Prepare for spring by taking time to exfoliate your skin. Exfoliating can be done mechinally or chemically, but either way has many benefits.
After hiding in wool and dark colours all winter, it’s almost time to break out the pastels, slide into shorts, and pop on a T-shirt.
Yes, soon you’ll be exposing a lot more skin than you have in months. Prepare for spring by taking time to exfoliate your skin. Uncover your healthy glow with exfoliation. The process removes dead cells from the skin surface and is important to good health. Skin is an exit point for toxins, and if pores are clogged with dirt and debris, then impurities will be trapped. This forces the other eliminative organs–the kidneys and liver–to work harder and possibly become overworked.
Mechanical or Chemical?
We can remove dull skin through mechanical or chemical exfoliation. Mechanical exfoliation refers to using something rough such as an abrasive sponge to slough off dead cells. Chemical exfoliation, as the name implies, depends on a cosmetic chemical to perform the magic.
Although the name sounds frightening, chemical exfoliants often use vitamins to achieve their effect. Vitamin C, for example, allows cell generation, which, in turn, helps remove old cells. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are naturally occurring acids found in fruits, vegetables, and milk. AHAs normalize cell renewal and encourage the formation of healthy skin by peeling away dead cells.
Some people find AHA products to be so harsh that they lead to blisters or redness. If so, opt for beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliants. Derived from berries, papaya, pineapple, wintergreen leaves, or willow tree bark, BHAs work by digesting the bonds that attach dead skin cells to live ones. Since they don’t penetrate as deeply as AHAs, they may be better for people with sensitive skin. BHAs clear away dirt and oils that can clog pores, and they help to prevent acne eruptions.
Whether you try AHAs or BHAs, do not combine them with a mechanical exfoliation such as a loofah, a scrub, or a peel. If you do, you will likely damage your skin.
Scrubs are Good, Too
If you have mature or oily skin, you might prefer to use a more familiar product–the abrasive scrub. Look for one that contains oatmeal or crushed walnuts or almonds. For added benefit, products containing beneficial essential oils such as black currant and passion flower help to firm skin and reduce lines.
Apply the scrub directly to the skin and use a gentle, circular motion to work it over the face and neck. Always avoid the eye area.
As with many things in life, more is not always better when it comes to exfoliation, so resist the temptation of a daily peel. If you have dry or sensitive skin, a weekly exfoliation should suffice. Oily skin might benefit from more frequent exfoliation, up to three times a week. Be especially gentle with acne-prone skin, as overscrubbing can irritate skin and stimulate the oil production that blocks pores.
Warmer weather during the spring and summer months will promote more bacteria, so you’ll likely want to exfoliate more frequently now than in the dry winter months. Whether you use a mechanical or chemical exfoliant, your skin shouldn’t burn, sting, or feel raw afterward. If it does, then look for a gentler approach. Follow your exfoliating treatment with a skin-nourishing oil such as organic jojoba or sweet almond, or a soothing creme from your favourite health products store.
Your Skin Doesn’t Stop At the Neck
Warmer weather is likely going to increase your perspiration output. Some adults sweat about 2.5 litres per hour, and you don’t want that amount of perspiration to be trapped by blocked pores on any part of your body. Exfoliate your entire body by dry-brushing before you shower. To do this, you’ll need a long-handled natural bristle brush and a few extra minutes in the bathroom. Using the dry brush on dry skin and starting at the soles of your feet, brush upwards toward your heart, front, and back. Brush across your buttocks, and move the brush counter-clockwise across your abdomen. Finish with arms and hands. Rinse in the shower to reveal a healthier you!
Add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) raw oatmeal to your regular moisturizer and massage the mixture into your face using a circular motion. Continue for five minutes and then rinse with cool water.