I have given hundreds of facials to women over the years, and the one thing that stands out in their home skin care regime is that most people do not exfoliate enough. I can tell because as soon as I exfoliate their skin with a gentle scrub, it is smooth and glowing. It often is the most important step of the facial. I've often said that if I stopped at this point most women would still think I had done wonders for their skin. Exfoliation is that important.
Exfoliation is important because layers of dead cells dull the surface of your skin. That luminescence we all want for our skin is impossible without exfoliation. It is through the exfoliation process where dead cells are sloughed off, the basal cells get the information they need to start producing new cells to replace them. Cellular turnover is dramatically improved with a routine of exfoliation.
The problem is, there are very few good exfoliants on the market for home use. They are either too coarse (such as the St. Ives Apricot Scrub) or not coarse enough (such as Olay Exfoliating Wash). I use and sell a wonderful exfoliant in the salon, but it is about $25 and for some people that is too much. So what are we supposed to do?
The answer is sugar. Yes, plain old granulated table sugar. It can be added to any cleanser and is a wonderful exfoliant. The reason why I prefer sugar over the more traditional salt for a scrub is that it contains natural fruit acids (sugar comes from a plant, after all!) that help break down the protein bonds that glue cells onto the surface of your skin. That little extra boost of fruit acids really makes a difference in getting a clean surface.
Sugar's small, granular shape makes it ideal for "sanding" the surface of your skin, and since it dissolves fairly quickly in water it does not over-scrub and leaves no residue.
The easiest way to bring sugar into your home care routine is to get a cute salt or pepper shaker and fill it with sugar. I use the organic raw sugar from Trader Joe's. Put the container of sugar on your bathroom counter or in your shower, wherever you normally wash your face, and simply sprinkle some into the palm of your hand along with whatever you wash your face with.
Keep in mind that while exfoliation is important, you do not need to exfoliate every day. After all, the purpose is to slough off dead skin cells and if you have already scrubbed them off there is no point in scrubbing further. Too much exfoliation will obviously damage the healthy cells, so keep it to a routine of about once a week.
If it has been a long time since you exfoliated you can start by exfoliating every day for a week and this will really create a fine surface. After that you can reduce to once a week.
Judy has been studying natural skin care for over 15 years. She offers natural, plant-based facials as part of her services at 50th Avenue Salon in Portland, Oregon. When you are ready to relax and have your skin treated to a feast, book one of her facials.
You can call Judy at the salon at 503-235-6484 or on her cell phone at 541-420-0615.
50th Avenue Salon ~ 2605 SE 50th Avenue ~ Portland, OR 97206 ~ ph: 503-235-6484
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 10:00 to 6:00, other hours by appointment
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