To exfoliate is to remove the surface dry skin cells, the outermost layers of the stratum corneum. This helps to increase cell turnover, improve skin texture and improves skin tone leaving you with a lovely glow.
Exfoliation, derived from the Latin exfoliatus (to strip of leaves), is a term that describes any process meant to remove dead skin flakes from the body.
Why is it important to exfoliate?
Well, by exfoliating you improve your skin function and any skin issues like blocked pores which lead to further problems like acne, dull skin, pigmentation and fine lines. The skin is a major organ in your body and we need it to work well. It protects us from pathogens in the environment and helps with the process of phagocytosis. It enables the production of vitamin D together with sunshine and cholesterol on our skin . So we want our skin to have the right acid mantle levels and we want it looking radiant aswell.
What do I use to exfoliate?
You can use chemical or physical exfoliants or you can take a gentle salt bath.
What is a Chemical Exfoliant?
These exfoliants include ingredients such as AHAs and BHA, and enzymes such as Pumpkin, Papaya, and Pineapple. These ingredients will dissolve dead skin cells and usually have a deeper exfoliating effect. It penetrates further into the pores meaning it helps with blackheads and acne. Using this type can make the skin sensitive to sunlight so it is best to do this at night. Be sure to use chemical exfoliators that are based in natural ingredients, like fruits, milks, or sugars.
These products are facial, hand and body scrubs. These usually include ingredients like fine sea salt, apricot kernel or pumice stone powder. For the facial, I use bamboo powder. It is so gentle and effective for facial skin. You can also use a dry skin brush which can also help to improve your circulation. Using gentle but firm pressure, start at the ankles and rub in circular motions working up towards the heart. If you are taking a shower, use a loofah sponge.
If you wanted a more gentle approach with less physical work, you can take a hot bath using sea salts. Sea salt has a cleansing effect on the skin, gently softens and dissolves away surface dead skin cells. All you need is about 1 cupful. You can add your favourite essential oils to the salt before adding to the water. My favourite is lavender and roman chamomile. It completely relaxes me and really helps with sleeping. Great for anyone with difficulties getting to sleep at night, stress and anxiety. Read my article about various different types of detox baths.
What is your favourite exfoliant? I love to use sea salt with almond oil for it's rich emollient properties and essential oils of lime and grapefruit for it's bursting citrusy aroma and detoxifying benefits. Let me know, and if you have any questions, please comment below.
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