Your face gets all the love, but your body is screaming for help. It’s time to exfoliate! We get it: It can be hard to remember to exfoliate – and even harder to find the right products. But if you want baby-soft skin, these tips for full-body exfoliation will keep you as fresh as ever.
What Is Exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. As we age, our skin loses the ability to naturally renew itself at high speeds, leading to dullness and congestion. Other symptoms of under-exfoliating include acne (especially blackheads) and visible signs of aging. Skipping scrubs also means that your other skincare products cannot penetrate your skin, leading to overall dryness, flaking, and further irritation.
Types of Exfoliation
There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants use small granules of various materials to polish skin, but they can be abrasive. Experts caution against overusing these products, especially on the face, as they have the potential to cause micro-tears and other damage when not used as directed.
Chemical exfoliants such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) work to dissolve the top layer of skin and reveal the fresh, undamaged skin underneath. Other benefits include more balanced skin pigmentation and reduced visibility of age lines and pores. Chemical exfoliants can be found in serums, moisturizers, and body washes; look for ingredients such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, fruit enzymes, citric acid, or malic acid.
When to Exfoliate What
How often should you exfoliate your face? It depends on your skin. This handy guide from Bioré is a great resource.
Your body is a different story! Dermatologist Harold Lancer says that your body requires harsher exfoliants at longer intervals. He recommends manually exfoliating the body every day, starting with once a week, then slowly increasing the frequency. Other experts are more conservative, saying that you should only exfoliate your body at most three times per week, depending on your skin type.
How to Exfoliate the Body
Your body has tougher skin than your face, so this is the time to reconsider physical exfoliation. Jojoba beads and sugar scrubs are designed to give you soft skin, but exfoliation can also be enhanced with tools like shower brushes, microfiber cloths, or microdermabrasion devices. If you are using any of these, Dr. Lancer advises doing so in the shower with gentle pressure to minimize skin damage. And always follow with a moisturizer.
Here are some of our favorite products for full-body exfoliation.