It can be quite disheartening to notice dry, flaky skin shortly after applying your moisturizer in the mornings. When that happens your natural next move might be re-up your hydration or even put on another moisturizer or hydrating product, but those patchy spots could be a sign that you’ve skipped a critical step on your beauty routine: exfoliation.
Before exfoliating, consider your skin type:
- Sensitive skin often burns or stings after use of skin care products.
- Normal skin is clear and not sensitive.
- Dry is flaky, itchy or rough.
- Oily skin is shiny and greasy.
- Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others.
Understanding your skin type will help you choose an exfoliation method that best suits your skin.
Skincare can get pretty overwhelming with a multitude of different product offers, location, time, etc — but the secret to perfecting your beauty regimen might actually lie in good old fashioned exfoliation.
Exfoliating — which is really just a fancy word for removing dead skin cells. Skin cells regenerate themselves about every 27 days, so the quicker you get rid of the dead ones, the quicker you expose the new and radiant skin underneath the surface. It's also an excellent way to prep your skin for the moisturizing creams and serums. If you're looking to give yourself a natural glow, exfoliating from head to toe is one of the easiest ways to achieve it.
We so often pamper our faces, but forget to do the same for the rest of our skin below the neck. Whether you are seeking to rejuvenate winter skin, trying to get bikini ready, or getting ready to apply tanning products, proper exfoliation is key.
How to exfoliate
- Exfoliating product
- Loofah, body brush or exfoliating gloves
- Pumice stone
- Before stepping into the shower, brush your dry skin with your loofah, body brush or exfoliating gloves. This will help remove the loose skin and prepare your skin for the exfoliating process. Begin with the soles of your feet, working your way up your body.
- Get into the shower and wet your body from head to toe. Don't exfoliate your skin if you are sunburned or have any open cuts or wounds.
- Use a pumice stone on your feet to eliminate rough spots and calluses. If your feet are extremely rough, soak them in a basin of warm water mixed with a cup of milk for 30 minutes before getting into the shower.
- Apply your exfoliating product to your loofah or gloves. Begin scrubbing your body in a circular motion starting with the bottoms of your feet and working your way up. When you reach the bikini area, don't scrub too hard because the skin is very sensitive.
- Use a body brush to exfoliate your back and other hard-to-reach places.
- Be gentle on your face, particularly around your eyes and mouth. Use an exfoliating product especially formulated for the face, which is gentler than products designed to be used on the body.
- Don't forget about your hands. You want them to look and feel soft and smooth too!
- Rinse your body with lukewarm water, and follow with the coldest water you can stand.
- After stepping out of the shower, apply a moisturizer and/or oil all over.
- Use moisturizer often. Exfoliation is drying to the skin, so you must keep your skin hydrated. We recommend our moisture repair butter, which among many other ingredients uses, Cupuaçu butter, which is more moisturizing than shea butter, as well as our Brazilian Glow radiance & renewal multi-tasking oil. You can also combine the two for luxurious, long lasting hydration for both face and body. Bonus: the Brazilian Glow radiance and renewal oil is also awesome for hair & nails.
Select exfoliating products that contain sea salt and/or sugar. Sugar is gentler to sensitive areas and face. Our Brazilian Glow Revitalizing Scrub and Clay Masque give you the advantage of a two in-one product and it comes in both Salt or Sugar. If you select this product to exfoliate, leave it on for up to 10 minutes before you begin scrubbing, so you can benefit from the firming and elasticity benefits of our Brazilian red clay. If you have extremely sensitive skin and prefer an even gentler and creamier exfoliator agent, you can try our Brightening and Exfoliating mud polish. This product also offers the benefit of being both an exfoliator and a clay masque, but uses finely ground Açaí seed powder as the exfoliator agent and Amazonian White Clay. Click here to learn more about each of these ingredients. The key is to select an exfoliator with regular, round grains because exfoliating with square or irregular grains can cause skin lacerations. These abrasions may not be visible to the human eye, but they can cause serious damage.
Karen Asquith, aesthetician and national director of education for G.M Collin Skin care, explains, "[When] they are damaging the skin, they activate the repair mechanisms. If the repair mechanisms are activated regularly for a long period of time, they are unable to keep up, they become exhausted."
She continues, "This 'burn-out' of the skin’s fundamental functioning causes pre-mature skin aging."
Exfoliating once or twice a week is usually enough to achieve silky skin; however, women with oily skin should exfoliate more often than those with dry skin. If your skin becomes excessively dry or irritated after exfoliation, don't scrub so hard. Cut back on how often you exfoliate, and explore the possibility that you may be allergic to the products you used.
Over-exfoliating is also a concern," says Asquith. "The skin needs time to recuperate, therefore 2-3 times per week is sufficient. Following exfoliation, a moisturizer should be applied. Depending on the treatment a firming, or hydrating cream/oil will penetrate better following an exfoliation and the results will be increased."
So, it's not just about properly removing dead skin. It's about what the new skin gets to soak in. So, Asquith suggests exfoliants that contain other active ingredients. "[Look for] hydrating, anti-septic, soothing and nourishing components thereby addressing more skin concerns and achieving multi-functional actions."
Now let’s talk a bit more in-depth about facial exfoliation and why it is essential: It deeply cleanses the skin, dislodging buildup in the pores and helping to break up whiteheads. It also smooths and refines the skin’s texture, giving it a soft, supple look. And lastly, it enhances blood flow to your face, giving the appearance of a fresh glow,”
Focus on the rough, dry patches of skin. You see the excessive dryness, but you should set aside time to thoroughly examine. “Go outside in the daylight with clean skin and bring a mirror. This will help you to understand what is going on and the areas where you might need help. Concentrate exfoliating on the places where your complexion is especially dull, flaky or uneven.
Gently exfoliate in upward, circular motions.
Twice a week before you go to bed, splash warm water onto skin and scrub. It’s not necessary to use too much, a little goes a long way — let the exfoliating particles do their job. You just want to facilitate the glide across the face, that way your skin feels great and you don’t over-treat it.
If you have frail capillaries, apply an oil prior to using your exfoliator/scrub to act as an extra layer of protection for your skin. And if you notice sensitivity or redness, exfoliate only once a week.
Looking for an exfoliator/scrub that won’t wreak havoc on your face with harsh beads? Use our Brightening and Exfoliating mud polish which uses finely ground Açaí seed powder and is extremely gentle. The Amazonian Clay, aside from amazing nutrition will provide brightening and matifying effects.
Exfoliating brushes have become very popular lately thanks to Clarisonic, as well as their frequent use in various spa treatments. Be sure to keep a close eye on how your skin reacts to this tool, and cut back on use should you see irritation or redness.
Always use a very hydrating moisturizer after exfoliating.
Wash your face with warm water, then gently pat dry with a towel. You’ll want to lock in moisture with a cream or your favorite anti-aging moisturizer or oil before heading to bed.
Your morning will be much brighter and your skin significantly smoother.
Last but not least, Don't overdo it. In most cases, the more aggressive the exfoliation, the less often it should be done. Exfoliating too often can leave skin red and irritated.
If you have questions, a dermatologist can evaluate your skin and help you decide if exfoliating will be beneficial for you.
And remember, what you take in is as important as what you apply out... so here is an awesome detox/glow skin smoothie recipe we love.
Much love, Val