Mother Nature knew her stuff when she designed cell replacement. Skin cells created in the dermis layer push up to replace old cells on the skin’s surface, causing the dead cells to flake off or exfoliate. This is nature’s way of replenishing the skin.
The natural exfoliation process generally works well; however, pollution clogs the skin’s surface, preventing dead cells from flaking off. When you are exposed to an unpleasant m?nge of vehicle emissions, body lotions, sunscreens, dust, sweat, and dead skin cells, a dull skin tone will be the result.
Lend a Helping Hand
There are many methods of exfoliation, from a home facial mask to a professional chemical skin peel. Other options include using a dry skin brush, a face/body mitt, a loofah, or exfoliation lotions. The gentler applications give skin a healthy glow, while more aggressive methods such as dermabrasion or microdermabrasion can help treat acne. The severity of the skin condition is an important consideration in choosing the right treatment.
A home facial mask treatment is an excellent option for a dull, end-of-season skin tone. However, before you buy a product, always check the ingredients listed on the back of the package. A honey-oatmeal pack sounds great, but if it also includes a variety of chemicals, you’re better off to place it back on the shelf and go to your nearest health products store or make your own.
Dry skin brushing is a gentle method of exfoliation for the entire body. You will need to purchase a brush designed specifically for dry skin brushing and keep it only for this purpose.
While standing in the tub, without the water running, brush the entire surface of your body. Start at your feet and move up toward your heart in gentle stroking movements. Do not brush broken skin or the genital area. Use very light pressure on your face and neck where the skin is thin. Finish off with a warm shower, and apply a natural body lotion while the skin is still damp.
Wet Treatment Helpers
Use loofahs and body mitts while showering. Loofahs are a natural vegetable fibre. Face and body mitts are available in sisal, terry cloth, ramie, and synthetic blends of nylon and polyester. Use these products with soap or a cleansing lotion formulated for use with water.
Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are processes where tiny crystals create a sandpapering effect on facial skin. They are more aggressive than a face pack and are available as spa treatments and as home packs. The chemicals used in these treatments are much stronger than the ingredients of a face pack, and redness or skin irritation will result from over-treatment.
Skin lotions that accelerate exfoliation contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), natural acid botanicals derived from fruits and dairy products. AHA lotions contain 1 to 10 percent acid. Generally, those with 5 percent are the most effective. Do not choose a product with a pH over 6.5, as the skin’s natural balance is between 4.0 and 6.5.
It’s important not to over-exfoliate–you want to remove dead cells, not take off the top layer of skin. Stay out of the sun for a day after exfoliation. Your clean, fresh skin will reward you with radiance.
Easy homemade facial masks
Before applying a mask, cleanse the skin. Keep several clean face cloths and a hand towel within reach. After rinsing off the mask, apply a light moisturizer or almond oil. Apply a nourishing mask weekly to keep the skin radiant and healthy.
Whip an egg white until foamy. Apply evenly over skin and allow to dry. Rinse off with warm water and apply an astringent–witch hazel is an excellent choice for oily skin.
Stir an egg yolk until it is smooth. Apply to face and neck, and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse off with cool water. Avocado mashed with a few drops of lemon juice makes a rich nourishing alternative.
All Skin Types
Mix 1/4 cup (60 mL) powdered oatmeal (ground in a coffee mill) with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of milk. Use just enough milk to make a smooth paste. Apply thickly and leave on for 10 minutes. As a variation, add some honey or lemon juice.