Saturday Self-Care – Exfoliate! 1/7/12

Your skin is losing cells at a rate of about 50,000 per minute, but isn’t always able to keep up with the shedding process. Exfoliating 1-2 times a week will keep your skin looking fresh and feeling soft. If your skin is sensitive try once a week, if oily you might go for more than twice a week. If you have skin problems, don’t exfoliate more than twice a week or it’s likely you’ll irritate your condition rather than heal it. In all cases, let your skin guide you to the proper schedule.

A lovely exfoliating choice for all skin types is ground almonds and/or ground oatmeal mixed with honey or smashed grapes or pineapple juice. If Alpha Hydroxy Acids irritate your skin (found in the grapes and pineapple), try crushing an aspirin into your ground almonds and adding green tea concentrate, honey or olive oil to form a scrub. Aspirin contains Beta Hydroxy Acid which doesn’t have the same irritating factors of Alpha.

Make a green tea concentrate to moisten your dry ingredients. Research shows it reduced carcinogenic activity in mice … Can’t hurt! Green tea, honey, oatmeal almonds … sounds like breakfast!

A centuries-old Japanese secret to gentle exfoliation is rice bran powder. You can add it to most any natural scrub to absorb dirt, moisturize and add balance to your skin. Look for it at an Asian market or health food store.

A word of caution: There are many recipes that call for baking soda, but I found some concerns around alkalinity when researching scrubs, so I wouldn’t advise baking soda as an ingredient. There are also LOTS of recipes that include salt and/or sugar. Again, I advise caution as these can be quite coarse and irritating. Always let your skin be your guide!

The fun thing about scrubs is how many choices you have from your kitchen. Play with scrubs and masks, search out recipes online … Have fun and enjoy taking care of yourself!

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