Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BODY: The many ways to exfoliate

Exfoliation is the best way to rid your body of dry, flaky skin. There are many ways to accomplish this. Whether using scrubs, gloves, or a brush, exfoliating the dead sometimes flaky skin on your body will go a long way in keeping the alligator look away.

Body scrubs. This is my favorite way to exfoliate the body. Because this product isn’t used on the delicate and sensitive facial skin, you may want to get a large tub or tube of inexpensive scrub at the grocery store. Once you are wet in the shower, put some of the product in your hands and scrub-a-dub-dub over your entire body.

Use a body scrub after a long workout session, or whenever you’ve gotten really sweaty from being outside. If you have been outside, you’ll have a mixture of sweat and sunscreen that needs to come off—thoroughly.

Using a body scrub in the shower really does the trick as far as exfoliating dead cells and helping your skin to feel smooth all over. Always use scrubs, whether for your face or your body, on wet skin only.

Exfoliation gloves. These are gloves made of a rough, stretchy material that are great to use in the shower. They are better than a loofah because formfitting gloves can get to all the hard to reach areas of your body. Simply wet the gloves, put your favorite body wash on them, and gently give yourself a rubdown. Do not use the gloves on your neck and definitely not on your face. They are much too rough for these areas and may cause irritation. After you are through washing, be sure to rinse the gloves thoroughly and hang them to dry.

You can find exfoliation gloves at most stores that carry bath and body products. They make a great gift or stocking stuffer. 

Dry-brush massage. Although this kind of exfoliation is a little more involved than just using a product in the shower, it is well worth it. Whenever clients come to me with really dry skin on their bodies, I recommend a dry-brush massage.

This procedure involves purchasing a natural-bristle brush. You can find them at most larger health food stores. Experiment with several brushes and choose one that feels just right on your skin. You want a brush with bristles that are stiff enough to stimulate your circulation and exfoliate dead skin cells, but not so rough that it hurts to use it. Conversely, don’t choose a brush so soft you can barely feel it massaging your skin.

On dry skin, before you hop in the shower
  • Take the bristle brush and go over your entire body using brisk movements. (Do not use the brush on your face and neck.) You are brushing off tiny particles of dead skin, and this needs to be done on dry skin. If your skin is wet, you will lose the effectiveness of the dry brush
  • I’ve always heard to brush in the direction of your heart to assist circulation. Whether there is a significant difference between stroking toward or away from the heart is uncertain
  • I wouldn’t worry about the direction your brush is moving as much as concentrating on removing dead cells. It should be a sweeping, almost a flicking motion on your skin
  • Once you have brushed your entire body, hop in the shower and rinse off

You won’t necessarily see dead skin actually coming off your body. Some of it will get trapped in the brush, and some particles are just too small to see. You want to clean your brush after each use by stroking your hand back and forth over the bristles to help release the dead skin inside, but do not get the brush wet. Depending on how much you use it, every so often thoroughly clean your brush to remove any debris that may have accumulated. Now you do get it wet by soaping it up with body wash, then hang it to dry (thoroughly) before using it again.

Your skin should feel invigorated and alive. Dry-brush massage literally wakes you up. It is great for stimulating your circulation, like a cup of coffee for the body. After your shower, use a good moisturizer or body oil. If done on a regular basis, dry-brush massage can help your skin look and feel smooth, making dried-out, flaky skin a thing of the past.

One note of caution: you may feel a slight irritation the first few times you brush your skin. Be gentle, not aggressive, as your skin acclimates to the stimulation of the bristles. After your skin has adapted, it will feel more invigorating and more comfortable to do a dry-brush massage.

After exfoliating, however you accomplish this, be sure to use a body moisturizing cream as well. Without this step you won’t truly have the soft-feeling body skin you are looking for.

By keeping your whole body well-exfoliated, you can achieve softer skin—always! You’ll be surprised at the results; your skin may start feeling like a newborn baby’s!

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