Everything you need to know about exfoliating

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Exfoliating is one of those tricky beauty tasks. We all know we should be doing it, but how often, and using what? Does it differ for every person or skin type? Or between seasons? If you’re guilty of skipping the scrubbing step, that’s about to change. We asked Nichola Joss, Sanctuary Spa Celebrity Facialist and Skin Expert, and Jules Heptonstall, St.Tropez Global Skin Finishing Expert, to answer every question we’ve ever had about exfoliating.

1. How often should you exfoliate?

Nichola: I recommend exfoliating two to three times a week.

Jules: Once or twice a week (if you’re a regular tanner).

2. Should you exfoliate the entire body every time?

Nichola: Exfoliating is great for improving skin’s texture and feel, so definitely try and do your entire body. If you don’t have enough time, focus on drier areas such as elbows, knees and heels.

3. Is there such a thing as over-exfoliating? 

Nichola: Yes, too much exfoliation can cause redness and dryness. If you experience this, try to using more gentle, nourishing products in-between exfoliations. Or if you’re currently using a manual exfoliating glove, swap it for a gentle body wash/scrub or scrub enriched with lotion or oils, like Sanctuary Spa 4 Day Moisture Oil Scrub.

4. What’s the best exfoliating technique?

For special event prep (and to detox), Nichola recommends doing this three times a week in the lead-up: First, massage Sanctuary Spa Essentials Salt Scrub (bh also recommends:Dirty Works Glow Girl! Buttery Salt Scrub and AHAVA Deadsea Salt Softening Butter Salt Scrub) onto clean damp skin using firm circular motions, moving from your feet upwards. Once your whole body is covered in salt scrub, step into a warm (not hot!) bath and soak in the water for 10 minutes. The heat from the water will encourage the nourishing oils to absorb deep into the skin and help muscles to relax. After soaking for 10 minutes, rub off any excess scrub and then blast skin all over with cold water (the colder, the better) for two minutes. This will help to stimulate the flow of blood in the body and give skin a healthy glow. Step out of the bath and dry off. Your skin should feel springy, soft and ultra-moisturised. 

For a good pre-tan scrub, Jules recommends the following routine: Every tan should begin with a canvas of perfectly smooth, soft skin. So, while showering, massage St.Tropez Prep & Maintain Tan Enhancing Body Polish onto wet skin using firm circular motions, concentrating on the hands, elbows, knees and feet. If you’re going to apply the body polish to your face, mix it with an oil-free mineral cleanser for a milder effect. For perfect results when self-tanning, use this product a day prior to application. 

5. What’s the most common mistake people make when it comes to exfoliating?

Nichola: Over-exfoliating! Going too hard on the skin can cause damage such as redness and soreness, plus scrubbing too much can affect the skin’s ability to hold onto moisture and strip the skin of natural oils. Make sure you’re gentle with your skin!

6. Is it better to use a tool like a brush or glove? Or is using an exfoliating body wash (or something similar) enough?

Nichola: Good exfoliating products are most definitely enough, but dry body brushing also has many benefits for the skin. It removes dead skin cells so that they don’t build up on the skin, and helps with the absorption of body moisturisers. I recommend dry body brushing every day before showering to keep skin soft, supple and healthy. 

7. Do you need to exfoliate more depending on the season?

Nichola: After skin’s been covered up throughout the cooler months, it can be dry and fragile with flaky patches – so thorough exfoliation during and towards the end of winter is important. 

8. What are some tips for choosing the right exfoliator for different skin types?

Nichola: A gentle gel scrub with natural particles is ideal for more delicate skin types. bh recommends: Lux Tahitian Escape Exfoliating Body Wash

Applying exfoliators to bone-dry skin increases the intensity of the scrub, but mixing them with water dissolves some of the granules, making the process lighter. So if you have sensitive skin, apply your scrub during a shower.

For dry skin types, products that contain shea butter and have a creamy consistency are best. bh recommends: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Body Scrub

Dry skin types should be regularly exfoliated to help with the removal of flaky skin, but a gentle exfoliator should be used to prevent the skin from becoming tight and sore.  

9. Any final tips?         

Jules: Applying moisturiser after exfoliating will give your skin that natural softness and help to lock moisture in. A moisturiser packed with added benefits is great to use after exfoliation, as the live skin cells are more receptive to active ingredients. 

Do you exfoliate regularly? What’s your go-to body scrub?

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