It’s likely you’ve heard the word ‘exfoliate’, but you might not know what it means or how or why you should do it. Exfoliating skin simply means that you’re removing the dry and flakey skin, dead skin, toxins, pollution and build up from the skin so that it’s stimulated, clean and prepared to make new skin that is radiant, clean and fresh.
Skin doesn’t last forever. Our skin cells are constantly being created to replace existing skin, and that skin eventually sloughs off and the new skin comes to the surface. Sometimes, the old skin sticks around and doesn’t flake off completely, and this can cause cracks, lines, itchiness, blotchiness, blemishes and more on the surface of the skin. When this dead skin doesn’t completely fall off, it can also clog pores, which can eventually lead to breakouts and acne that can be quite unsightly or uncomfortable.
The good news is that exfoliating helps remove this dry skin and let the fresh new skin come to the surface while preventing breakouts and blemishes and clogged pores. The result is a radiant glow, younger looking skin and feeling better about your appearance. Exfoliating is a small price to pay to look and feel better, plus it’s easy and inexpensive to do.
How to Exfoliate Facial Skin
Facial skin is very delicate and it requires a gentler abrasion than other parts of skin. There are special creams, lotions and facial washes that are marketed specifically for exfoliating facial skin.
The first step is to gentle wash the face with lukewarm water. The water should be warm-water that is too cold will not open pores like warm water does and water that is too hot can damage the skin’s surface. Use a gentle or mild cleanser, preferably one like Dove, which has no harsh ingredients. Follow the directions on the packaging for the exfoliator.
It’s important not to over-exfoliate. Use small circular motions to scrub the face, but be sure to press lightly. Over-exfoliating by scrubbing too firmly or by scrubbing the face to exfoliate too frequently can cause damage to the skin that can cause pain, stinging, redness and irritation.
Freshly exfoliated skin on the face will not have a protective covering and immediately after exfoliating, the skin will be very sensitive to sunlight. If you wear makeup, using cosmetics with UV protection is highly recommended. If you don’t wear cosmetics, or for men or children who exfoliate facial skin, using a sunscreen on the face when outside is a must. If your favorite cosmetics don’t have UV protection, apply sunscreen about 20 minutes prior to applying makeup, and allow the sunscreen plenty of time to dry before applying the comsetics.
How to Exfoliate Body Skin
Body skin is not quite as sensitive and delicate as facial skin, so the body skin doesn’t require a gentler exfoliant unless your skin is sensitive. Though over the counter products for exfoliating the body can be used just about anywhere on the body, feet, knees and elbows require the most exfoliating work. These areas of the body tend to get flakey and rough, and exfoliating them gently in circular motions with a body exfoliater can keep the skin on these rough joints soft and smooth.
Exfoliated feet can help keep toes, heels and the side of feet soft. This helps prevent roughness that can be unsightly, uncomfortable and can prevent snags or runs in hosiery caused by the rough skin.
Exfoliated elbows keeps your skin from cracking, which can be unsightly and painful. Smooth arms and elbows are more attractive and more fun to touch as well, not to mention that skin doesn’t snag or rough up against silky and slinky clothing.
Sunscreen when outside helps prevent further damage to the skin after exfoliating. Moisturizing the skin can also help soothe skin after exfoliating.
There is no reason to spend more on the expensive exfoliating creams and products, as long as you take care to properly scrub lightly and properly prepare the skin and do the proper aftercare. Exfoliating body and facial skin can leave your entire body feeling clean, fresh and healthy.