Happy New Year, Sudsers! 2015 has come and gone, we’ve survived the holidays and we are inching closer to long summer days spent basking in the sun (with your sunscreen, of course!). But while we’re dreaming of warm weather, our skin is struggling to get through the cold, dreary winter days. While recommended year round, exfoliation is especially important to overall skin health during the winter months. This series will discuss the various types of exfoliants and their benefits and uses. The first in the series is an overview of exfoliants found in Soap & Clay products and appropriate usage. I will get more in depth with each category and type of exfoliant in later posts. Read on for Part One!
Cell turnover is a key component in achieving healthy, radiant skin. While other factors – such as diet, adequate water intake and sleep – are important in overall skin health, exfoliation is by far the easiest, most cost effective way to keep our skin plump and glowing. As we age, our cells turn over at a slower rate; young skin turns over every 7-14 days but that number increases to 30-40 days when we hit the 30-something mark. By age 50, it can take up to 3 months for our skin to turnover! To speed up this process, developing a regular exfoliation schedule is critical. Regularly getting rid of the dead stuff that hinders our skin’s ability to breathe and results in a mottled, dull complexion is recommended by skincare professionals.
Which Exfoliant is Right for You?
There are a lot of options for skin exfoliation. Peels, masks and microdermabrasions are all designed to remove dead skin and reveal new, bright skin underneath. These procedures can be costly, time consuming, and painful, so do your research before committing. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to get your regular skin buffing is through an exfoliating soap. Artisan soaps with exfoliants have the added benefit of cleansing the skin, providing needed moisture, and normalizing the skin’s pH levels without dryness or irritation that commonly occurs with other delivery systems. From mild clays to hardcore scrubbers such as seeds and ground coffee, there are a plethora of exfoliation additives in the soap world. Not all additives are created equal, however. Some are great for total body care, while others that are great for the particularly rough spots should not be used on sensitive areas such as the face.
The following is a breakdown of tested exfoliants that have made the cut for Soap & Clay products.
Mild Exfoliants: best for face
These exfoliants are gentle enough to be used daily without dryness or irritation. All deliver a gentle exfoliation without harsh abrasion, and some create pastes that can mimic a mini-peel while drawing toxins from the skin. Best for face or sensitive skin.
- Clays (Kaolin, Bentonite)
- Colloidal Oatmeal
- Pumice Powder
Medium Exfoliants: suitable for face and body use
These additives are great for total body exfoliation, including face, for most skin types. These are used when a more scrubby feel is desired. Those with sensitive skin should test these exfoliants for face use before adding them to a skincare routine. Can be used daily on body, every other day on face.
- Ground Pumpkin Seeds
- Ground Walnut Shells
- Jojoba Beads
Strong Exfoliants: best for body use
These large-area exfoliants are extremely effective at sloughing off debris to reveal fresh, glowing skin. If overused, they can lead to irritation. Most skin types can use these exfoliants up to 5x a week on the body. Not recommended for face.
- Coffee Grounds
- Cranberry Seeds
- Poppy Seeds
- Strawberry Seeds
Choosing the appropriate exfoliant is important to overall skin health. Stay tuned for more detailed posts about exfoliation and the benefits of Soap & Clay’s additives in the coming weeks, but in the meantime click through for a list of our exfoliating soaps and scrubs. Happy sudsing!