There are no shortcuts to smoother, radiant, healthy looking skin. Daily effort on maintaining your skill is required. Both dermatologists and skincare experts agree that you should perform these four steps if you want to improve the texture and the color of your skin – clean, tone, moisturize and exfoliate. The latter one is quite frequently overlooked because it doesn’t have to be done on a daily basis and quite a few women tend to pay more attention to cleansing and moisturizing than to exfoliating. Why should you exfoliate and should everybody do it? The answer is because it is essential for removing dead skin cells which cause dull complexion and, yes, everybody should it regardless of the skin type.
The benefits of proper exfoliation are many. It eliminates the appearance of red / dark marks which are a result of breakouts, it unclogs pores, removes blackheads and small whiteheads, it lightens brown spots that come from age, hormonal changes and pregnancy, it eliminates skin dryness especially in winter, it instantly smooths the skin and gives it a nice, healthy glow, and your skin will absorb your moisturizer quicker and more efficiently if you exfoliate. So, how can you tell when you need to exfoliate? Here is a very simple test. Take a strip of clear tape and apply it to the forehead. Press it gently to the skin (in right to left motion) and remove. If there are little pieces of flaky skin on the tape, it’s time to exfoliate. However, do not overdo it! Once or twice a week will suffice. Be gentle to your skin and your skin will thank you.
As far as exfoliators go, there are so many on the market like Glycolic Acid, AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid), BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid salicylic acid), and enzymes such as Pumpkin, Papaya, and Pineapple. But these exfoliation agents are usually used by professionals. We would like to advise you not to try them at home (in their pure form, not as ingredients in skincare products) unless you are trained to do it. In place of those expensive exfoliators, here are five equally efficient ones made from the ingredients that all of you have at home. And we won’t even go into how much money you will save if you go for these homemade facial scrubs.
1 – Baking Soda
Baking soda – this is by far one of the cheapest yet most effective and widely used facial scrubs in home. The versatility of uses of baking soda in face and body care is unmatched. It whitens your teeth, freshens your mouth, deodorizes, treats insect bites and itchy skin, makes a good hand cleanser and bath soak, soothes your feet and is used as a facial and body exfoliator. If you want to use it as a facial scrub, just mix it with a bit of water and add a drop or two of oil (olive, tea tree, jojoba, grape seed, almond or any oil that reacts good with your skin). Wash the face, rub the baking soda on the face and continue gently rubbing in circular motions for about two to three minutes. Make sure you avoid the eye area. Then rinse and moisturize.
2 – Sugar
Sugar – another cheap, yet brilliant facial scrub. We should not forget that sugar is rich in the aforementioned Glycolic Acid which bolsters production of new skin cells. For exfoliation you will need sugar crystals which you mix with a few drops of essential oil to make a paste. Just like with baking soda, rub the paste into your skin for a couple of minutes, rinse and put your favorite moisturizer. And don’t forget that exfoliation is always done on clean skin.
3 – Oatmeal
Oatmeal – Oatmeal is perfect for all skin types, especially sensitive and acne prone skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a highly efficient moisturizer too. You will need finely ground oatmeal which you can mix with raw honey, yogurt or buttermilk for the best effect. We recommend mixing oatmeal with honey because of its many benefits. Honey is a fantastic antiseptic with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It alleviates skin infections and acne and is chock full of antioxidants.Again, mix the ingredients and make a paste with will you will scrub your face for two to three minutes. Don’t rinse off immediately after that but leave the mixture to sit on your face for another twenty minutes or so to let oatmeal do its job as a moisturizer too. Wash as usual and if there is a need for moisturizer, apply it.
4 – Yogurt
Yogurt – Remember us mentioning AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) as one of those exfoliators used by skincare professionals that you can also find in prescription skin care treatments? Well, believe or not, yogurt is a natural source of AHA, but AHA concentration in yogurt is so gentle that it can be used on all skin types. Just like milk, yogurt both hydrates and exfoliates because it contains lactic acid which helps in making your skin tone more even. You don’t need to rub your face with yogurt (if you are planning on using it as an exfoliator) but just apply it to the skin and leave it on for approximately 20 minutes and then rinse. There is another great recipe for skin exfoliation which involves Greek yogurt and pineapple. As we mentioned earlier, yogurt contains lactic acid while pineapple contains ascorbic acid and enzymes which remove the layer of dead skin without drying it. Mix the two ingredients in a blender and apply on clean skin. Leave it no longer than 20 minutes because pineapple is quite acidic and, if left for too long, can cause irritation with certain skin types.
5 – Papaya
Papaya – This heavenly fruit contains the enzyme called Papain which effectively removes dead skin cells. The enzyme also has healing properties and reduces the appearance of fine lines. It also lightens dark spots. Please use green papayas because they have the highest concentration of Papain. Make a smooth paste out of one green papaya and simply apply it to the face. Leave it on for about 15 minutes and rinse with tepid water.