The importance of exfoliation of our skin can never be underestimated or down played.
Traditional scrubs will get your there, but some contain microbeads, which we have discovered have their own health dangers as the tiny plastic particles build up in lakes and endanger wildlife.
We have come up with 9 healthy alternatives to your scrubs.
Read on for what your need to know about them.
Save yourself some time and water and give gloves a try. The woven material works quickly and all on its own, no need for any product. Skip them if you've got dry skin, however; scrubbing at flakes can irritate and make them worse, so you're better off using a body peel.
The fruit enzymes and lactic and glycolic acids found in body peels not only leave skin supple, they also work wonders on breakouts and ingrown hairs by clearing out clogged up pores and hair follicles.
"These are great in the summer if you're prone to body acne or get ingrown hairs on your legs," says dermatologist Mona Gohara.
Exfoliating body lotion
If your skin is too sensitive for heavy-duty peels, or you suffer from keratosis pilaris, which can be irritated by gritty scrubbing, then body lotions containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids do the trick.
"They tend to release the active ingredients a little bit slower than a mask, so it's not a big punch all at one time," explains Gohara. Better still, they're gentle enough to use every day.
Dry brushing is where exfoliation meets alternative medicine, and even a bit of meditation. If you work in light, circular motions, beginning at your feet and moving upward, "the process may stimulate lymphatic drainage," says Gohara.
Draining bloated lymph nodes can help make your skin appear smoother temporarily. Look for a brush with soft, short bristles, so it's not irritating.
"When you get rid of dead skin cells, your other products can get in there and work better," says Gohara. In other words, peels will make your moisturizers and anti-aging treatments more effective. They're also one of Gohara's top picks for patients with acne.
She recommends looking for products containing ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acids. Don't try to use a body peel over your face. Face peels are formulated with different levels of acids for the delicate skin.
Exfoliating face lotions
If exfoliating and moisturizing sounds like a lot of work, these power moisturizers do both at once. Ones with glycolic acid also "safely treat lines and discoloration on all skin types," says Jessica Wu, a dermatologist in Los Angeles.
If you're an I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it kind of person, then these gel exfoliators are meant for you. With a little bit of friction, you can see your dead skin rolling away.
Although this method works for any skin type, Gohara says it's especially good for people with acne scarring or anyone starting to notice deep wrinkles. "By traumatizing the skin, you're actually stimulating it to produce more collagen," she says.
The old school method
"You'd be surprised by the actual benefit of just using a washcloth and a basic cleanser," says Gohara, who favors Dove White Beauty Bar for its moisturizing properties. Work in circular motions all over the face to gently exfoliate dead skin cells. Simple as that.