Your skin has a natural process of renewal – old skin cells are shed away to be replaced with new cells on an average monthly cycle. This process helps to brighten your complexion and prevent it from looking dull. However, as you age this process of renewal slows down and your skin may lose that youthful glow. You can assist your skin to renew itself by exfoliating once or twice a week with a facial scrub or exfoliant.
There are two different types of exfoliants: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliants have tiny particles that manually scrub, lift up and remove dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants sit on the skin’s surface and dissolve dead skin cells. Both these types of exfoliants are available to buy commercially or to book at your local beauty salon. Professional exfoliant treatments penetrate deeper levels of the skin and should only be carried out under supervision of a qualified beautician. Deep exfoliation makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage and you should always wear sunblock following treatment.
It’s simple to make your own facial scrubs, and even chemical exfoliants, using ingredients you can find in your kitchen. These basic ingredients can then be enhanced by essential oils and tailored to suit your skin’s needs.
Your Basic Ingredients for Facial Scrubs
The following items can be used to exfoliate your skin gently and naturally:
- ground oats
- finely ground almonds
- soft brown sugar
Use these items on their own or combine them with carrier oils (eg extra virgin olive oil) and essential oils for your skin type. The recipes below take minutes to make and will leave your skin feeling as soft and smooth as a baby’s.
Oats and Honey Facial Scrub: mix one desert spoon of finely ground oatmeal with two desert spoons of runny honey and mix well. Add two to three drops of essential oils suitable for your skin type and blend in well. Lavender oil would be a good choice for most skin types. Pat the scrub on your face and massage gently around for about three to four minutes, then remove with a warm damp cloth.
This scrub is particularly suitable for sensitive, dry, dehydrated and mature skin types. Use twice a week. (For a slightly deeper exfoliation replace the oats with finely ground almonds, unless you have very sensitive skin.)
Brown Sugar Dermabrasion: mix one teaspoon of soft brown sugar with two teaspoons of olive oil, and a drop of lemon juice. Blend in one extra drop of essential oil suitable for your skin type. Myrtle oil works particularly well with this recipe and is excellent for oily or problem skins. Carefully massage the mixture on your face for a few minutes using small circular movements, then remove with a hot damp cloth.
This scrub is effective for skin that is dull and helps to brighten it instantly; mature skins will benefit. It is also helpful for oily and problem skins as it removes dead skin cells clogging pores. Use once a week.
Strawberry and Yoghurt Mash: this natural chemical exfoliant will eat away dead skin cells and leave dull skin looking bright. It works through the enzymes in the natural yoghurt and the fruit acids in the strawberries. Mash four strawberries and mix with a desert spoon of natural yoghurt. Pat on your skin and leave for five minutes, then remove with a warm damp cloth. Adding one drop of grapefruit essential oil will benefit most skin types, as this oil is excellent for clarifying pores.
This remedy works well for oily and problem skins; natural yoghurt is commonly recommended as helpful for fighting acne and spots. Use one every two weeks.
Papaya Peel: this recipe requires only one ingredient – the peel of papaya. Halve a papaya and remove the flesh (to eat later). Rub the inside of the papaya peel all over your face and leave for about five minutes. The enzymes in the peel will dissolve the dead skin on the superficial layers of its surface. Wash off with a warm damp cloth.
This remedy works well for all skin types except sensitive. Use once a month.
Don’t Overdo It!
It’s important not to over-exfoliate your skin. This can lead to your skin’s sebaceous gland producing more oil to compensate and lead to further skin problems. If you have sensitive, dry or mature skin, use your skin scrubs gently rather than harshly rubbing your skin, which could cause damage such as broken capillaries. Once or twice a week is sufficient for most skin types, you’ll need to judge what best suits your skin and how it reacts to exfoliation.
The Benefits of Exfoliation
However, if exfoliation is carried out with care then your skin will reap the benefits. Good exfoliation not only removes dull, dead skin but also boosts the circulation of your skin, helping it to regain that youthful glow.