Many people don’t think of exfoliating as an essential part of their skin care routine, but it’s actually just as important as cleansing and moisturizing. When you exfoliate the skin, you remove dry skin cells and reveal smoother, glowing skin. Getting rid of all that dry, dead skin will also make your makeup look better and allow your other skin care products to absorb better. Exfoliating is also essential for acne-prone skin because it helps to unclog the pores, preventing future breakouts. In fact, those with eczema and psoriasis can use exfoliation to get rid of the dry, flaky patches that are left behind after a flare-up.
What is fascia and how does it relate to healthy skin?
Fascia is the tissue that wraps around your organs, encapsulates your muscles, and connect your skin to your bones. It’s kind of like the glue that holds everything together inside your body. Up until recently, no one paid much attention to it, but science is slowly starting to recognize how important it is. Fascia is predominantly made up of collagen, just like skin. Manipulating your facia through massage, exfoliating, and dry brushing can make your skin appear smoother and reduce cellulite.
Wet vs. Dry Exfoliation
There are a couple ways to exfoliate your skin, and each one offers its own benefits. While both methods are great for removing dead skin cells, dry brushing also stimulates circulation and promotes lymphatic drainage, which means it may help reduce the appearance of cellulite. On the other hand, wet exfoliation is done using a scrub and a washcloth. Wet exfoliation may be the better choice for sensitive skin because it’s a little bit gentler.
How to Choose a Scrub: Salt vs. Sugar Scrubs
Sugar granules are less abrasive than salt, so they are the best choice for sensitive areas like the face. Since sugar dissolves quickly in water, it’s perfect for anyone who wants a milder scrub. Unrefined sugar contains nutrients, like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, so it feeds your skin as you scrub. And, if you have any broken skin, you definitely want to go with a sugar scrub because salt will sting.
Sea salt is the most common type of salt used for scrubs, and it’s a pretty strong exfoliant. Since it’s so much more abrasive, save it for the dry areas of your body, such as your legs, knuckles, elbows, and feet. Sea salt can also pull toxins out of the body and have anti-inflammatory actions for sore muscles. Salt scrubs should only be used once a week, while sugar scrubs can be used more often.
When it comes to choosing a brush for dry brushing, look for one that has soft bristles that won’t irritate the skin. It should fit in your hand comfortably and be easy to hold. You can also get brushes that have long handles for those hard to reach areas. When dry brushing, start at your ankles and work in long, circular motions moving upward toward your heart, using a light but firm pressure.
Whether you decide to dry brush or use a scrub, exfoliating can provide a multitude of benefits for your skin. Not only does it remove dry, dead skin cells, but it can also improve circulation and reduce cellulite. It’s best to start out with a gentle scrub once a week to see how your skin reacts, especially if you have sensitive skin.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.