The Importance of Being Exfoliated: How To Exfoliate

8 Aug

Hey there! How’s your Monday afternoon turning out? I feel like I have a case of the Mondays, actually. But I’m here to tell you something about important today – the importance of exfoliating. Being earnest is certainly important too, and I am darn earnest when it comes to beauty and skincare. So let’s hop to it!

So what is exfoliating? It’s scrubbing that top, dead layer of skin off to reveal the shiny new skin that was trapped underneath.

Why should you? Because not only does new skin look brighter and healthier, you can prevent enlarged pores and breakouts by getting rid of that old layer. It’ll also make hair removal easier, which is why men should exfoliate too. Polishing off that top layer of skin can prevent ingrown hairs (which often lead to infection). Whether you shave, wax or tweeze your unwanted hair, you’ll benefit here.

You might be wondering when you should exfoliate. I like to slough off all that dead skin in the shower (post-shampoo, pre-shave), but I don’t recommend that you do this every day – especially not your face, as over-exfoliation can lead to wrinkles (make sure to moisturize after your shower!). Three to four times a week is a good number to aim for. It’s also necessary all year round! You’ll have a lot of dead skin buildup in the winter, as your skin will be drier, but summer is also a big deal – if you tan, especially using something in a bottle, your skintone will be uneven and patchy if you don’t scrub first.

So how do you want to do this? It’s up to you. You can use a washcloth, but that isn’t abrasive enough for my skin. I’ve found my match in a pumice stone. I don’t recommend this for everyone (though it’s particularly great on feet!), but I’ve self-diagnosed myself with KP, or keratosis pilaris – aka chicken skin. Skin is made up of keratin – with KP, you have too much keratin and it builds up in your hair follicles. It’s harmless, but kind of annoying to deal with. I’ve found that scrubbing my legs with a pumice stone a few times a week helps keep mine at bay. For those with normal skin, I recommend a bath pouf, as it can hold on to the shower gel of your choice and really help it lather up. (Both Dove Men+Care and AXE make manly loofahs if you’re a dude and are anxious about having one. I particularly like the Dove one – which they call a shower tool! – seen here.) You can also try Lush‘s Porridge soap, which has little pieces of oatmeal in it to boost its scrubbability. If you’re into gourmand fragrances, you will love this soap. (I think it smells strikingly similar to Aquolina Pink Sugar.) It’s also vegan, if that makes a difference to you.

Lush Porridge Soap

Lush Porridge Soap, picture from lush.com

Like I said, you really don’t want to overdo it on your face. I alternate a cream cleanser with a face scrub to balance things out. One I especially like is Clean and Clear‘s In-Shower Facial – you spread it all over your face, leave it on for a little while as you condition, shave, etc., and then massage it in/wash it off.

Clean and Clear In-Shower Facial

Clean and Clear In-Shower Facial, picture from drugstore.com

If you’re looking for lotions that will assist in naturally exfoliating while giving you the added bonus of moisturizing, look for buzzwords like AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid), lactic acid, citric acid, glycolic acid, and urea or uric acid. If you see a product that says “skin renewal,” “evens skin tone,” or “brightening,” it’s highly likely that one of these acids will be an ingredient. I’m no scientist, but I do know from working in labs and using different skincare products that these are natural acids that break down proteins and can help rehydrate your skin. If you also have KP, check out Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Body Creme – it has urea as its first ingredient. It’s really thick and sticky, so I recommend applying post-shower and then just hanging out naked for a while so it can soak in.

Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Body Creme

Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Body Creme, picture from drugstore.com

Moisturizing is just as important to your skin as exfoliating, because the skin cells need to renew themselves – not to mention you’ll prevent wrinkles! However, I highly recommend applying sunscreen if you’re going to use any products containing any of the above – they make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure.

Thank you for reading my article about exfoliating! Do you exfoliate on the reg? What tools do you use? Have any products you recommend?

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2 Responses to “The Importance of Being Exfoliated: How To Exfoliate”

  1. Katie August 8, 2011 at 9:56 PM #

    Hey Em!

    You know me, I’m all about things being simple and quick. Is there a good all over exfoliator? One I could use in the shower for both face and body?

    • makeupmaestra August 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM #

      hey katie!

      my suggestion for you is that because you’re so crafty, you should make your own! 2 parts sugar, 1 part olive oil. cheap, you have the ingredients already, natural and super moisturizing. you might want to add some essential oils so it smells great – you can get those at a natural food store. plus you can pick your own scent that way! just a few drops. you can keep it in a tupperware in your shower and it should last a pretty long time!

      thanks for visiting 🙂

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