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Exfoliate–Properly and Safely!

Exfoliating is something w’ve been told to do in order to keep our skin fresh and new. The purpose of exfoliating is to abrade your skin of the surface layer of dead skin cells. This stimulates blood flow adding a glowing luster to your skin. It also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines since unremoved dead skin cells can settle into fine creases and slow down cell regeneration. The fresher your skin, the more smooth and translucent it appears, hence a more youthful appearance. And the more often this can be done, the more time is on your side!
There are ALL kinds of skin exfoliants””from head to toe””available on the market. Some are great and do just what the face and/or body needs. Others though can be a bit too abrasive, contain unnecessary chemicals, and actually irritate your skin. Plus there are things you should know about when and how to use an exfoliant. Here are a few tips that can keep you glowing, fashionistas!

1 ) Do not exfoliate head to toe–especially your face!–if you plan on going out in the sun immediately. First, it makes your skin susceptible to sun damage and burning, and it can also make it irritated enough where you might have a reaction to sunscreens. If you plan on going sunning, make sure you use your SPF then exfoliate gently the following day.

2 ) Exfoliate at bedtime. Sometimes putting SPFs and makeup on freshly exfoliated skin can cause some irritation, so it is best when you scrub to step away from any strong chemicals and just stick to a simple moisturizer on the evenings you exfoliate!

3 ) Wash your face before you exfoliate. Exfoliating is not a substitute for washing your face. Make sure your face is damp before putting any scrubbing product on it (rub it with your fingertips first if possible.) If your skin is oily, exfoliate about 3-4 times a week. If your skin is dry, then only 1-2 times a week is necessary.

4 ) Only use exfoliators made for the face on the face. Body exfoliators can be WAY too abrasive for your face so do not use them above the neck. Sometimes face exfoliators can be great for the body, especially if they are packed with anti-aging or anti-acne properties. There is nothing wrong with clearing or firming up areas if the products have those toning and regenerating features. It can be expensive though, so beware.

5 ) Do’t forget your lips! The constant changing of lip colors as well as eating and drinking (and talking!) can cause your lips to dry out terribly. Exfoliate them in the morning with a little olive oil and white sugar to keep them looking their best.

6 ) Be careful around your eyes! I cannot stress this enough, especially since I was one who dealt with a major problem because of an exfoliator that got in my eye. Most times, those “little scrubbies” can be ground nut shells, coffee grounds, or little microbeads that are supposed to contain vitamins to help our skin. Well, once I noticed I had an irritated eye for a long time, but it was’t anything I’d call a doctor about, it just was a little annoying. When I finally had my yearly eye check up, I mentioned it to my doctor. After a long process, he “dug” out an embedded microbead that was in my eyelid for months. It even had started to become abscessed! My personal opinion? Make your own!! Some honey, brown sugar, lemon juice and yogurt makes a GREAT scrub that is SAFE for your face and safe if it does get in your eyes!

7 ) If you are going to shave your legs, do’t bother exfoliating them. The razor will do that for you. It will take off the hair as well as the dead skin cells surrounding them. (That’s why men never need to exfoliate their face!…ah ha!) Wait a day then exfoliate them after that.

8 ) Exfoliate your body “¦ and do’t forget your butt! YEAH I SAID IT! You want to turn over the skin cells on the body just as much as you do your face so you do’t want to forget about the rest of you when doing your scrubbing. Twice a week is fine to not just keep your skin soft and smooth, but the scrubbing helps circulation and eliminates toxins in the body that can get “clogged in” by dead skin cells that need to be removed. Body scrubs with rougher exfoliants such as sea salt, ground nuts, seeds, shells and sugars are fine for the body. They will help to bring newer skin cells to the surface allowing it to retain more moisture and keep its youthful elasticity and appearance.

9 ) When you are done exfoliating”¦.. MOISTURIZE! You may want to avoid any type of lotion with a scent or perfume in case your exfoliator irritated your skin a bit (and if that did happen, you may want to find something a bit more mild next time.) I like to use pure almond oil after I exfoliate. I find it leaves my skin feeling its best, has great healing qualities, and it just what my newly exposed young skin cells need!!
With summer upon us, exfoliating sometimes gets forgotten because we do’t feel so dry and “blah” without layers and layers of clothes on like we do in the winter. Actually, just the opposite is true. Our skin is more exposed to the sun and elements, and we want to keep it its freshest and youngest as possible. Do’t make a hasty decision on an exfoliator for your face OR your body. Read up on what is out there and do’t hesitate to make your own from recipes online. Soon enough, you’ll be silky smooth”¦ from head to toe!!