You've heard it time and time again: it's important to exfoliate your skin regularly! Whether it's to prevent ingrown hairs, prolong your tan or improve the effectiveness of products applied afterwards, exfoliating your body should be a part of your beauty routine. But how much do you really know about exfoliation? We tell you how and why you should exfoliate your body, for softer-feeling, beautiful-looking skin!
WHAT IS AN EXFOLIATOR?
Exfoliating consists of removing dead cells that have built up on the epidermis – the surface of your skin.
If you don't remove these dead cells and they end up forming a thick layer, this can have several consequences:
Skin becomes duller and lacks radiance
Skin is less oxygenated and feels devitalized
Skin feels rougher
Skin is drier
Ingrown hairs form, as the pilosebaceous glands at the root of hairs become blocked more easily
Clogged pores and spots appear, because the skin can't breathe!
Most of the time, nature gets things right. And most of the time, your body looks radiant. However, there are times when your body needs a little extra help, with some deep-cleansing, detoxifying, nourishing care!
A SCRUB OR A PEEL?
There are two types of exfoliation:
- Mechanical exfoliation (using an exfoliator, scrub, etc.)
Exfoliators and scrubs contain abrasive granules, which can be gentle or rough on the skin, depending on their size and shape. The finer the granules, the more gentle and effective they will be. When you massage a scrub over the skin, the granules it contains will slough away dead cells and impurities.
- Chemical exfoliation (using a peel)
Typically made with fruit acids, chemical peels loosen the bonds between dead cells, which then peel off naturally, without needing to massage the skin. You simply apply the peel and leave on for the recommended time. This action also stimulates skin cell renewal.
It's worth noting that some acids are stronger than others, and can be highly irritating if they're used in excessive concentrations. They should therefore be used with great care, especially if you have sensitive skin. We call these acids AHA and BHA, and they come mainly from fruits or the willow tree (for salicylic acid), but they can also be synthesized.
Whether you opt for mechanical or chemical exfoliation, the results will be the same: afterwards, skin feels purer and softer, and looks more radiant
THE BENEFITS OF A BODY SCRUB
When you exfoliate your body regularly, you encourage natural cell renewal by removing a part of the stratum corneum, which is made up of dead cells.
Your skin is better oxygenated, and renews itself better and faster, which makes it more radiant and luminous.
There's another benefit too... Because exfoliation refines the stratum corneum, this protective layer becomes more permeable. And this means that products can penetrate better and deeper.
A body scrub also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and leaves skin feeling velvety soft.
WHAT NATURAL INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED FOR THE PERFECT BODY SCRUB?
The perfect body scrub contains different active ingredients, which we talk about below. Always opt for natural and organic ingredients when you can, so you know that the product will not only be effective; it will also be safe for your health and the environment.
Fine exfoliating powders
As we've already mentioned, a scrub contains granules to mechanically exfoliate the skin and rid it of dead cells.
The ideal body scrub should contain the finest granules possible, for several reasons:
- Because they're less abrasive, they exfoliate the skin more gently.
- Because they're finer, they exfoliate more evenly and precisely, making them more effective.
- They're more gentle and pleasant to use, as they slough away dead cells without damaging the skin.
Natural micro-granules are the perfect choice!
Aloe Vera is a star natural beauty ingredient. It's one of the most widely used medicinal plants and boasts incredible properties. Interestingly, it's made up of over 99% water – like a cactus. The remaining one percent is a powerful synergy of twelve vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B12, C, E...), and numerous minerals, trace elements and amino acids.
Aloe Vera gel naturally contains a certain amount of Salicylic Acid – the acid usually obtained from willow bark, whose exfoliating and anti-inflammatory action make it a great ingredient for blemish-prone skin.
Emollient botanical oils
Botanical oils are essential in a body scrub, as they help to restructure and nourish the skin immediately after it's been exfoliated. In fact, we recommend that you gently massage your scrub over the body then leave it on for 3 to 4 minutes. In this way, your skin can soak up the nourishing and soothing properties of the botanical oils. This is an excellent way to restore the skin's moisture balance, especially if your skin is very sensitive.
Active ingredients that promote drainage
The perfect body scrub won't just exfoliate your skin; it will care for it too. Look for active ingredients that improve the condition of your skin and help to tone your body. They might boost drainage or circulation, have astringent properties (to tighten pores), antioxidant benefits (to prevent skin aging and protect against daily environmental aggressors), or even have a relaxing effect, to help your muscles unwind.