Why You Exfoliate Your Skin
Everyone knows the purpose and functions of the major organs in the human body, but many overlook one of the most important organs we have: our skin. The human body’s skin is actually the largest organ of the body. The total surface area on average for adults is about 22 square feet, and can weigh up to 8 pounds. Now that is a whole lot of skin to love.
Our body’s skin is constructed of several layers of ectodermic tissue. This tissue’s main purpose is to protect the muscles, organs, ligaments, and bones underneath it. Skin, however also has a purpose to protect the body on the outside too. Most notably our skin allows for our sense of touch. Thousands of nerve endings in each square inch of our skin allow for the gentlest of caresses to be felt. Our skin also works as an impenetrable defensive wall protecting our bodies from harmful pathogens and pollution from the outside world. It has the capability to control our body’s temperature both preserving heat to increase body temperature as well as radiating heat to cool down the body. Our skin is even water resistant preventing any precious nutrients from being washed down the drain.
One of the greatest aspects of our skin is that it is forever changing. Typically speaking for adults our skin completely replaces itself in a cycle running approximately every 30 days or so. In fact, every single day that you are alive, your skin is shedding off dead skin cells, which then allows for new skin cells to take their place. What this means for your appearance is more youthful and smoother looking skin if you know what to do. If not handled correctly, you are looking at skin that is dull, uneven, blemished, and prone to wrinkles.
But, what do you do? This is where exfoliation comes into play. Exfoliation is the process of shedding off the outmost layer of dead skin cells from your body. This is done so that the new skin cells can replace the dead ones. After exfoliation, it is also prime time to treat your skin with moisturizers or toners. Hello younger looking skin!
How Do You Exfoliate?
Exfoliation can be done in two different ways, the physical (or mechanical)- removing the dead skin by friction, and chemical- removing the dead skin by dissolving it. For this blog post, we will be focusing on physical exfoliates. The most notable of this form is scrubs. The exfoliating aspect in homemade scrubs is usually in sugar, salt, cornmeal, oatmeal, or other herbal form. These substances when used in a skin treatment are safe and effective ways to remove dead skin cells, to make way for the new.
Usually, unless advised differently, exfoliants can be used once to twice a week during your normal washing routine if you have dry or sensitive skin, and for those that have oily skin, two to four times a week. Regardless of your skin type, immediately stop exfoliating if your skin becomes irritated or a rash develops.
What Items that Make Great Exfoliants?
Ground up Oatmeal (rich in vitamins B and E)- Oatmeal is a scrub leader because it titters the line of abrasion (because it removes dead skin cells by friction) but also is gentle enough for sensitive skin types. Since oatmeal is soft, it does not have the rough jagged edges of an exfoliant like fruit pits or seeds so it will not irritate, making it use full body from head to toe.
Dead Sea Salt- High Mineral Content– Dead sea salt contains essential minerals that are beneficial to the skin. The addition of dead sea salt in your products will help draw out impurities in your skin, as well as provide gentle exfoliation to your skin.
Poppy Seed– Poppy Seed can be used in soap, scrubs, and facial masks to add natural exfoliation.
Yogurt- yogurt contains lactic acid. Lactic acid has alpha hydroxyl acid in it. This acid is the same acid that is used as a chemical exfoliates. When combined with other ingredients, yogurt in skin treatments allows for skin smoothening. When used on a regular basis, yogurt rids your body of dry, rough patches.
Calendula Powder– Calendula is used to help soften skin, and reduce inflammation.
Rosehip Powder– Rosehips are the fruit of wild roses. They contain high levels of vitamin C, in addition to vitamins E, A, and D. Rosehips are used in skincare for its high level of antioxidants and anti-aging properties.
Cosmetic Clays– These clays provide for gentle cleansing and gentle exfoliation.
Oat straw Green Powder– Oat straw has long been used in skin, hair, and nail care recipes for its rejuvenating and softening qualities.
Orange Peel Powder– Orange peel is loaded with nutrients for your skin: Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Vitamin B1, beta-carotene, and numerous other vitamins and minerals. Due to its high flavonoid content, orange peel acts as an anti-microbial and anti-bacterial agent in skincare products.
Adding any one of these natural exfoliants to your bath and body lines will provide not only the removal of the dead skin cells, but also give your skin the healthy benefits of the herbs in use.
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