Exfoliation generally refers to the process of shedding dry, dead cells from the top layer of the skin. The human body normally sheds old epidermal cells and exposes newer cells on the skin’s surface. As people age, this natural exfoliation process slows. This can create an excess of dead cells that may cause pore blockages and give the skin a dull appearance. In order to avoid these issues, many people choose to exfoliate skin at home or in a salon setting.
Basic home exfoliation supplies include a loofah, pumice stone, lotion, an exfoliating cleanser for the body, and a separate exfoliant designed specifically for the face. A variety of commercial products are available to exfoliate skin. Some of the more popular additives to exfoliating products are alpha and beta hydroxy acids. These acids both have benefits, although beta hydroxy acids are lipid soluble and have excellent pore penetration. This may make products with beta hydroxy acids the better choice for people with acne or oily skin.
While there are some organic products commercially available, it is also possible to use organic ingredients to create homemade lotions and cleansers to exfoliate skin. There are several exfoliants that can be made using common kitchen ingredients. Oatmeal, cornmeal, ground-up nuts, and sugar are often used as abrasive elements in home recipes to exfoliate skin. Other common ingredients include honey, apple cider vinegar, and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Another advantage to hand crafting exfoliating products is the ability to individualize the scent with herbs or essential oils.
Once the basic exfoliation supplies are in hand, it is time to put them to use. Use the loofah or bath brush to gently scrub dry skin on the body, then step into the bath and scrub the rough areas of the feet with the pumice stone. Put the exfoliating cream or soap on the loofah and scrub in circular motions, using gentle strokes around the bikini area. When exfoliating the face, only use products specifically designed for facials, and use care around the eyes and mouth. Rinse well and apply lotion after patting skin dry.
While there are numerous benefits to exfoliation, it should be noted that not everyone should routinely exfoliate. The frequency of exfoliation depends on the individual, as exfoliating too often can deplete the skin’s natural oils and create unwanted dryness. People with excessively dry or sensitive skin may experience skin irritation when they exfoliate skin.