When it comes to exfoliating our skin, we typically think of only our faces. We scrub, rinse and moisturize, brightening our countenance to a dewy complexion, all while ignoring our elbows, shoulders, knees and toes. But those body scrubs and exfoliants exist for a reason!
All of our skin, no matter where it happens to be, functions much the same and needs an equal amount of TLC to keep it healthy and radiant. So before that cold, dry autumn and winter air sweeps in, now’s the time to learn how to exfoliate properly – so you can glow all over!
Why should you exfoliate your body
Every four weeks or so, our skin renews itself; new skin cells emerge, pushing out old, dried-out and damaged cells. By exfoliating, you’re assisting this natural cycle.
The benefits of skin exfoliation
- Unclogs pores
- Brightens complexion
- Enhances absorption of other skincare products
- Boosts blood circulation and skin regeneration
- Helps to relieve stress (especially if you treat yourself to an at-home spa day!)
Two main types of exfoliation
Depending on your skin type, you can choose to use a:
- Mechanical exfoliant (recommended for oily to combination skin) such as a scrub or scrubbing tool like a brush, sponge or cloth to physically remove dead skin cells.
- Chemical exfoliant (recommended for dry and sensitive skin) to gently dissolve dead skin cells with ingredients like alpha, glycolic and beta-hydroxy acids.
–> Try InstaNatural Glycolic Peel
*If you’re unsure of your skin type, consult with your doctor or dermatologist. Exfoliation is not recommended for those suffering from certain skin conditions such as rosacea.
How often should you exfoliate?
Your exfoliation routine should follow the specific needs of your skin type, so some experimentation might be in order. For particularly oily skin, aim for exfoliating two to three times each week. For drier, more sensitive skin, start with one exfoliation treatment each week, and make adjustments from there.
How to exfoliate your whole body
Start with a steam
To open up your pores and make your skin more supple, it’s time to turn up the heat. Take a hot shower, soak in the tub or relax with a facial steamer for at least 10-minutes. To really set that at-home spa day mood, switch on some relaxing tunes and your essential oils diffuser.
If you’ve chosen to use a chemical exfoliant like Abra Therapeutics Alpha Enzyme Peel, follow the directions on the package carefully. However, if you’ve chosen to mechanically scrub, then grab your loofah, washcloth or scrub brush, because it’s time to get to work!
Focus on these areas
1. Face: Facial skin is very delicate, and so, you should be very gentle when exfoliating this area. Scoop or squeeze your scrub onto your fingers, then gently rub in small, circular motions. Take care not to get any product in your eyes!
2. Arms + Legs: For mechanical exfoliation, use a loofah, mitt, washcloth, or perhaps just your hands if you have a really chunky scrub. Apply pressure to really get in deep – and to give yourself a bit of a massage too!
3. Feet + Hands: No need for a washcloth here, just scoop out your DIY scrub and work it deep into your hands and feet. These areas typically see the most action during our day-to-day, so make sure you apply a good amount of pressure. To smooth out calluses, try a pumice stone on your heels and other rough areas.
4. Back + Torso: To exfoliate that difficult to reach back, use a long-handled scrub brush, and gently scrub up and down – this also doubles as a great back scratcher! For your torso, use a loofah, a washcloth, or your hands to apply your scrub with solid pressure.
–> Try Zum Sea Salt Body Scrub5. Rump + Pubic Area: You can use a mitt or a long-handled scrub brush to get to your buttocks, but for your pubic area, be sure to use a loofah, soft washcloth or body brush. Be sure to go slow, and be gentle along your bikini line.
–> Try Weleda Birch Body Scrub
Seal with a moisturizer
Your skin is now a fresh and squeaky-clean canvas, clear of dead skin cells. Grab your moisturizers (you should have at least two: one for your face and one for the rest of your body), and slather them on, starting with your face. This will seal in moisture and keep your skin soft, supple and hydrated.