Your Body Needs Exfoliation
It’s a step that most men leave out of their grooming regimens, but if you're not exfoliating you're really missing out. Because your body is literally covered in dead skin cells. It's gross, but it's true. We're always shedding and growing new skin cells. In fact, our skin completely regenerates itself approximately every 27 days. So if you don't get rid of the dead skin cells, they just hang onto you and cause problems. Like what? How about breakouts, scaly patches, hair loss and cracked gnarly feet? That's why it's important to exfoliate. Not just your face but every part of your body.
Sofie Pavitt, the in-demand New York aesthetician, says we should be doing it year round, but that exfoliation is particularly effective in the winter months. “I love to ramp up exfoliation during the colder months to reduce dryness and flaky winter skin,” says Pavitt. “You want to dissolve the bonds between dead skin and the healthy skin underneath—that's the key.” Think of it as shedding your dead weight. You'll look and feel better as soon as you do. We've put together a game plan for a full-body exfoliation, from top to bottom, along with how often you should ideally be doing it.
Two to three times a week
If you really want to see improvement in the texture and clarity of your skin, start exfoliating your face. By clearing away the dead skin cells, you uncover the fresh, healthy ones underneath while kickstarting the cell renewal process. That all translates to clearer, brighter, smoother skin—and that's just what you want. Right now, we're alternating between Goop's citrusy scrub (packed with vitamin C, omega acids and soothing squalane) and Grown Alchemist's scrub-free exfoliant (which is suitable for use around the eyes and even the most sensitive skin).
Blame it on subzero temperatures, a sunburn or just general dryness, but peeling lips are annoying—and frankly, unattractive. A gentle lip scrub will safely slough away the dead skin while moisturizing the sensitive skin underneath. It's basically a gritty lip balm, so apply and rub your lips together until smooth.
Twice a week, or whenever you shampoo
Maybe you're seeing some flakes or perhaps your hair has been feeling oily and a little dull. That's what dry skin and product buildup can do to your scalp. On the flip side, exfoliating regularly can stimulate circulation in the hair follicles to help hair grow naturally thicker and shinier. You could use a dedicated scalp scrub or just get one of these massaging brushes and go to town on your scalp.
Daily or as needed
Your knees and elbows are areas where dry, dead skin tends to accumulate. Keep them smooth and hydrated by applying a daily body lotion and making sure to really rub it into these areas. This one, in particular, both moisturizes and mildly exfoliates. With regular use, bumpy texture and persistent dryness is alleviated.
Every other day
Keep itchy skin and ingrown hairs at bay by sudsing up in the shower with a dual-action exfoliator. A gentle trio of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids work together with natural pumice and bamboo charcoal to soften rough skin without irritation. You can also use this ingenious oversized exfoliating wash cloth from Japan with your standard soap or body wash to remove dead skin from your shoulders, back, arms and legs.
Once a week
Even men who take great pride in their appearance will often neglect their feet. Dry skin is extremely common, but if left untreated, it can lead to painful cracks in the skin or hardened calluses. Use your body scrub to alleviate scaliness around the ankles and then use a powered file to buff away dry skin and calluses. Trust us, grinding away at the dry patches is as satisfying as popping a zit, but it's actually good for you. Be sure to follow it up with a lotion to hydrate your freshly scrubbed feet.
The best time to use a scrub is in the shower. The steam will help open up your pores (and it makes clean up a whole lot easier). You want to massage the product into skin with small circles, like you’re waxing a car.