Here’s a question for you: Can you exfoliate your entire body? If you are one of few men and women who do so frequently, we applaud you. If you (like us) rarely wash below your neck, let’s make a pact to start now. Because after doing a deep dive into the subject, we are convinced it is the 1 update our skin needs (especially as the sleeves come off and the bathing suits go on).
Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Skin is in a constant state of regeneration and repair. Because of this, the majority of us end up with dead cells that sit on the outside and cause that dullness, dryness and split outs for some people.
Thus, exfoliation helps eliminate excess or old cells, letting that healthy, new skin underneath can arrive at the surface. And there are two methods to do this: chemical and physical exfoliation.
Chemical exfoliation uses, well, compounds (more specifically alpha beta hydroxy acids or fruit enzymes) to gently moisturize skin cells and the intracellular glue that holds them together so they’re more readily eliminated.
Physical or mechanical exfoliation involves employing a product (such as those grainy vanilla-scented body scrubs that your good aunt Susie always enjoys to present during the holidays) or a tool (like a brush or mitt) to manually remove dead skin cells from the surface.
Which kind of exfoliation is ideal for me?
As a general rule of thumb, if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, then a chemical exfoliant is a safer bet (and much less likely to cause irritation). If you have normal, dry or greasy skin, possibly a manual exfoliation or chemical exfoliation will operate –or you can use a combination of the two approaches.
1 precaution: Simply make sure not to use both exfoliators at the same time (i.e., rubbing against a lactic acid serum on using a brush or mitt). Like everything, moderation is vital and too much exfoliation can actually lead to harm to the skin barrier and make things worse. Be gentle.
How (exactly) do I exfoliate my entire body?
Most chemical exfoliators (like a human peel or a body scrub that contains ellagic acid) are meant to be applied directly to the skin and operate best in the shower. We also discover that leaving the item on for a few minutes before rinsing it off gives it time to consume and yields better (read: silkier) results.
For bodily exfoliation, the process is a bit more involved, but can be performed in three Important measures:
- First, we recommend soaking your entire body in a bathtub of warm (not hot) water for 10-15 minutes before going in with a scrubby mitt (hello, Italy towels!). This softens skin and makes it less difficult to slough off the dead cells without having to exert a lot of pressure (which may be abrasive).
- By means of a light-to-medium pressure, rub on the mitt your limbs down and back, in a nutshell, vertical strokes; utilizing small, circular motions, rub on the mitt over the heels of your feet, knees and elbows.
- The choice to discuss these regions again as they tend to be the driest parts of your body.
- Lather up with your soap or wash of option, rinse thoroughly and finish with a layer of moisturizer.
- Bonus: Due to a freshly exfoliated skin, your moisturizer will be able to penetrate better and make it simpler than before.
Are there any other precautions I must consider when exfoliating?
Whether you choose to go with a chemical exfoliation or favour going the manual path, you should just do it every couple of times as needed. Again, over-exfoliating will only cause aggravation.
On that note, skip exfoliating any regions with open cuts, scratches, insect bites or wounds and over the first 24-28 hours of waxing or shaving. (It is far better to exfoliate per day or 2 before any hair removal).
And if you are employing something that contains beta or alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate, be sure you exercise caution in the sun as these ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.
Do you recommend some other exfoliators particularly?
As a matter of fact, we do. And because we are spoiled for choices when it comes to beauty products, we will do you one better and provide a number of our favourite picks for specific topics:
- If you have acne on your chest or back or tend to sweat a lot, we urge Murad Acne Body Wash, that uses salicylic acid to go deeper beneath the surface of the skin and break down any debris or oil which could clog your pores.
- And in the event that you merely have complete dryness, but no specific issue, we swear by a great soak and comprehensive scrub down using an exfoliating mitt, towel or brush.