Monday, 21 February 2011

The benefits of facial exfoliators

Every dermatologist and beautician you consult is likely to tell you that keeping your skin really clean is the basis of any beauty routine. When you are young, using a cream or foaming cleanser daily may be sufficient to keep a great complexion. However, from about thirty onwards, the outermost layer of your skin (known as the stratum corneum), gets thicker making the skin look dull and coarse. Cleansing alone will not get rid of these old cells so exfoliating at least once a week, is essential to slough off these old cells which are dying off on the surface and give skin a renewed thin layer.

There are many facial exfoliating washes and cleansers that are effective and gentle on the skin, taking off the dead cells without scratching the healthy surface. I recommend using natural or organic exfoliators formulated without chemical abrasives and those specifically for the face as body exfoliants may irritate facial skin.

If your budget is very limited, a good natural exfoliant is ordinary household fine salt, applied in small amounts and avoiding the eye area. If you want a more convenient option and the benefits of professionally formulated facial exfoliants, here are some of my favourites:

John Masters Jojoba & Ginseng Exfoliating Face Cleanser (£26), an ultra-mild exfoliating cleanser that reoxygenates and nourish skin as it gently cleanses and purifies. Great for daily use.

If you have sensitive skin, look for facial exfoliators made with natural fruit enzymes. They work by dissolving dead skin cells without causing friction or irritation to sensitive skin. Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive (£37) refines, brighten and clarifies with a complex of certified organic apple, lemon and grape juices. Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator (£33) is a rinse off revitalising treatment with natural enzymes and indigenous Australian extracts of Desert Lime, Quandong and Wattle that revitalise and even skin tone while soothing and protecting sensitive skin.

If you have oily skin, choose an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or lactic acid based exfoliator. These are effective facial exfoliators and are available in different strengths. Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser (£29) is an award-winning organic AHA rejuvenator with a divine lemongrass scent that enhances clarity, unclogs pores, reduces dullness, smoothes dryness & wrinkles and reveals fresh, new skin.

For dry skin, Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm (£46) leaves skin feeling replenished, nourished and comfortable. Its micro granules of both silica and MSM eliminate tired skin cells while skin boosting nutrients restore balance and enhance softness.

Always use sun protection after using a facial exfoliator. Freshly exfoliated skin is very prone to sun burns and sun damage. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Luzern La Defense Collagen Protection SPF30 (£36) is one of our best sellers. It offers the Next Generation in Sun Protection: 100% mineral SPF30 with advanced collagen protection.

Natural exfoliators are available at