For a lot of people, the idea of “skincare” stops at the neck. Everything below that point gets cleaned, of course, and moisturized (mostly). But as for any routine beyond those two basic steps, it’s usually nonexistent. But skin is skin, right? And there’s a lot to be said for giving your body the same kind of love you do your face—especially when it comes to exfoliation.
Why should you exfoliate your body?
No matter where it is on the body (or whose body it’s on), all skin has one thing in common (well, more than one. But we’re only going to focus on one here): it’s full of pores. And wherever there are pores, there’s the potential for blocked pores. This blockage could manifest as acne, but on the body, a clogged pore can also be an ingrown hair or keratosis pilaris (KP), to name two conditions. One commonality to acne, ingrown hairs, and KP is that all have some connection to dead skin cells, whether they’re clogging the pore or trapping a hair from breaking through the skin’s surface. By regularly getting rid of dead skin cells on your body, you greatly reduce their chances of fueling any unwanted developments on your body (like a pimple).
How to exfoliate your body
While it’s true that the skin on the body is generally not as delicate as the skin on the face, that doesn’t mean you should treat it with anything less than kid gloves. Going to town on your body with stiff scrub brushes and harsh products is just going to make it angry. Also, hardcore exfoliation doesn’t work—at least not when it comes to solving problems like KP. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, scrubbing irritates skin, which actually makes KP worse, not better.
So instead of manually exfoliating your body, opt for a chemical exfoliant. Hydroxy acids, such as glycolic, lactic, and salicylic, gently loosen dead cells from the skin’s surface, so that they don’t make their way deep down into a pore and cause trouble. Not only will this help clear up existing blemishes, ingrown, and KP bumps, it will also help prevent them from developing in the future. Good stuff!
For effective, full-body exfoliation, we’re obviously partial to Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment, but for excellent reasons! Each generously sized wipe is saturated with a potent mix of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, like glycolic, lactic, and salicylic. That helps take care of the pesky dead cells stuck to your skin. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment is also formulated with bakuchiol, the retinol-adjacent, plant-based ingredient beloved for its ability to stimulate collagen production, resulting in smoother, firmer skin over time. Two to three times a week, after washing your body, follow with Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment and finish with moisturizer.
Who should avoid body exfoliation
If you have any open areas of skin, body exfoliation is not for you. Ditto if your skin is already irritated from a previous treatment. (For example, freshly waxed skin plus hydroxy acids are a recipe for additional pain and redness. Give your skin a few days to calm down before you resume your exfoliation regimen.)
Body exfoliation for sensitive skin
If you suffer from sensitivity or rosacea on areas of your body (like your chest and back), you should proceed with caution when it comes to exfoliation. Patch test a small section first to gauge your skin’s reaction. If it seems able to tolerate the treatment, then you can proceed by doing a larger area, but be sure to take it slow and give your skin time to adjust.
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