Exfoliation in general (and feet, in particular)

Exfoliation is a key (and some would say, necessary) part of a beauty regimen. This involves removing dead skin cells on the top layer of your skin to reveal the new skin below. Your skin will be brighter, smoother, and softer as a result. This article discusses exfoliation in general and mentions how to exfoliate your feet to keep them soft supple and feeling fabulous. For specific advice on exfoliating yur feet, go here.

Exfoliating is especially important before using self tanning sprays or lotions, as the self tanner will apply more evenly and last longer on smooth skin.

Home exfoliation devices are the easiest and least inexpensive way to get smooth skin. There are a myriad of sponges, loofahs, and cloths on the market to help you achieve this. The skin on your legs tend to be drier than the rest of your body. To exfoliate legs, the key is to first soften your skin. Dampen your skin in a shower or bath, and smooth on a moisturizing cream or shower gel. Let your skin absorb the moisture for a few minutes. Use a sponge, loofah, or cloth and gently scrub your skin in a circular motion. Rinse, pat dry, and immediately smooth on a moisturizing lotion or cream (or the self-tanning spray or lotion) while your skin is still damp. Exfoliate legs at least 2-3 times per week to maintain your smooth skin.

If you don’t have a decent scrub device on hand but you are desperate to scrub your skin, look in your kitchen. An effective homemade remedy is to mix a handful of salt with a good drizzle of olive oil and honey. The olive oil and honey moisturizes your skin while the salt scrubs your skin soft. Exfoliate with this method 2-3 times per week.

Shaving your legs is also effective at exfoliating, since the razor removes hair and dead skin cells at the same time.

The skin on your feet is probably the driest part of your body, especially if you routinely wear sandals or flip flops that expose your feet to air and dust, which dry your feet even more. The balls of your feet and your heels are especially prone to calluses and cracking. To exfoliate feet, you will need products with a more abrasive surface, like pumice stones or foot files. Foot files come in various levels of abrasion, from fine to rough. Metal foot files are especially useful to remove tough calluses. However, the use of these require care to avoid injuring your skin. To exfoliate feet, soak them for 5-10 minutes in warm water to soften the skin. Apply a moisturizing cream and allow your skin to absorb it for a few minutes. Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently scrub the balls of your feet, your heels, and around the toes. Rinse, pat dry, and apply moisturizer. Exfoliate your feet at least 2-3 times per week to prevent the reformation of calluses and dry skin.

If you feel you need stronger methods, look into lotions with acid, such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, alpha or beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). These are effective in removing dead surface skin cells without having to use elbow grease in scrubbing your skin. (Incidentally, these products can also remove the red bumps on the back of your upper arms, which we all hate!) You can buy these products at your local drugstore or beauty outlets. The cost of these products can be fairly steep, however, especially for name brand products at exclusive beauty outlets.

If your dry skin has gone too far for at-home remedies to be effective, and you may need stronger methods. Ask your dermatologist for a prescription for a chemical exfoliant or microdermabrasion session, or seek the services of a professional pedicurist. A pedicurist will do the hard work for you, and you might get a relaxing foot massage to boot!

The key to effective exfoliation is consistency. Maintain your skin on a regular basis and you will not need to resort to expensive or harsh methods to achieve baby smooth skin.


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