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What is it?
Exfoliation is considered one of the most important things that you do to achieve healthy, radiant skin.
On average we generate a new layer of skin every two to four weeks. As we age there is a gradual decrease in the rate at which the old dead cells leave the surface of our skin.
These dead skin cells accumulate on the skin surface and are responsible for the appearance of dull, lifeless skin. Although soap will remove dirt and excess oil, soap alone cannot remove all of the excess dead cells.
Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, deep cleans the skin, unclogs pores, removes dirt and makeup residue, helps reduce acne breakouts, encourages new cell growth and stimulates blood flow to the skin’s surface for a fresh, healthy glow. Exfoliation will allow your moisturizers to penetrate deeper and improve the moisture level of your skin.
Signs That Skin Needs Exfoliating
Dull, Lifeless Skin
The accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, causes the skin to look dull, lifeless and lackluster.
Dry Flaky Skin
There is a simple test you can do at home to see if you have dead, dry skin cells on your skin:
- Take a piece of clear tape about 3-4 inches in length
- Apply it to your forehead or forearm
- Rub it gently for 2-3 seconds
Look at the tape, and if there are little pieces of flaky skin, then you need to exfoliate!
Treating With Exfoliation
How Often To Exfoliate
How often you need to exfoliate depends on your skin type, but one or two times a week seems to be the standard for most. Remember the purpose of exfoliating is to remove excess dead skin cells. You do not want to scrub so hard that you are removing healthy cells, which will leave your skin red and sore.
Oily skin: exfoliate once or twice a week
Dry skin: exfoliate once a week
Mature skin: exfoliate once a week
You may be wondering, "How Do I Know If I Need To Exfoliate?" Here is a simple test you can do yourself to see if you have dead dry skin cells on the surface of your skin.
- Take a piece of clear tape and apply it to your forehead
- Rub it gently and remove
- Look at the tape, and if there are little pieces of flaky skin, then you need to exfoliate!
When to Exfoliate
Although many experts advise that the best time to exfoliate your skin is when you wake up in the morning, there is no one true solution that fits everybody. Since your skin repairs and renews itself overnight, you wake up with a new dead skin cells on the skin's surface. Exfoliating in the morning helps slough away dead skin.
How to Exfoliate
Rub your exfoliating product firmly but gently on wet skin in a circular motion. Sensitive facial skin should be scrubbed gently, while the skin on your torso can be scrubbed a bit harder. The very sensitive area around the eyes does not need and should not be exfoliated. Since skin oils tend to hold on to dead skin cells, people with oily skin may need to exfoliate more often.
It's a good idea to remove any makeup and cleanse your skin before exfoliating in order to get a good deep clean.
Acne or Oily Skin
If you have acne-prone or very oily skin you may think you need to exfoliate often. But, washing your face too much and over exfoliating will dry out the skin. The sebaceous glands react to this excess dryness by producing even more oil which ultimately causes more breakouts to occur. So, we suggest exfoliating once or twice a week.
Super Simple Gentle Exfoliation
You may not realize it, but simple exfoliation occurs every time you wash your face, from the friction of rubbing your skin with a washcloth or even your hands.
We have natural soaps that we call "exfoliating" soaps, but we also have many soaps that contain ingredients that provide gentle exfoliation. Rubbing a simple soap bar that contains crushed or powdered botanicals or even clays can help remove dead skin cells.
- Some of our natural soaps contain botanicals (Citrus Woods, Scarborough Fair, Sweet Basil) that add a bit of exfoliation every time you wash.
- Some natural soaps contain oatmeal (Avocado Oats & Shea, Oatmeal Spice, Goat Milk Oatmeal) or clays (Rhassoul, Dead Sea) that also aids in sloughing off dead skin cells.
- Natural soaps that contain sugar and/or milk products (Goat Milk Oatmeal, Carrot & Honey) are high in natural acids that help loosen the glue-like substances that hold the surface skin cells to each other allowing dead skin cells to slough off more easily
Things to Avoid When Exfoliating
Synthetic Exfoliant Microbeads
Exfoliating microbeads were recently banned from from rinse-off cosmetics by mid-2017. Microbeads are made of plastic, do not biodegrade and are polluting the oceans, groundwater, waterways and aquatic life. There are still products out there that contain these plastic spheres--so beware!
Avoid using scrubs that contain pulverized nutshells and fruit pits, like apricot kernels, which often have sharp edges that can tear delicate skin. Harsh acid scrubs will irritate already sensitive skin. Salts scrubs are best left for the body since they are a too harsh and drying for the face.
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