Teaching Tuesdays -The How and Why of Exfoliating!

While exfoliation is a major part of a day at the spa, do you understand the why of it? Do you know how to do it properly at home? Well, you will after this post, so hang in there with me!

While exfoliation techniques vary, the two-fold purpose remains the same. First of all, exfoliation removes dirt and oil residue from the surface of the skin, as well as the uppermost layer of dead skin cells.  Removal of these dead cells enables the skin to absorb or react to products which are utilized in treatments  following the exfoliation process. And this is the second reason for performing exfoliation, it prepares the skin for any subsequent treatments.

While the affects above are reason enough to include exfoliation in your skin care regimen, there are additional healthful benefits. The act of exfoliation also helps to stimulate and circulate lymph fluids which aid in the elimination of toxins. It also serves as a stimulating massage, which improves over-all circulation.  Additionally, it affects the secretion and, in turn, the production of the body's natural oils. This is extremely valuable in regard to the skin's over-all health, its moisture level, and its ability to protect (which is one of its main jobs). 

Since exfoliation should be a regular and important part of your skin care routine, it is important to know how to properly perform it. First of all, you need to make sure that you have the appropriate body-scrubbing tools. Sisal mitts, towels, loofahs, abrasive sponges and stiff brushes will all work. Remember that we are discussing exfoliating the body, not the face. 

Once you have a tool that you like, you should begin to scrub your body on a daily basis, even if its just for a quick, five minute treatment. When scrubbing for the first time you should be extra gentle, ensuring that you do not irritate or abrade the skin. Continuing the process will eventually allow you to scrub more vigorously, while applying more pressure, but it takes time to get your skin use to it. Also, since all this scrubbing is revitalizing and energizing, it is better utilized in your morning routine, rather than an evening one.

To exfoliate, take your scrubbing tool of choice and begin with your feet, ankles and legs. Working in a circular motion, gently, but firmly, apply an even pressure as you work. keep working, going from the hands to arms and shoulders, gradually working your way down the back, then up through the torso toward the heart. 

Once you are finished, a cool water rinse will help to further encourage good blood circulation! Remember to pat dry, no rub, and don't forget the next step is to properly moisturize. You also need to wash the scrubbing tools thoroughly with soap and water, and allow to air dry. It is best to hang them up so that the air circulation is maximized. Proper cleaning and drying is extremely important, as they can develop nasty bacteria pretty quickly. 

One quick and easy body scrub to help in your exfoliating is just 1/2 cup of sea salts, 1/4 cup of the carrier oil of your choice, and the tool of your choice. Just dip the scrub tool in a bit of the oil, then dip it into the salt. Rub over the skin in a circular motion, following the instructions above. Pay special attention to the rough spots like the knees, elbows, and heels. When finished, rinse off, pat dry and moisturize. As mentioned before, the exfoliating will prepare your skin to accept the following treatment. So it will soak up more of any moisturizer that you use.   

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