here are two easy methods to try, to get those luscious lips back.
Apply a thin layer of Vaseline and gently rub the toothbrush along your lips, then gently remove the product with a damp wash cloth.
If your feeling creative make a lip scrub of equal parts sugar and honey and with your fingers (acting as your lip brush) gently rub the mix into your lips and then remove with a damp wash cloth.
Whichever method you use be sure to apply a hydrating lip balm afterwards to protect and lock in the moisture.
Natural Products for Exfoliating A baking soda paste made with (you guessed it) baking soda and distilled water will gently cleanse your pores and skin. Another one to try is mix a pinch of brown sugar in your palm with coconut oil to form a nice natural scrub.
If you would like to find about some of the kitchen basics used in DIY facial scrubs, click here.
Professional Treatment There may be times when the DIY treatments and the natural scrubs and mixes just aren’t giving you the results you want. So it may be time to consult with your doctor or dermatologists to see what options are available for your particular situation and your skin type. Be sure to ask about any side effects of the treatments recommended. Some treatments can be done at a doctor’s office or medical spa.
Some treatments may include:
Light chemical peels, which remove just the outer layer of skin, can be done as much as once a week for up to six weeks and they can quickly provide results for people suffering from acne, skin discoloration or wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Deeper chemical peels (used to treat deeper wrinkles, scars or uneven skin tone) should be done much less often.
Exfoliation Tip for Your Elbows Those rough, dry scaly elbows often get overlooked, but here’s an easy old fashion home remedy to soften them up. Do this before going to bed and when you wake in the morning you’ll see them transformed into beauties (well, not really, have you ever heard anyone being complicated on their elbows?). But it does help ease the rough spots and dryness, especially if you have eczema.
A pair of clean thick socks, then cut off the toes.
Any of one of these products (just enough to apply to the elbows) Vaseline, Crisco, Eucerin or Aquaphor.
Apply the product liberally to your elbows, pull the socks over your elbows and then sweet dreams. In the morning, gently rub the product off with a wash cloth, apply your moisturizer and now you can put on that silk blouse without worrying about shredding into pieces. Voila’…who knew…socks aren’t just for feet anymore!
Don’t Forget Your Feet Dry, cracked, flaky feet…well, they’re still not fashionable, so your BFF should be a pumice stone.
Use it and use it often to keep these puppies happy, if they’re happy you’ll be happy. It keeps those callused and rough edges at bay, saves on pedicures and lessens the wear on your stockings. No matter what the season, it just takes a few minutes to get and keep them feeling good and looking pretty.
Start with clean feet, get your pumice stone and exfoliate around the toes, along the sides of the foot and the entire heel (back and bottom).
Don’t forget the underside where those callouses hide, give them a good scrub with your pumice stone. Afterwards, wash off the area with a wash cloth and apply a light moisturizer and work it in gently like a massage…ahh feels so nice.
Weekly, just before bedtime, treat your clean, just exfoliated feet with a nice layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor, put on a pair of clean thick socks, pop into bed and wake up to a pair of soft, beautiful puppies ready to go (be sure to remove the product with a wash cloth…don’t want you slipping out of your shoes all day).
In between exfoliating, be sure to apply a moisturizer to keep the dryness at bay and feeling comfortable.
Well here’s to healthy skin, a beautiful glow and just feeling good about you.
(*) Excerpts from Wikipedia **According to the International Dermal Institute