Shed your winter skin
Shed your winter skin
OUT OF HIBERNATION
If winter calls for hibernation and heavy, chunky clothes, spring calls for stripping back the layers to reveal bare skin. With months of cold weather, low humidity and indoor heating, your skin is under serious assault and can end up looking dry, cracked and flaky.
While we generate, on average, a new layer of skin every two to four weeks, it is important to speed up this natural shedding process by exfoliating. Exfoliation effectively sloughs off the upper layers of dead skin cells to reveal the newer, smoother tissue underneath.
Choose a body scrub with a grainy texture so that when you rub it onto your body, dead skin cells are removed. Look for scrubs that contain “polishing” ingredients, such as oatmeal, ground almonds, sugar and sea salt.
Chemical exfoliation products are another good option: rather than containing granules, these products may use mild acids, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), including salicylic acid. These acids continue the exfoliation process by further abrading and removing the top layer of dead skin cells.
DRY BODY BRUSHING
Use a loofah or an exfoliating brush or gloves to treat your skin to dry body brushing before having a shower. Start from the soles of your feet and work your way up to your chest using long, upward strokes. Dry body brushing is particularly beneficial for activating the lymphatic system, which improves circulation and reduces fluid retention.
In the shower, apply an exfoliating scrub to your loofah or exfoliating brush or gloves and, in gentle, circular movements, scrub your entire body. Pay attention to rough spots, such as heels and elbows.
Exfoliating regularly can be extremely drying and can do more harm than good unless your skin is re-hydrated with moisturisers, oils or lotions. Fortunately, exfoliating also allows hydrating products to work more effectively, removing the surface layer of dead skin cells that can limit how much of the product gets through.
TIME TO SCRUB
The frequency of your scrub-down largely depends on your age and skin type. As you get older, skin cells renew themselves more slowly and your skin can become dull and ashen.
So, it pays to exfoliate more often – at least three times a week, if not daily. If you have oily skin, you should exfoliate more often, as dead skin cells accumulate faster and are not shed as easily as with dry skin. If your skin is very dry, however, it may be too delicate to handle harsh scrubbing more than once or twice a week.