Why You Should Be Exfoliating These Other Areas Of Your Body
Many skincare junkies are devout when it comes to their facial exfoliation game, whether it’s a chemical AHA/BHA serum, a jar of retinol, or a silky, luxurious scrub.
The thing is, we’re paying so much attention to keeping up our faces that we tend to neglect the rest of our body. Our body’s largest organ literally stretches from scalp to pinky toe, and there are all sorts of spots that can really benefit from an exfoliating scrub down. Below we’ve highlighted some key areas you might be missing along with some bomb products that will make the process fun and effective!
A naturally healthy scalp undergoes its own process of exfoliation. However, if you’ve been battling dandruff, are dealing with excess oil or product residue, or even hair that struggles to grow, a scalp scrub can help.
“Exfoliating your scalp is essential to a healthy scalp because it removes any buildup, encourages hair growth, prevents dandruff and a dry scalp, and promotes shiny, healthy hair,” says Dr. Zain Husain, a board-certified dermatologist based in New Jersey. “In order to exfoliate, you have to rub the product in circular motions using your fingertips to gently lift the dead skin cells off your scalp.”
Either physical or chemical scrubs can work. For ingredients, look for salicylic acid, tea tree oil, charcoal, or salt. Dr. Husain recommends Neutrogena T/Sal shampoo Build-Up Control Therapeutic Shampoo, $6. Playa’s California Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo, $38, is a luxe option, and we also like Not Your Mother’s Activated Bamboo Charcoal & Purple Moonstone Restore & Reclaim Scalp Scrub, $9. Really massage it in with Briogeo Scalp Revival Stimulating Therapy Massager, $16.
There’s a reason your knees and elbows can look dry and cracked. These jointed areas bend back and forth all day long, and they also have fewer oil glands to keep them moisturized. You might have even noticed that they’re more deeply pigmented than other areas of your body.
“In certain skin types, a build-up of skin on the elbows and knees can lead to hyperpigmentation,” explains Dr. Mamina Turegano, a board-certified dermatologist with Dermatica. “To properly exfoliate, I recommend looking for products with lactic acid, urea, glycolic acid, and/or salicylic acid. Retinoids can also help regulate epidermal skin cell turnover, which can help prevent the build-up of unnecessary skin cells.”
She says that all the above ingredients can help dissolve keratin – the top thickened layer of dead skin cells – so that your elbows and knees look smoother and more even-toned. Dr. Husain’s go-to is Eucerin Roughness Relief, $10, which is formulated with urea and moisturizing ingredients. Mario Badescu Elbow & Heel Smoothing Cream, $7, is another goodie. For a body-approved retinol, try Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment, $29.
Arms & Legs
Some people are susceptible to tiny red bumps that can show up on both arms and legs. While often confused with acne or a rash, it’s actually a skin condition called keratosis pilaris. Dr. Husain says, “These rough bumps can form on the upper arms, thighs, and lower legs among other places, so it can be helpful to use exfoliative products.”
Both Dr. Husain and Dr. Turegano recommend finding an exfoliating moisturizer, specifically, for best results. Look for urea, salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, and retinoids. For example, First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA, $28, contains a mix of glycolic acid, lactic acid, physical exfoliants, and soothing bisabolol. If you prefer salicylic acid, try Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA, $28.
Our poor feet really get the worst end of the deal when it comes to skincare. They’re used constantly, exposed to the floor, and seldom gifted a moment of TLC. This results in a buildup of excess dead skin cells and uncomfortable/ unsightly cracking.
“When skin cells are not properly shed on the feet, they can continue to accumulate and thicken on the skin,” says Dr. Turegano. “While it’s important to have some level of thickened skin on the feet as protection when it comes to walking, having excess thickened skin can sometimes be painful or lead to fissures.”
To solve the issue, she says to seek out higher concentrations of ingredients like urea, lactic acid, and salicylic acid. Dr. Husain recommends Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel, $25. If you haven’t heard of it, prepare yourself. You soak your feet in pre-doused, sock-shaped pockets and then rinse your feet. Over the next week, built-up dead skin will literally fall off. It’s gross, amazing, and it doesn’t hurt. You can also try Soap & Glory Heel Genius, $10, and Glossier Body Hero Exfoliating Bar, $14.
Have you dealt with any of the above skin issues? Let’s chat it out.
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