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  • Writer's pictureNicole Salter

Best Natural Exfoliants For Delicate Skin

Winter is coming! Depending on where you live, it may already be here. I remember the day a few weeks ago when the skin on my normally-oily face suddenly felt incredibly dry, as if all the moisture had been sucked out of the air. Our fancy indoor/outdoor thermometer showed the outside temperature in the single digits and the humidity in the 30 percent range (down from the 60s in summer) - and of course, in Toronto and many other places, it will only be downhill from here. I immediately began to think about changing my face lotion and doubling up on the rich hand and body creams I use after showering and before bed. But if you suffer from chronically dry skin that doesn't seem to improve no matter how much you moisturize, you're probably just missing a very important, simple, but often-overlooked skin care step.

Jack Nicholson freezing cold
Baby, it's going to be pretty cold outside.

Personally, I never get tired of talking about my favourite skincare hack... EXFOLIATING! If you're just slathering creams on your skin, you're really missing out. Topical cosmetics, including creams and lotions, do not penetrate deep into the skin, no matter how much you rub them in. They sit on top of the skin, acting as a barrier against the elements but doing little to moisturize at deeper levels. That's why it's so important to prep your skin to receive all the moisture (and dollars!) you're putting on. Short of applying creams that contain penetration enhancing chemicals, which add to the body's toxic load, your best bet is to simply remove the layers of dead skin that are preventing your creams from sinking in better. For large areas, there's no easier, more effective, and more inexpensive way to do that than exfoliation - polishing off those layers of dry, dull, dead skin to reveal the dewy, moisture-receptive skin beneath.

Natural Exfoliants for Polishing Face

Of course, we make the most amazing sea salt body scrubs - if you haven't tried them, check out our holiday themed velvet body polish, which will fill your shower or bath with the scent of sparkling cranberry and leave you silky smooth and smelling like a holiday dessert, just in time for Christmas. Our salt scrubs are based in rich cosmetic oils like coconut, almond, hemp and rice bran oil, which obviously moisturize while you're exfoliating so you can skip the lotion step after your bath or shower. But even microfine salt based body scrubs are usually a bit too robust for delicate facial skin. You can remove dead skin, dirt, and oil buildup on facial skin by applying Dead Sea mud, but you can also get your DIY on and try some awesome at-home treatments made fresh by you! Here's our favourite natural ingredients for gently polishing your face, the better to soak up your fancy face cream afterward.

*Oatmeal - those cheap, large-flake oats in the Quaker bag or bulk store bin have anti-inflammatory properties and are super soothing for a host of common skin conditions.

Baking soda - so pure, so cleansing! It restores pH balance and reduces oil production, perfect for acne-prone skin.

*Coffee grounds - great for lips and face! And the residual caffeine increases blood flow for a more tightened, tone skin appearance, hence why coffee is found in so many high-end skincare products.

Turmeric powder - you might experience a sneeze or two, but turmeric is loaded with natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, making it a go-to when you want to calm breakouts.

*Milk - yes, milk. If you can't stand the thought of rubbing anything grainy on your face, you'll be happy to know that the lactic acid in milk makes it an effective exfoliant because it breaks down dead skin cells when massaged into the skin. No wonder you hear about ancient elites and their famous milk baths!

Ground coffee and coffee beans
Use coffee grounds, or try freshly ground coffee for extra scrubbing power when exfoliating

Perhaps the best thing about using these natural, inexpensive, readily available pantry items in at-home beauty treatments is that recipes abound online. A quick Google search will tell you exactly what to mix with these ingredients, how much, and how long you can store your homemade beauty products for optimal freshness, so you can experiment at will.

What is your favourite at-home DIY facial or beauty treatment? Have you tried any of these natural exfoliating ingredients, and did they help your lotions, serums and creams work better afterward? Let us know!

*If all else fails, make breakfast.


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