Earlier this month, facialist Marc Edward told us that scrubs actually make your skin worse. Exfoliation, though, is important for keeping your skin clear, your pores small, and your cell turnover high. So what's a woman to do? There are actually tons of different ways to slough skin gently and effectively, and different varieties work for different ages and skin types. To get the lowdown on what different exfoliants do and to find out which one is the best match for your needs, just keep reading.
Though this product didn't really exfoliate a lot (maybe it was too subtle for me), it is one of the best daily body washes I've found. The cleansing is really nice, [and] it leaves my skin soft, clean, and happy. And the fragrance is, for wont of a more suitable word, uplifting. It is very subtle, does not interfere with your fragrance, and does not linger. . . But in one of my most depressing winters when I was not used to the long, dark winters of the north, I would feel much much better after a shower with this.
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I love body polishes that don't require excess force to work, particularly ones that use sugar, which is gentler on the skin. Over the weekend, I tried out St. Ives Moisturizing In-Shower Exfoliating Body Polish, Oatmeal & Shea Butter ($8), which contains natural sugar crystals for exfoliation, oatmeal to soothe, and shea butter for softer skin. While this polish is a little difficult to scoop out of the jar due to its texture (think of a dense Crisco), once it hits the skin and some water, it almost melts, creating a rich, spreadable lather.
The polish has a sweet almond scent and a finer, more dissolvable grit than the famous invigorating St. Ives Apricot Scrub ($4). Before shaving, I spread a little of the polish on my legs for a smooth, non-irritating result.
I like it for a pedicure, too. After scrubbing my feet with the body polish, I used my beauty shortcut to fake a real pedicure. A little goes a long way with this product, making for an affordable — and effective — drugstore find.
Have you ever had little white bumps on your face that look like acne, but upon further inspection, you realize they're not? Those bumps could be milia, which form when skin cells get trapped under the skin's surface.
In short, milia are caused by lack of natural exfoliation, and they often pop up near the eyes. Since it's such a sensitive area of the face, my first bit of advice is to get thee to a dermatologist. But, for tips on preventing milia and treating it safely at home, check out my list below:
- Avoid: Greasy/waxy products which can clog pores; aggressive scrubs, which can irritate the delicate tissue around your peepers, picking at the milia, sun exposure, and too-rough pillowcases.
- Don't avoid: Oil-free makeup removers, washing your face (make sure the skin gets to breathe), and drinking water, which helps to flush out toxins and keep your skin hydrated.
- Have an AHA moment: Look for lighter-textured eye creams with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to help gently exfoliate around the sensitive eye area. Try SkinCeuticals Eye Renewal Gel ($32) or Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream ($11).
- DIY: Help the skin get a kick start on exfoliating by carefully steaming your face over a bowl of very hot water for several minutes. This helps open up the pores, hydrate the face, and feels invigorating.
What are your milia prevention tips?
If you have sensitive skin, exfoliating scrubs can be a nightmare, wreaking havoc on your already easily affected skin. Reader ChampagneKisses says that Boscia Smoothing Facial Polish ($25) makes her sensitive skin glow. Take it away, ChampagneKisses:
"I had actually stopped using all scrubs because they irritated my sensitive, oily skin. Years later I decided to give scrubs another chance, so I went to Sephora and was told that the Boscia line was known for helping those with sensitive skin. I decided to try a sample and could not believe how wonderful this product worked. I had no irritation whatsoever and it left my skin looking polished, bright, and very smooth. I have been using it for a year now and it's really done wonders for my skin. Love it!"
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Brand-new from Philosophy is a range of mattifying skincare products called Never Let Them See You Shine. Each of the three items aim to cut down sebum production and reduce the look of oily skin, while leaving your face feeling refreshed. The light blue formulas have a minty, sea-inspired scent and are best suited for those with oily and acne-prone sensitive skin.
After trying everything out, I really liked the way my face reacted to the scrub the best. It's thick, but it spreads easily and the beads are smooth as opposed to feeling grainy and rough — so they don't irritate your skin. Plus, the menthol is the strongest in the scrub; after you wash it off, your face feels soft, smooth and cool.
For an up-close look at each of the products, read more
Having these grainy and sweet body scrubs in the bath and shower is just asking for trouble. After just one whiff, I'll never want to get out. For those of you who want to take a break from the doldrums of January and indulge in a summertime treat, here are three succulent scrubs that'll do the trick. And hey, if you have any Winter strawberries in your fridge that you can't bear to waste, try making this strawberry scrub at home.
Fresh Sugar Face Polish ($55) is one of those oldies but goodies that you can never say too many great things about. It's made with ground-up wild strawberries and brown sugar, so it's deep cleaning and exfoliating. One of my friends swears by this stuff, and considering the fact that her skin is always soft and clear, it's enough for me.
This Fresh Ripe Wild Strawberry Scrub from Peter Thomas Roth ($35) is more for the body than for the face. It's a sweet-smelling scrub that uses strawberry seeds as exfoliating grains. Not only does it deep clean, it also sloughs away rough, dead skin.
100% Pure Strawberry Butter Body Scrub ($22) is an all-natural, rich, and thick body scrub infused with coconut oil and shea butter to help condition while exfoliating. It also contains antioxidants to help brighten and protect skin. I can't think of a yummier way to scrub-a-dub in the tub.
I'll admit that I'm starting to get a little bit obsessed with exfoliators as of late and I'm especially interested in the really gritty ones. So when I found out about Bobbi Brown's Buffing Grains ($40), I just had to check it out. What makes this product unique is that it's a pure powder exfoliator, meaning it doesn't come mixed with any liquid, so you customize it and make it as smooth or as intense as you wish.
So before you start to think I'm a masochist who derives pleasure from scraping apart my face, let me explain. What I love most about this exfoliator is that no matter how much you apply to your face, the grains soften up and become less coarse in water. This way, you still feel them working but you'll never really scratch up your face unless you're scrubbing away like a madwoman.
The main ingredient is a ground bean called Japanese Adzuki, which helps to remove dead skin and encourage cell turnover. I found the grains to be slightly moisturizing and fragrance free — two especially positive qualities.
All you have to do is mix the buffing grains with water or your favorite cleanser and then gently massage it into your skin two to three times a week to create a soft, smooth, and glowing complexion. Another plus is the pour-top glass bottle that makes for easy and mess-free dispensing.
I got a little sample of this amazing Energizing Skin Scrub ($46) from Elemis about two weeks ago and I've been squeezing the life out of the poor tube trying to get out every last bit. It's not so much the smell of this scrub that's so enticing, it's the results that are so addictive.
The texture is pretty much all grain. It comes out of the tube as a liquid but it feels like wet, slippery, coarse sand. This is actually a product for men, and while I realize that it's not the most gentle face scrub, the resulting smooth skin speaks for itself.
This exfoliator is made with Vitamin E, marine phytoplankton, hops, meadow-sweet, shea butter and beeswax and was created to help prevent ingrown hairs and blemishes. It is recommended for use twice weekly, but I'm willing to bet that once you get your hands on it, you'll want to use just a little bit every day.