With spring finally here, we say goodbye to a very cold winter and hello to shorter sleeves, dresses and skirts and sandals. Are you ready for spring? We pay particular attention in this blog to exfoliation, which can help you get rid of your dull winter skin and leave you fresh and glowing. Try some of these tips for head-to-toe spring skin!
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process where dead skin is removed, either chemically or with physical exfoliants (like sugar). It is all part of the normal process of skin cells, which rise to the surface through many layers, and then die. It is important for the skin to go through this process, and the dead skin cells are actually designed to help protect our skin from pollution, the environment, and the sun. Two to three times a week, however, skin cells may need some help in breaking free of the surface so that they don’t clog pores and cause breakouts.
Benefits of exfoliating regularly
- Removal of dead skin cells promotes a smoother, softer skin.
- Boosts circulation making skin glow
- Stimulates collagen production and improves firmness and texture of skin
- May help reduce the appearance of fine lines
- Increases cell turnover
- Un-clogging of pores prevents acne
- Allows your expensive serums to penetrate deeper into the skin
That packs quite a punch! As you can see, exfoliation is not just for those with dry, dull skin, but it is also beneficial to those with oily skin.
Two Exfoliation Methods
There are two main types of exfoliation: chemical and physical (sometimes called “mechanical”). Let’s break these two ideas down, and address other physical means like brushes later.
Physical exfoliation is the method of scrubbing with a physical object like a loofah or washcloth or brush against the skin, or by using a wash or scrub that contains texture. Different ingredients in this category include jojoba beads, sugar, pieces of ground up nuts or shells, microbeads, or grains. If you’re wondering how to rejuvenate your skin while taking care of its unique sensitivities, gentler fruit acids and fruit sugars are the preferred methods.
Some physical exfoliation ingredients have scratchy surfaces and can cause micro-fissures in the skin, especially the face. Even sugar, which many people use on their legs, when looked at under the microscope has very hard, scratchy points on the crystals.
Chemical exfoliation means that the facial wash contains ingredients that will dissolve the dead skin and remove it without scrubbing rough textured ingredients onto the skin. This is the preferred method for the face. Chemical exfoliants like AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA (beta hydroxy acids) are generally derived from nature. AHAs are usually from fruit sources like grapes, lemons, sugar, and apples.
When we say “beta” hydroxy acid in skin care, it generally means salicylic acid. You might also see it listed on your skin care as beta-hydroxybutyric acid, tropic acid or trethocanic acid. The main difference between alpha and beta is that alpha is water soluble, and beta is oil soluble. It can penetrate slightly deeper into the oil of the skin, making it a good choice for those with oilier skin and acne. Be careful of the percentages listed on labels. If a skin care product proudly says “10%” salicylic”, then be very cautious with it and do a patch test. Discontinue anything that makes you red, itchy or if it burns.
Moving on… The skin of the face and the body are different, and the techniques for exfoliation are different, too. Let’s look at each area!
Benefits of Exfoliating Your Face
After the harsh cold of the winter, with the wind, indoor heating, and outside temperatures, your face may have been working overtime. Dry and flaky winter skin is definitely ready for a spring cleaning, but be careful not to overdo it!
The first rule for facial exfoliation is to take it easy and not get too carried away with the fun of exfoliation. So many people try to exfoliate every day, and it really does damage to the skin in the long term. Cells have to be allowed time to rise to the surface and sit a day or two before they are removed.
Avoid using harsh ingredients like salicylic acid in your daily cleansers if you can, keeping them to a couple of times a week if you wish. If you suffer from very sensitive skin or have allergies to many ingredients, then you may have had trouble in the past finding a gentle way to remove your dead skin.
Look no further! Our Reveal Exfoliating Foam Cleanser with alpha hydroxy acids is a wonderful way to bring the spring fresh glow to your skin! The alpha hydroxy fruit acids are used in a lower concentration so that it still does the job, but does not exceed the amount needed. It comes in a beautiful soft foam that smells naturally of goji berries, grape and citrus juices. Directions are to smooth it onto damp skin and massage gently. Leave Reveal on the face for two minutes before splashing and rinsing your face. The dead skin is naturally removed and no harsh consequences! Don’t forget at least once a week to also exfoliate your neck!
How to Rejuvenate Your Lips
Most people forget that the skin of their lips needs exfoliation, too! You can make your own gentle lip scrub by taking about 1 teaspoon of agave nectar, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, and about a teaspoon and a half of castor (fine ground) sugar. If you are not too sensitive, brown or regular white sugar may be used.
Keeping your mouth closed, massage gently for a minute and then rinse and pat dry. Exfoliating your lips will help lipstick and lip balm apply more smoothly and will make you feel great!
Benefits of Exfoliating Your Body
Let’s be honest, most of us exfoliate our bodies in the shower. It is just easier! Use whatever type of body scrub that you are happy with, since the skin of our bodies is much thicker and less sensitive than the delicate facial skin. Even if sugar is too harsh for your face, your legs will love it!
Other ideas include keeping a large body brush, loofah or washcloth in the shower. Salt scrubs and sugar scrubs are the most popular. Be wary of those containing microbeads, which can go down the drain and out to harm sea life in the ocean. Here’s a great idea for silky smooth body scrub we love indulging our senses with.
Rejuvenating Your Hands & Feet
Some people remember to do their feet while they are in the shower or bath. (I’ve been known to stick my feet in the bathroom sink...). Benefits of exfoliating your feet using a sugar scrub can be just what you need to rejuvenate skin that gets rough, dry, or calloused, particularly after exposure to dry air during winter. Scrub your feet harder than the rest of the body since the skin here is thickest of all, and don’t forget your body oil or body cream when you are finished!
Hands can be done in the sink once a week. It is amazing how many people forget to exfoliate their hands. Hands are one of the first places that age shows up on the body in the form of dark spots, wrinkles and loose skin. Do yourself a favor and remember to exfoliate and moisturize your hands. I like to scrub my hands with my body scrub in the shower… easy to remember and quick to do!
What is the Best Practice for After Exfoliation?
Whether you are exfoliating your face or your body, make sure to apply your moisturizer when you are done. As the spring turns to summer you may be fine with a lighter moisturizer or you might skip your night cream and go to a facial oil, but whatever you choose, please remember to moisturize. Right after exfoliating or washing, apply your moisturizer to damp skin. If you have waited too long and your skin is dry, consider a facial spray or toner and then apply your cream.
Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Whether you decide to use AHA or BHA, these acids do make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Remember to wear your sunscreen and a hat when you are outside. It’s a good habit to start now, to avoid extra wrinkles later!
One Final Thought
This is another opportune time for me to remind all of you to cherish and take care of yourselves. I know that personally, this has been a very busy year so far, with many changes and some stress. I try to remember to do my daily practice of breathing and removing my makeup at the end of the day with kindness and gentle massage. It only takes a couple of minutes at the end of the day to give yourself a little love and breathe.
We spend so much time taking care of others, please remember that you are special and deserve to take some time to exfoliate 2-3 times a week, perhaps even squeeze a facial masque in during the weekend, and take that little extra moment to care for your body.
Bye for now!