The winter cold often leaves skin dry, chapped, and flaky. Turning the heat up indoors can also dry out skin by pulling moisture from it. Over time, skin cells will naturally turn over to reveal softer new skin, but that process can take longer than we like, or can trap fresh skin cells underneath. Exfoliating regularly can help quickly get rid of dry, dead cells, increase circulation, and reveal skin that’s soft and radiant all winter long.
Face and body scrubs
Dead skin cells can often build up and make your skin look dull. Makeup, dirt, and debris can also become attached to flaky cells, which can clog pores if they aren’t removed in time. Exfoliating scrubs help remove dirt and debris as well as to open pores, reveal fresher skin, and reduce breakouts.
To exfoliate in one step, use a face or body scrub. These products have tiny beads in them that gently scrub the skin clean. Be sure to only use these one to three times a week to avoid any redness or irritation. Some daily cleansers, however, come with scrubbing beads that are very fine, so can be used every day.
There are also exfoliating pads or sponges that you can use with your existing cleanser. These have a textured surface to help scrub the skin, and can be thrown away after a few uses. If you find your skin gets really rough or flaky in the winter, it’s best to use these for gentle daily cleansing, and use a standard face or body scrub product twice a week. Exfoliating can be drying to the skin, so be sure to cleanse with warm water, not hot, and follow up with a moisturizer or lotion.
Dry brushing is done just before you shower, and is exactly what it sounds like - brushing your skin. And while it doesn’t sound like the most luxurious of tasks, it is becoming one of the new trends tied to brighter and healthier skin. Dry brushes come in many different sizes and can be bought at any drugstore for about $10. Starting from the ankles, gently brush skin with long, upward strokes toward the heart. The dry bristles do all the work to remove dead cells on the surface of the skin and open pores to release toxins. Showering immediately after rinses away all of the dead skin and helps hydrate the newly opened pores. This also helps the body absorb any in-shower treatments or anti-acne soaps.
The increase in blood circulation from dry brushing may also stimulate the lymphatic system to remove waste materials beneath the skin and even reduce cellulite. There are some skeptics who say using a simple brush to rid the body of cellulite is too good to be true, and they might be right. But there is no denying that much like massages, adding gentle pressure and motion to the skin does improve circulation, and can help the body rid itself of toxins.
Because eating and talking are so natural to us, the skin cells on our lips that are constantly being stretched and pulled are easily forgotten about until its too late. By then our lips are already dry, chapped, or worse, cracking and peeling. Applying a lip scrub in a circular motion two to three times a week can help with chapped or peeling lips, and make lips look fuller by increasing blood flow to the area. Lip balms, chapstick or lipstick that is applied after using a lip scrub will also go on much smoother. Don’t want to splurge on a scrub? Gently exfoliate using a worn-down toothbrushSources:
Kristina Brooks is a gluten-free digital editor at HealthCentral, with a background in animal biology, ecology, and health science. While studying broadcast journalism, she discovered the great need for health reporters that could translate research to the public. In her work, she hopes to use research to help consumers make smart decisions about their healthcare, and empower patients to stay confident and in charge of their chronic conditions. Kristina works on the HealthySelf newsletter, as well as HealthCentral’s MythWeek.