6 Ways To Exfoliate Your Body
Healthy skin is especially covetable during the summertime, and you can achieve it from the comfort of your own home. Enter: exfoliation. There are many ways to remove dead skin cells from the top layer of your stratum corneum, but not all exfoliating devices are created equal.
“It’s important to exfoliate your body in order to remove the dead skin cells from the surface and make room for healthy cells,” explains Erica Cerpa, aesthetician and founder of EC Beauty Studio and Spa in Hoboken, NJ. “With the right type of exfoliation and technique, you’ll reveal softer, smoother skin immediately.”
Your body naturally sheds dead skin cells every 30 days, but that cycle slows down as you get older. In order to keep up, adding a designated exfoliation day (or two) to your bodycare routine can help ensure the skin below your neck stays sufficiently smooth and supple. Generally speaking, there are three ways to exfoliate – granular, chemical, and with a device – and each comes with an array of options. Here, we’ve rounded up the best exfoliating options to help you choose the best form for your skin type and needs.
1. Granular Exfoliation: Body Scrub
If you are looking to add a multitasker to your skincare routine, a body scrub is it. Scrubs help to improve the texture of your skin by exfoliating away dead skills and reducing ingrown hairs. Oh, and they are generally safe for all skin types. Cerpa recommends using a soft, oil-based scrub made with sugar, oats or coffee up to three times per week. “This way, when you rinse the scrub off, the oil is left behind for natural moisturization,” she says. We love Shea Moisture Ground Coffee Scrub because it’s gentle and moisturizing thanks to the added olive oil. You can also make your own by mixing a bit of sugar with coconut oil and a splash of peppermint or lavender for added aromatherapy benefits.
2. Granular Exfoliation: Soap
Yes, using good ol’ fashioned bar soap or body wash with gentle granules can mildly buff your skin, so why not cleanse and exfoliate at the same time? We like the Drunk Elephant Juju Exfoliating Bar. And, if you prefer a wash, try Dove Gentle Exfoliating Nourishing Body Wash.
3. Chemical Exfoliation: Body Wash with AHAs & BHAs
If you have skin that is prone to breakouts or dullness, using a body wash with alpha or beta hydroxy acids (think: glycolic or salicylic) is a great way to exfoliate. “If you use a device or granular exfoliant and rub skin with breakouts or dermatitis, it will create friction causing irritation and potentially spread the breakout,” Cerpa explains. Unlike scrubs and exfoliating devices, these body washes have ingredients that will penetrate your pores and encourage cellular turnover. Try using Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap or Neutrogena Body Clear.
4. Exfoliating Devices: Dry Brush
Dry brushing is a triple-threat. Not only does it help to brush off dead skin cells, but it also helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite and detox your body through assisting with lymphatic drainage. Before you get in the shower, take a dry brush made with 100 percent natural boar bristles, like Rosena Dry Body Brush (it’s great because you can slip your hand into it and have better control over the movement), and use it to create circular motions on your skin starting at your feet. Work your way up your body in a circular pattern — allowing yourself to get a bit more aggressive around your thighs and midsection since the skin there tends to be heartier. If you have thick varicose veins on your legs, skip them so they don’t become over-stimulated.
5. Exfoliating Devices: Loofah
The loofah (in tandem with your own soap) has been a favorite for many years thanks to the fact that it lifts dead skin cells. But it’s also the highest maintenance tool to use. “I’d say ditch the loofa, unless your heart is set on using one, because bacteria gets stuck in the nooks and crannies and builds up on it,” Cerpa notes. If you love your loofah, like the EcoTools Exfoliating Bath Sponge, then make sure you wash it after each use. By washing it, we mean placing it in the dishwasher solo or soaking it in an antibacterial soap (think: Dial) for 30 minutes. Unfortunately, you can’t just count on rinsing it out and hanging it up.
6. Exfoliating Devices: Washcloth
A regular washcloth makes a great exfoliating device for sensitive skin. Just like dry brushing, start at your feet and create circular motions going upwards. Once you reach your arms, begin scrubbing in towards your heart. Just make sure you launder your washcloth after each use. Cerpa recommends using a microfiber or bamboo-fiber cloth, like these by Tia & Fey. They’re a facial go-to for aestheticians.