Exfoliation and Masks

A quick and easy way to keep skin healthy and improve its appearance is through exfoliation. The premise behind exfoliation is this: The dead skin cells and dirt that sit on your skin's surface make the complexion look dull and clog pores. Remove these and you reveal your skin's brighter, clearer, and fresher finish. Washcloths, facial brushes, and loofahs If you use a washcloth, you've probably been exfoliating your skin for years without knowing it. The cloth's rough surface buffs away debris, yet is gentle enough for most people to use daily.

Complexion brushes and loofahs are also exfoliators. However, because their surfaces can scratch, brushes and loofahs shouldn't be used more than two or three times a week. If your skin is easily irritated, avoid them completely. When it comes to exfoliatina, more is not always better! If you notice pink or raw patches on your skin, you know you' ve exfoliated too hard or too often.

Mechanical exfoliants Mechanical exfoliants are exfoliators that are driven by you, such as apricot-kernel scrubs, buffing beads, and pumice-based cleansers. These scrape away dead skin cells to make skin look fresher and encourage clear pores. Use one to three times a week; if your skin is particularly sensitive or you are using skin­thinning medication, limit use to once weekly. An easy way to convert your favorite cleanser to a mechanical exfoliant is to mix a half­tablespoon with a tablespoon of coarse-grind cornmeal, coarse sea salt, or coarsely ground almonds. After scrubbing, rinse well with lukewarm water Chemical exfoliants Chemical exfoliants take no physical work on your part - no rubbing, and no rinsing.

These are chemical ingredients - such as enzymes or alpha hydroxy acids - that are added to moisturizers and treatment creams. They loosen and slough off dead skin cells, debris, and excess sebum. Unlike manual exfoliators, chemical exfoliators are not instant brighteners; their effects are subtle and continual. One of nature's most effective chemical exfoliants is papaya, which contains a strong enzyme called papain that dissolves excess sebum as well as dead skin cells.

To try, smooth mashed papaya onto your face and leave it on for up to 5 minutes. You can remove it with a damp washcloth and a few splashes of water. Using masks Facial masks have a reputation as a luxury item, hence their fancy alternate spelling: "masque." Sure, masks are pampering, but they are much more than that: They are a way to infuse skin with beneficial ingredients and a quick, effective (albeit temporary) means of addressing skin issues such as flakiness, slackness, or excess oil. If you've never tried one, treat yourself.

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