Learning how to properly exfoliate your body at home is important if you want to have soft and healthy skin. Removing the dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin improves the skin’s overall appearance. However, it is important to do it properly, otherwise, exfoliation can do more harm than good. Exfoliating too much or with the wrong products can lead to redness or even acne breakouts.
How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Body
Depending on your skin type, dermatologists and aestheticians recommend exfoliating one to three times per week. To create the proper body exfoliation routine, you must start by identifying your skin type.
Normal skin is usually clear and not sensitive.
If you have normal skin, you can exfoliate two or three times per week. Start with two sessions weekly and see if your skin can tolerate more. You can try mechanical and chemical exfoliators and see which technique works better. Or alternate between the two for best results. Apply a moisturizer or body oil after exfoliation.
Dry skin is usually itchy and flaky. Sometimes people with dry skin have rough spots and they can benefit from exfoliating three times per week. However, it is important to use a moisturizer after every exfoliation session and to alternate the exfoliating techniques since mechanical exfoliation can be too abrasive to do more than once per week. That’s because stripping the skin of its protective layer can cause breakouts, especially when the skin is not moisturized properly after exfoliation.
People with sensitive skin usually experience itching, burning, or a stinging sensation, typically when using beauty products. However, skin irritation can occur due to other factors such as cold weather, sun exposure, and other external factors.
People with sensitive skin shouldn’t exfoliate more than once per week. If you have very sensitive skin, you can exfoliate every other week to not irritate the protective layer of your skin.
Use a gentle body moisturizer after exfoliation, preferably one without fragrance or other skin irritants.
Oily skin is usually greasy and shiny. People with oily skin can oftentimes experience breakouts. If you have oily skin, you can exfoliate three times per week or even daily if your skin allows it. Note that moisturizing is important so don’t skip this step even if you feel your skin can handle it. Find a moisturizer that is not greasy for best results.
Combination skin means that your skin is dry in some areas and oily in others. Commit to two or three exfoliation sessions per week for your entire body and try to exfoliate daily on the rougher areas if your skin allows it.
How To Exfoliate Your Body At Home
After you identified your skin type, it is time to decide on an exfoliation method. You can choose between mechanical and chemical exfoliation. As mentioned previously, you can alternate methods to get the best results if your skin allows it. If not, see what method works best for you.
Generally speaking, mechanical exfoliation can be a bit too rough on the skin and it can cause problems if you do it too often, especially if you use a scrub. With mechanical exfoliation, you are scrubbing the dead skin and then wash it away.
Chemical exfoliation can be better if your skin doesn’t react badly to the chemicals. This type of exfoliation dissolves the dead skin rather than scrubbing it off. The chemical exfoliants usually contain alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids.
For mechanical exfoliation you will need a tool – it can be a sponge, a brush, or a scrub.
Exfoliating With A Scrub
There are many scrubs on the market. You can even make your own by mixing freshly ground coffee with brown sugar. You can also use the leftover ground coffee from your coffee filter or espresso machine instead of throwing it away after making coffee.
To exfoliate with a scrub:
- Start by taking a shower or a bath since immersing your body in warm water opens your pores and makes your skin susceptible to cleaning. You can use your regular shower gel or body wash.
- Apply the scrub by rubbing it gently on your skin. Don’t be too rough since you can irritate your skin.
- Use your hands to wash away the body scrub once you are done.
- Dry yourself with a towel then apply a moisturizer that works for your skin type or apply the moisturizer while your skin is still wet if possible.
Exfoliating With A Sponge Or A Brush
A textured sponge or an exfoliating brush can do a great job of getting rid of dead skin cells. The brush or sponge should feel a bit rough on the skin but not to the point of pain. If you have sensitive skin, opt for an exfoliating washcloth instead. You can also buy or DIY a loofah.
To exfoliate with a sponge or brush:
- While in the shower, apply your favorite body wash or shower gel and scrub gently, in a circular motion, with the brush, sponge, or loofah.
- Apply more pressure on the rough areas of the body like your knees, heels, and elbows.
- Rinse with water and apply a body moisturizer. This will help your skin to retain moisture.
Most people are scared of trying chemical exfoliators because they do not seem healthy for the skin. However, most chemical exfoliators are usually made with natural ingredients such as fruits or sugars and they are safe to use as long as you are not allergic to one of the components. Fruits and sugars are known for containing acids that can exfoliate and improve the appearance of the skin.
To exfoliate with a chemical exfoliator:
- Start with a bath or shower to open your pores.
- Follow the instructions on your exfoliator – some chemical exfoliators are shower gels or body washes and you can use them as you would use a regular body wash. Others have to be applied after showering on dry or wet skin. Don’t rub the exfoliator with a brush or a sponge onto the skin since it can be too rough. Use your hands to rub the exfoliator.
- Apply a moisturizer to avoid dryness and skin irritation.