Skin Care Products Exfoliators

A number of environmental and physiological factors, from harsh sunlight to irritating cleansers to pore-clogging lotions and makeup, can harm our skin and leave it looking less than its best. These skin irritants can leave skin dry, damaged and in desperate need of repair.

One skin care product that can replenish and reinvigorate your skin so that it looks smooth, healthy and youthful again is an exfoliator. Exfoliators work by gently buffing away the dead skin cells on the face, helping even skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Types of Exfoliators

There are two main types of exfoliators on the market, chemical and mechanical exfoliators:

  • Chemical Exfoliators: Chemical exfoliators use mild acids to gently remove dead skin cells from the face. Chemical exfoliators will often contain:
    • alpha-hydroxy acids
    • beta-hydroxy acids
    • salicylic acids.
  • Mechanical Exfoliators: Mechanical exfoliators are generally lotions, scrubs or masks that contain tiny pieces of grit, such as crushed walnut shells or apricot pits. This grit gently scrubs dead skin from the face, leaving it smooth.

The type of exfoliator you choose will depend largely on your skin type. For instance, if you have very sensitive skin, you might need to avoid chemical exfoliators. Likewise, people with red or inflamed skin might need to avoid mechanical exfoliators. If you are unsure of which exfoliator is best for you, talk to your dermatologist or a skin care specialist.

How to Use an Exfoliator

The way you use your exfoliator will depend, in part, on the type of exfoliator you choose. For instance, while many mechanical exfoliators will need to be rinsed from your face, some chemical exfoliators will need to remain on your skin for a specified period of time. Always check your exfoliator’s package to get proper application instructions.

In general, follow these steps on how to exfoliate:

  1. After cleansing your skin, wet the skin you want to exfoliate with warm water.
  2. Place the desired amount of the exfoliator into the palm of one hand and use the pads of the fingers on your other hand to gently apply the exfoliator to the desired areas.
  3. Making circular motions, gently scrub the exfoliator over your skin. Be especially careful to avoid sensitive areas, including the area around your eyes.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the exfoliator from your face with warm water.
  5. Apply a quality moisturizer to your face after exfoliating.

Keep in mind that exfoliating too often could irritate or damage your skin. Aim to exfoliate only once a week. Extremely sensitive skin might best benefit from exfoliating only once a month.

Making Homemade Exfoliators

While you can find many exfoliators on the shelves of your drug store, you can also make your own exfoliator at home. Try these gentle exfoliators to achieve smooth, radiant skin:

  • After wetting your face, gently rub sea salt on your skin to remove dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Mix dry oatmeal with warm water to form a thick paste. Gently rub the mixture on your face, leave on for a few minutes and rinse.
  • Mix sugar into olive oil until a paste is formed. Rub this on your skin and then rinse. This exfoliator is well-suited for people with very dry skin.
  • Use equal parts of baking soda and water to form a paste. Rub the mixture into your skin and then rinse.

You can also make exfoliating facemasks at home. The following masks will help nourish your skin as they remove dead skin:

  • Combine mashed grapes with oatmeal to form a paste. Leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse well.
  • Mash an avocado and apply it to your face. After 20 minutes, rinse well. This mask works well for people with very dry skin.
  • Mash a ripe banana and mix with honey. Apply the mix to your face and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing.
  • Mince a cucumber and combine it with plain yogurt to form a paste. Leave the mask on your face for 20 minutes before rinsing.
  • Mix chopped strawberries with honey and leave on your face for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

By making your own exfoliators and facemasks, you can have great-looking skin for minimal cost!

Resources

MamasHealth.com (2007). Exfolitation 101. Retrieved November 27, 2007, from the MamasHealth.com Web site: http://www.mamashealth.com/skincare/exfoliate.asp.

Skinway.com (2006). Natural Home Made Exfoliators. Retrieved November 27, 2007, from the Skinway.com Web site: http://www.skinway.com/skincare_articles/home-made-exfoliators.htm.