Exfoliation: The ends, the outs, and the know how

Exfoliation: The ends, the outs, and the know how

I must say, as a youth, I never paid much attention to my skin and with the lack of attention came the lack of care. However, as I entered into womanhood I soon joined my sisters in the realization that hormones are real and with the fluctuation of these hormones came another realization we all must undoubtedly face; hair is the devil.

With my new found friends that proudly made their way through my skin I explored the time old ritual that was birthed in the early 1900s. You guessed it, shaving. I must say shaving was not something I enjoyed but, honestly who does? Yet, with conformity to society's beauty standard this is where we meet and do what "needs" to be done.


Throughout my years of shaving I developed little dark spots on my legs which is known as "strawberry legs". The dark spots or pores are actually open comedones, a dark semisolid plug of oxidized debris. These open comedones can have excess oil, dirt, or bacteria trapped inside. The blockage of sebum, debris, or bacteria mixes with air and melanin, and the reaction causes the opening to appear dark or black. [2] 

One way I learned to combat the appearance of these spots was through exfoliation.

photo by: skincliniq 

What is exfoliation?

Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool.[1]

Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days or so.[1]

Sometimes, dead cells don’t shed completely. This can result in dry, flaky patches and clogged pores. Exfoliating can help prevent this.[1]

What are the benefits of exfoliation?

If you've had a pedicure, then you're familiar with the benefits of exfoliation. Foot calluses can develop over time for a number of reasons. However, after a session with a pumice stone and some specialty scrub, your feet which were once callous filled and rough, are now soft and smooth. While you wouldn't necessarily use this same method on your face, imagine the effects a scrub would have if used on the rest of your body. 

The process of exfoliation rids the body of any dry, dull skin by removing dead skin cells from its surface. By removing these dead cells, exfoliation can help keep pores from becoming clogged and leave skin with a refreshed and clean feeling.[3] Although you can't reduce their actual size (genetics is the biggest factor in pore size), you can help diminish their appearance by keeping them clog-free.[3] 

In addition to the immediate visual benefits of exfoliation, the removal of dead skin cells speeds up the skin renewal process, allowing smoother, healthier skin cells to take their place [3]. Not only will this help with fine lines and wrinkles, but it will help to reduce the appearance of dark spots.

photo by: dealzone

Ok, but I still have questions

When should I exfoliate?

When it comes to know when to exfoliate, it all comes down to personal preference and your daily routine.

For example, if you find your skin looks dull in the morning, exfoliating before you start your day may be beneficial. On the other hand, exfoliating at night can help remove any lingering makeup or other debris. [1]

If you use a medicated product for a skin condition, you should space out the time between that product and exfoliating. [1] Avoid exfoliating if you have cuts or open sores on your skin. [1]

How often should I exfoliate?

Regular exfoliation helps keep these dark pores at bay, and so do proper shaving methods, shaving tools, and a good skin care regimen. It's recommended to exfoliate your legs on a regular basis with a body scrub that polishes away dead skin cells. [2]

If you have oily skin, you can exfoliate as often as needed. This may be daily, every other day, or less frequent. [1] For all other skin types, you should limit at-home exfoliating to once or twice a week. [1]

DIY Exfoliates

Here are a few DIY body scrub recipes you can create using a few ingredients you find in your home or your local grocery store.

 Coconut Sugar Scrub

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, either white or brown, preferably organic
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3-5 drops essential oil of your choice (optional)
  • 1 small wide-mouth glass mason jar

Coffee Scrub

  • 1/3 cup finely ground dry coffee
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract (optional)

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.






1 What does it mean to Exfoliate https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/meaning-of-exfoliating September 26, 2018

2 What are Strawberry Legs https://www.byrdie.com/shaving-tips-to-prevent-strawberry-legs-2442894 April 22, 2019

3 What is Exfoliation https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/tips/what-is-exfoliation1.htm 

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