Summer is almost over, so most of us are soaking in those last few rays of sunshine before colder weather arrives and we have to trade in our bikinis for corduroys and sweaters.
Since smooth, hydrated skin enhances that sunny, summer glow, it is natural to exfoliate during the summer. But, that doesn't mean we should stop caring for our skin just because we won't be showing off those legs for a few months.
In fact, the dry, cracked skin of winter can be banished with a simple addition to your weekly routine. Your secret weapon to lusciously supple skin all year round? Exfoliation!
We can't jump straight into the Ultimate Guide on How to Exfoliate without first breaking down what exfoliation actually is and what it does for your skin.
So, what is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the act of gently massaging the skin using either chemical substances like enzymes or acid, or physical substances like pomace, granules, or an exfoliation tool to remove dead skin cells.
Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells as new cells are created about every 28 to 30 days. This turn over rate only slows down as we age. Sometimes, these dead cells don't shed entirely and they stay on your skin's surface, creating dry or dull-looking skin. These dead cells can even block pores causing blemishes and ingrown hairs.
Exfoliation helps remove this layer of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. But, what does that really do, and why is important?
- Exfoliation can help smooth out imperfections in the skin, create a clean canvas, and help even out skin tone over time.
- Exfoliation helps dry skin and helps with product absorption; by removing the old skin, your products and treatments will be able to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which is especially helpful for dry skin.
- Exfoliation helps heal dry, cracked feet. We spend so much time on our feet working, exercising, exploring. Exfoliating the feet and heels can make for a much more comfortable day's work.
- Exfoliation keeps your pores clear. It works like a car wash or a deep clean for your pores. It helps lift dead cells, old makeup, dirt, and toxins away that may have found their way into your pores.
- Exfoliation helps make your skin more absorbent of moisturizers and lotions. Following exfoliation with moisturizing helps stave off dryness no matter the season, and your lotions will be happy to seep into the fresh skin now that the old cells are gone and no longer blocking the way.
Exfoliation is not just a relaxing spa treatment you can do in the comfort of your own home. A regular exfoliation routine can help smooth out your skin tone, leave your skin to appear free of blemishes, red and rough spots, and prevent ingrown hairs.
Here is your ultimate step by step guide on how to exfoliate:
- Get your mind right. Exfoliation is relaxing and can turn any shower or bath into a trip to the spa. Why not enhance the experience by turning on some relaxing tunes and putting a few drops of fragrant oils into your diffuser? You can even match your diffuser to your exfoliant with a Tea Blossom diffuser floret and Tea Blossom Buffer.
- Next, set the temperature. When exfoliating, you need to make sure your water is not too hot. Overly hot water irritates the skin and can make it more susceptible to microtears when exfoliating. Find the perfect middle ground with luke-warm water, and if you can stand it, cool down your skin after exfoliating with a cooler temp water rinse to help close those open pores and lock in moisture.
- Wet your whole body, and begin scrubbing in a gentle, circular, upwards motion. A circular upward motion as you do not want to tug down on your skin. Start at your toes, being sure to get your heels and ankles before moving up to calves. Pay attention to the parts of your legs where you know you get ingrown hairs. Exfoliation helps remove any dead skin cells from the hair follicles that can keep them from growing straight up. A great way to remember which direction to massage is to always work in a circular motion towards your heart like the professionals do.
- Work gently and diligently to exfoliate your thighs, tummy, and buttocks. Exfoliation is a proven method to help fade the appearance of stretch marks through increased blood circulation and encouraging collagen through stimulation.
- After you've spent enough time with your curvy bits, be sure to gently exfoliate your chest, neck, and shoulders. You may not realize it, but a lot of sweat and dirt can build up in these regions causing red marks and blemishes or uncomfortable ingrown hairs. This is especially true if you work out in tight sports bras that can rub and cause friction in these areas.
- Most importantly, find an exfoliating product that best works with your skin and your lifestyle. With no shortage of exfoliating products on the market, you can find yourself overwhelmed with options. Stick with a quality product that is not too harsh and fits in with your daily lifestyle. We don't all have 45 minutes to clear our minds and scrub and rinse our bodies. That's why a two in one body wash infused buffer might be the perfect choice for you. With a plethora of amazing one-of-a-kind fragrances, each Spongellé body buffer is infused with moisturizing and cleansing good stuff so you can exfoliate and get clean at the same time.
- After exfoliating, dry your body with a fresh, clean towel and pull out your favorite moisturizer. Always seal your exfoliation in with cooling and moisturizing lotion. After exfoliating, your skin is better prepared to receive and absorb all those deliciously luscious body butters and creams, so naturally, you should take advantage of this prime-time and moisturize after exfoliation.
- Finally, plan your routine. Planning your exfoliating routine comes after your first trial. After you've dabbled in your first exfoliating experience, take note of how your skin responds to the treatment. If it's all positives, you've got the green light to build your routine into a regular habit. It is safe to exfoliate once a week to start and work your way up to two to three times a week, depending on your skin type. Never exfoliate every single day. This has the reverse effect and can even cause long term damage to your skin. Less is absolutely more when it comes to exfoliation.
And there you have it. Investing your time into an exfoliation routine by following the easy steps above, you will be on your way to brighter, healthier, smoother skin that will be the envy of the girl next door.
We've also compiled a few handy tips to remember before you get your exfoliating groove on. Keep these tips in mind when preparing to exfoliate, and your skin will thank you!
Tips to Remember for a Better Exfoliation
- Be gentle. The worst thing you could do for your skin is scrub too hard. Exfoliants are typically made with abrasives and rip and tear the skin on a micro level if too much pressure is applied. Remember, gentle, circular strokes in an upward direction for best results.
- Don't exfoliate every day. Exfoliating too much is just like exfoliating too hard. It can damage and dry out your skin instead of rejuvenating and moisturizing. Once or twice per week is a good place to start.
- Test a small area to exfoliate first, like the back of your hand, before committing to a full-body scrub to see how your skin reacts.
- Don't be fooled by gentler exfoliants. You can overuse chemical exfoliants the same way you can overuse mechanical exfoliants. Over-exfoliated skin loses moisture instead of retaining it.
Now that you have your routine in play, why not try out a few of our favorites and limited-time fall buffers to get you in the groove for colder temps and festive fun:
- Autumn Blossom, the invigorating scent of white tea paired with warm patchouli and almond wood.
- Try out this duo of Cinnamon and Honey and Pumpkin Spice to pull together everything nice about the turning leaves and windy days ahead.
- Are you looking for something sweet but sensual? Try out this Bourbon Vanilla for caramelized scents of coconut and creamy vanilla. This scent will keep you warm on a cold winter's night when hot chocolate is the only answer.
With Spongellé, it can be as easy choosing your favorite scent to begin an exfoliation routine. The hard part is going to be sticking to it as it takes a few weeks to form a new habit. The great thing about exfoliation is it doesn't have to be a chore and can fit into your daily routine and be just as easy as washing your body!