Exfoliation is a good practise for removing the top layer of the skin, which consists mainly of dead skin cells, oil, sweat and dirt. As this layer builds up it dulls your skins appearance. Once this layer is removed your skin will appear healthier and have a lovely natural glow to it.
Exfoliating has been around for quite some time, the Ancient Greeks exfoliated by rubbing their skin with a mixture of oils and sand. They then scraped their skin with a strigil, which is a curved metal scraper used to scrape dirt and sweat from the body before effective soaps became available.
We have moved on from that method but many modern methods can be harmful and even dangerous. Abrasive methods have long been hailed as the cure for wrinkles, acne and other skin conditions but these harsh methods actually remove your skins natural defences. The result is not wrinkle free, acne free skin but rather damaged skin. Some exfoliators are so harsh that they can cause the face to bleed, especially ones that include sharp objects such as apricot kernels and walnut shells. These can be used for feet and elbows but definitely not for your face. Acclaimed facialists Sarah Chapman Chapman and Vaishaly Patel suggest you avoid the new breed of home microdermabrasion kits which sandblast the skin with aluminium oxide crystals. They say that these sorts of things are simply too harsh and aggressive.
A good rule of thumb is to use exfoliates that are rounded such as sand, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, salt, etc. If you live near the seaside I highly recommend spending some time gently rubbing the sea sand all over your body – the combination of salt and sand does wonders for your skin.
Men who shave with blade razors as opposed to electric ones don’t need to exfoliate; the razor does the job quite nicely.
Nature’s Way Alternatives
Ground oats is my favourite exfoliator as I always have plenty of it in my home and it does the job perfectly. Because oats are mildly rough, they are one of nature’s most effective exfoliators. They soften the skin leaving it silky smooth and have been clinically shown to help heal dry, itchy skin.
NATURE’S WAY EXFOLIATOR
Method: Take 2 – 3 teaspoons raw oats and crush them into smaller bits either by hand or in a grinder. After cleansing your face gently rub the oats into your skin for 10 to 15 seconds. Rinse your face with warm water until you no longer feel the granules of the oats. Dry your face gently with a clean soft towel and if necessary follow with a natural toner and moisturiser.
More exfoliator recipes:
There are many other simple ways to make exfoliators using natural ingredients, here are some examples:
Yogurt and Rice Powder
If you have oily skin, you can use yogurt to exfoliate as it will remove blackheads and whiteheads.
Mix all the ingredients together and rub it into your skin in little circular movements. This is suitable for face and body exfoliation. Leave for three to five minutes and rinse it off. The sugar will remove dead skin cells and the olive oil and Aloe Vera will nourish your skin keeping it moisturized.
Milk and Salt
Soak a cotton ball and gently dab all over your face. Allow the mixture to dry on your face for about 3 minutes and then dip the cotton ball in the mixture again and rub lightly in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water. The milk will remove deep pore dirt and the salt will exfoliate.