You’ve probably heard that exfoliation is good for your skin, but maybe you haven’t been implementing that practice into your daily skincare routine. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the face and body. It sounds gross, but it’s part of any complete skin care regimen.
Besides clearing away dry, flaky skin, exfoliation can reveal smoother skin and unclog pores of dirt and oils. This process can be beneficial to all skin types, particularly problematic and dehydrated skin. Here’s how to properly exfoliate using tools and scrubs.
How to Properly Exfoliate Your Skin
When it comes to exfoliation, there are two general methods: chemical and mechanical. Chemical exfoliation involves using acidic ingredients like citric, glycolic, and salicylic acid. This is usually a prescribed formula from a dermatologist. Mechanical exfoliation is much more common and uses an abrasive, such as microbeads, pumice, salt, or sugar, to slough away dead skin. Many over-the-counter skin cleansers and exfoliators fall under this category and make it easy for you to exfoliate skin at home.
Be aware that exfoliation can dry out the skin, so it’s important to apply moisturizer right after exfoliating. Something like the Clinique Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm is a great choice because it’s a 2-in-1 exfoliant and moisturizer, plus it smells great. Don’t worry; this guide will walk you through how to exfoliate your skin using easy-to-find body care products.
How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Body?
Before we jump into how to exfoliate different parts of your body, we should first point out that there is such a thing as too much exfoliation. This depends on your skin type, although most people respond well to a once-a-week exfoliating treatment. If you have oily facial skin, then you may want to try exfoliating twice a week and see how that goes. Oily skin is prone to excess dirt and oil build-up, but an exfoliant can get that ickiness out and reveal the smooth, healthy skin underneath.
Most people think of exfoliation and assume it’s only for their facial skin. However, it’s important to exfoliate the skin all over your body. Again, this can be a once-a-week thing for most people. The thing to remember is that the exfoliation process (and the products you use) will differ between your face and body.
The skin on your face is delicate and thin, so it requires gentler products and less scrubbing. On the other hand, your body may have some particularly dry and rough spots, especially on the heels, knees, and elbows. This skin is tougher, so it needs a product that is more powerful and abrasive.
How to Exfoliate Your Face
Now, let’s get to facial exfoliation. You can exfoliate your face in the shower, or you can stand over the sink and wet your face. This helps to loosen all of that dead, flaky skin. A little goes a long way, so start with a dime-sized amount of exfoliating cream. There are plenty to choose from, and you can look for one that matches your particular skin type.
For example, Clinique Face Scrub for Men smoothes out facial skin by using non-abrasive grains to clear away dead skin. There’s also a Clinique 7-Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula that sloughs away dead skin and clears out pores for a more vibrant complexion. Burt’s Bees Peach & Willow Bark Deep Pore Scrub is a gentle exfoliator that clears away dead skin, dirt, and excess oils.
When it comes to exfoliating your face, don’t forget about your lips. Mac Lip Scrubtious Summer Berry is dermatologist-approved and de-flakes dry lips while giving them some much-needed hydration.
You may be wondering how to exfoliate your face with brush tools. In most cases, you can simply use your hands, as a brush may be too rough for your facial skin. Facial brushes do exist, but they can be expensive, and, most of the time, they’re unnecessary.
How to Exfoliate Legs & Feet
Your legs and feet deserve some love, too. Here’s how to exfoliate legs at home. First, use a body exfoliant and squeeze some of it onto a loofah, an exfoliating mitt, or your hands. L’Occitane Amande Cleansing and Exfoliating Shower Scrub is especially great for the hard, dry skin on your knees and feet. Make sure that your legs are wet, and then start at your ankles and work your way up your legs using a circular motion.
As for your feet, you can use a pumice stone. Pumice has a rough texture that makes it an excellent abrasive for exfoliating your feet. This is especially important if the bottoms of your feet tend to get dry and cracked. You don’t have to put any product on your feet before using the pumice stone, but be sure to move it in a circular motion and pay extra attention to any rough areas like the heels. Afterward, you can apply a moisturizer, not only to your feet but to your entire body.
How to Exfoliate Back
The skin on your back can withstand more scrubbing, so try using a loofah. It’ll also help you reach all the spots on your back, ensuring an even exfoliation. Start by stepping into the shower and making sure that your entire back is wet. This will help with opening the pores, making the exfoliation much more effective. It will also get the initial layer of dead skin off of your back.
Next, squirt a bit of body exfoliant onto the loofah, and move it in a circular motion along your back. You don’t need to scrub hard, but you should feel the abrasiveness of the loofah. Start at the small of your back and work your way up, maintaining that circular motion. Then, you can rinse your back with water and move on to your arms, shoulders, and neck.
When you’re finished with your full-body exfoliation, rinse your body off and then turn the water to a colder temperature. It’ll be uncomfortable for a minute, but the cold water will cause your pores to close, which prolongs the effects of your exfoliating treatment.