Exfoliating is a VERY important part of a solid skin care routine, especially for those suffering from clogged pores and hyperpigmentation. But with so many different skin care terms, methods, and steps, its easy to get confused as to what means what, and why its necessary in the first place.
What does "exfoliate" mean?
Exfoliating can be defined as "to remove the surface of in scales" or "to peel off in thin fragments". Essentially, to exfoliate means to remove the surface layer of something in very small pieces. Keeping this in mind, let's translate this to skin care terms.
What does exfoliating do?
You can look at it like this; exfoliating the skin is like "shaving" off your outermost layer of skin cells. It frees up the pores from oils, dirt, trapped hairs, and/or dead skin while also removing damaged or scarred skin cells from the surface (which are what you perceive as "dark spots"). So why would you want to do this?
Benefits of Exfoliating
1. Exfoliating increases cell turnover rate, which is the rate at which the process of shedding dead skin cells to allow new ones to form occurs. By ridding this outermost layer of skin, you provide more room for the production of new skin cells, which always translates to a healthy glow.
2. Exfoliating can also help clear gunk from the skin. Without weeks worth of oil, sweat, or makeup chilling in your pores, your skin care products will be able to better penetrate and thus work more effectively. This helps treat acne that forms as a result of trapped dirt and oils.
3. It helps treat ingrown hairs! Ingrown hairs occur in areas where bodily hairs are frequently removed. The hair follicle gets trapped underneath the outermost layer of skin during the regrowth process, forming an irritated and often painful bump. Exfoliating regularly helps free up the space for the hair follicles to fully grow out of the skin in the proper direction. So if you suffer from ingrowns on your bikini line following waxes, underneath your beard when you shave, under your eyebrows after threading, or anywhere else you often remove hairs, you'll want to grab an exfoliating scrub ASAP!
Speaking of exfoliating scrubs...there's a few do's and don'ts to ensure that you don't damage your skin.
How to Use Sugar Scrubs
Rule #1: NEVER EXFOLIATE ON DRY SKIN!!! You will damage your skin greatly! Always apply exfoliating scrubs when your skin is damp or wet. The best time to exfoliate is in your shower or bath.
Exfoliating scrubs should be applied very gently. You should NEVER EVER harshly rub an exfoliating scrub of any kind on your skin, especially on your face!!! Exfoliating scrubs should always be applied gently with little to no force behind your hand motions. Scrubbing too hard can create microtears in your skin which can allow more bacteria to enter. If you're exfoliating specifically to help clear your acne, this is counterproductive. The sugar (or salt) granules do all the work for you, you just need to put them in motion.
Sugar scrubs are much less abrasive than salt scrubs, making them ideal for more sensitive areas like the face and genital regions. Opt for salt scrubs on tougher skin like crusty feet or hands, and save the sweet sugars for the rest. Exfoliating scrubs made with shea or mango butter offer a more softening and conditioning effect in comparison to those without butter, and leave your skin super soft following a shower or bath.
Gently rub a small portion of the scrub on to DAMP skin in circular motions until the dead skin has been removed. Rinse/wash off the scrub and follow up with your moisturizer of choice. Exfoliate 2-3 times per week. Not every day.
You can get your hand-made sugar scrubs right here from Bene Beauty by Bri! All of our scrubs are sugar based, meaning they're sweet for your sensitive areas. Our Honey Brown Sugar Scrub is formulated specifically to help lighten dark spots and discoloration, whether it be a result of smoker's lips or scarring from acne/razor bumps. Our Vanilla Coconut Scrub is a deeply moisturizing scrub, formulated to nourish and smooth the skin with a focus on combatting skin aging and softening it in the process. Our Vanilla Coconut Scrub is my go to for full body exfoliations. I recommend trying this one until we release our butter-based scrubs in a few months ;)
Still confused about how to use sugar scrubs? Check out this video.