The Do's and Don'ts for Exfoliation

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Understand how to exfoliate your skin without causing irritation or damage. You’ll have a flawless glow in no time!

Part of the Video Series: Beauty Lab
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Video Transcript

Exfoliation is a key beauty ritual, but most of us are confused, how, where, when and why to do it. We do the research and give you the results. This is Beauty Lab. Here's your head-to-toe guide to shedding those dead skin cells and getting softer, smoother, silkier skin. This is exfoliation, the dos and don'ts. The face, do cleanse the skin before exfoliating with a gentle cleanser of your liking. I generally recommend exfoliating one to two times a week, depending on your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, you're only going to want to exfoliate one time a week. If your skin is a little more durable, I recommend two to three. So, how does one choose an exfoliator? Exfoliators come in two kinds, a physical exfoliant or a chemical exfoliant. Physical exfoliation, physical means you're manually exfoliating the dead skin cells. It could be with a washcloth, a product with granules or beads, or a scrubby brush. Chemical exfoliation, the chemical sounds scary, but it's not. Usually, it involves a chemical process that gently dissolves the dead skin cells upon contact. Chemical exfoliants include things like enzymes, papaya, pumpkin, pineapple, also alpha and beta hydroxy acids. If you have normal skin, do both. The chemical exfoliant will dissolve the dirt and debris in dead skin cells, and the physical exfoliant will sweep it all away, and if you have acne prone skin, you might want to skip the physical exfoliant and go with a chemical. The chemical will gently dissolve the dead skin cells without irritating or aggravating the breakout. If you do choose a physical exfoliant, make sure to pick something nice and gentle with round or spherical beads. You don't want to choose something with ground up nuts or pits. That can cause tiny lacerations in the skin which can make it vulnerable to bacteria, leaving your skin red and irritated. Do, do always moisturize after exfoliation because exfoliation can remove the protective barrier that locks in moisture. Don't, don't exfoliate the eye area, duh and be very careful around other sensitive areas like the chest. I recommend using a facial exfoliator for the neck and chest. Make your own exfoliator. Powdered milk is a great exfoliator. Just pour about half a teaspoon in your hand while you're in the shower. Massage on, and it will help to naturally dissolve the dead skin cells and lift away the rest. Dry brush daily. Dry brushing increases circulation, oxygenates your skin cells and stimulates your lymph glands to detoxify. It's even believed to reduce cellulite. Don't forget to shave. Shaving is an easy, breezy every day way to exfoliate, and don't just think about your legs and your pits, you can shave everywhere you need to exfoliate, your arms, your back. Take a milk bath, pour three to four cups of milk into a nice, warm bath. The naturally occurring lactose and enzyme will help dissolve the dead skin cells, and the nourishing proteins in your skin will condition. The feet, for the feet, three steps, step number one, soak your feet in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and Epsom salts. The Epsom salts will help to soften the skin. Step number two, allow your feet to dry, and then use an Emery board or a pumice stone to scrub away the dead skin. Step number three, moisturize, it's that easy. Follow this advice, and you'll be a whole new person, literally. For the Beauty Lab, I'm Tracy O'Connor, so soft.

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