Exfoliation is one skin care step many people leave off—but it can so be beneficial for your entire body. Below you’ll learn what exactly exfoliation means, how to exfoliate skin properly, and the best ways to naturally exfoliate your body and face.
What Does Exfoliate Mean and Why Does It Matter?
Exfoliation is the process of shedding old, dry, hard skin cells to allow new, fresh skin cells to emerge on the surface. Your body naturally does this in many ways, but it often needs a little help to keep your skin healthy.
It’s very common, especially in the case of oily skin, for dead skin cells to get stuck on the surface, contributing to clogged follicles. This can lead to bacteria buildup, which may stimulate acne production and breakouts.
Regular exfoliation helps:
- Smooth out skin to help it look brighter and healthier
- Improve skin tone and encourage circulation
- Boost effectiveness of skin care products by improving absorption
- Rid oily skin of dead skin cells to help prevent clogged pores and breakouts
- Support collagen production and skin elasticity for a better appearance and more vibrant skin
There are two kinds of exfoliation:
- Mechanical, or physical, exfoliation: scrubbing the surface of the skin with an abrasive material—such as a brush, sponge, or cloth—or a body scrub
- Chemical exfoliation: using salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, or enzymes that chemically break down buildup on the skin’s surface
In this article, we’ll be talking mostly about physical skin exfoliation you can easily do at home. And there are a number of ways to do it!
How to Exfoliate Skin on Your Body
To physically exfoliate your body, there are few different products you can use, including:
- Dry brushes (learn more about dry brushing here)
- Exfoliating mitts
- Pumice stones
- Exfoliating washcloths and towels
- Loofahs and body sponges
- Exfoliating gloves
- Exfoliating scrubs
Any of these can be used when following the below tips on how to exfoliate skin:
1. Start with Dry Skin
Exfoliating is great right before you take a shower or bath. While you’re still dry, use your exfoliation tool, such as your brush, loofah, or gloves to gently rub your skin in circular motions. This will start the exfoliating process by shedding dead skin cells all over your body.
2. Rinse Your Body
Once you’ve thoroughly (yet gently) scrubbed your whole body, get in the shower and rinse water all over to continue the exfoliation process.
3. Wash with an Exfoliating Body Wash
Use a gentle exfoliating cleanser to exfoliate in circular motions, just like you did in step #1.
Pay special attention to rougher parts of your body like your feet and heels, knees, and elbows—and don’t forget to include your back! A back brush can help with this.
4. Rinse Again
Once you’ve finished exfoliating your whole body with the scrub, rinse off again, preferably with lukewarm water.
5. Moisturize and Complete the Process
Once you’ve finished bathing and are done in the shower, pat yourself dry and use a healthy all-natural body moisturizer on your newly exfoliated skin!
How to Exfoliate Skin on Your Face
Exfoliating the skin on your face is very similar to exfoliating your body—but there are some important differences:
- Pick gentle products: Your face skin is more delicate and sensitive than the tougher skin around your body, so you’ll likely need an exfoliator that isn’t as tough. Choose a product made for the face, such as an exfoliating facial mitt, and an all-natural scrub specifically for facial skin. Some good options include:
- Avoid your eye area. Start by exfoliating on dry skin, just like with the rest of your body, but avoid the skin around your eyes. It’s very thin and too delicate for exfoliating products.
- Rinse, scrub, rinse, and moisturize. When applying facial scrub, wyet your fingers and massage the product into your skin in circular and upward motions. Then, use warm water to rinse fully. Pat dry and apply a face moisturizer or face cream.
How Often Should You Exfoliate?
This can vary quite a bit per person and skin type. Some people can exfoliate a few times a week, while others do best sticking with once a week.
It’s best to notice how your skin reacts after an exfoliation to gauge what’s best for it.
Follow the above steps for how to exfoliate skin all over your body. And for all the exfoliating products you could need, easily shop our Bath Accessories, Body Scrub, and Hand and Body Lotion sections here at Nature’s Ideal.