Exfoliation is a fancy word for removing the dead and dry skin cells from the top layers of the skin, or the stratum corneum. This stimulates the body to start making new, fresh skin cells and softens the look of fine lines, wrinkles, areas of hyperpigmentation and even some scars. There are many ways to achieve this, with some being gentler than others. Here is hot to exfoliate your skin.
Exfoliating Your Face
Dermatologists and aestheticians recommend that you exfoliate your skin once or twice a week, for exfoliating too often can damage your skin and strip away the layer that protects it. First, cleanse your face with your favorite cleanser. Rinse with water that is not too hot and not too cold. After cleansing, your face should feel clean but not dry or tight. Then, pat your face dry, and take a dab of your usual face scrub, and apply it to the skin, using circular motions with your fingers. Use a scrub that is not harsh and doesn’t require you to vigorously rub it in. This can harm your skin, especially if your skin is sensitive.
Apply the scrub for 30 seconds to a minute, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Then, pat — don’t rub — your skin dry. Follow this with a mask, serum or moisturizer.
Stronger types of exfoliants are chemical exfoliants. They may use substances such as fruit acids, which are derived from such plant materials as apples or sugar cane. It is important to follow the instructions that come with these chemical exfoliants and not leave them on too long. This is especially true of chemical peels, which can penetrate deeply into the top layer of skin.
Exfoliating Your Body
You can exfoliate your body while you take a warm shower and use a sponge, loofah, a type of sponge made out of a gourd or a towel. You can also exfoliate your body outside of the tub or shower with a firm bristled brush with a long handle to help you reach hard-to-get-to areas of your body. Start with your legs and move up. Start with the left leg and use long, upward, sweeping strokes. The strokes should be firm but not so hard that they hurt your skin. Move on to using small, circular motions around the inside of your leg starting at your ankle and moving up to your groin. Then, go to the back of your leg. Use three sweeping strokes up your calf and up to your buttocks. Then, move the brush across your buttocks and to the center of your back. Brush the front of your body and the inside and outside of your arms. After every stroke of the brush, use your hand over your skin in the same way.
Exfoliating Your Feet
The skin on the bottom of your feet is famously tough, so it can be exfoliated with a bit more elbow grease. You can use pumice stones and files against your heels, or wear exfoliating socks that use fruit acids to soften the tough skin.