It’s all so bittersweet…we have two choices age or die! It’s true! …that being said, there are things we can do to retard the aging process (exercise, drinking plenty of water, laughing, diet…) and beautifully embrace it! OK, I know I'm being a bit grim. In this post, I am focusing on one important aspect of skin care, namely exfoliation.
dull skin & clogged pores
I am horrible about skin care. When I do pay attention to it, I am always pleased with the results, but I feel like my life is so busy, I just don’t have the time to devote to that area of my it. I figured, since I have never really worn make up, my skin didn't need to be cut a break. I'm starting to feel like I cannot just slide by on that anymore. My skin would probably be happier with some loving care. Apparently, as we all age, the process of our bodies getting rid of old skin cells and regenerating new ones slows…down… This build-up can lead to clogged pores (adult acne), and super dull, flaky skin. Even if one cleanses their face regularly, they are not getting to all the dirt, trapped deep in their pores. Clogged pores look larger. Exfoliation furthers the cleansing process of clogged pores and over time, helps to diminish the size of those pores. Have you ever moisturized your skin and it didn’t seem to help or placed a foundation on and it appeared blotchy or darker in a certain areas? You might benefit from upping your exfoliating game! Dead skin cells can block the absorption of moisturizers, sunscreens and serums. Exfoliating allows for proper delivery of these.
Types of Exfoliants
This process can be done on your face and body. In a separate post, I will cover a technique called dry brushing, good for women and men alike, that I prefer for exfoliating my body; here I will focus for the most part on facial exfoliation. In general exfoliation, removes that layer of dead skin cells and helps to restore the natural glow to your skin. The type of exfoliant you choose is important. There are typically two types available, chemical and manual. The chemical version normally includes a Alpha Hydroxy Acid or some enzyme. Natural Alpha Hydroxy Acid, can be found in foods like grapefruit or lemon, papaya, grapes and apples. I will cover that in a later post as well. These enzymes break down the dead skin cells on the top layer of skin and allow the new cells from the lower level to assume their rightful position! The manual version entails a brush, prepared scrub or a washcloth. There are loads of exfoliates on the market and they have saturated the natural market as well. Make it yourself and feel assured of the ingredients you are placing on your skin. You know me, there are situations that do not fit this rule, but for the most part, I try to stay clear of putting things on my skin that I couldn’t eat!
Scrubs are not for everyone. There are people who experience red or itchy or who break out in a rash. Clearly if any of these happen to you, discontinue and speak with a dermatologist. Furthermore, there are people who suffer from conditions like rosacea, warts, inflammatory acne, or herpes. For some with these conditions, scrubs may worsen their conditions. Again, if you have a previous history of skin sensitivities or notice the previously mentioned signs, check in with your doc!
There are many different types of DIY scrubs. I choose to use a recipe recommended by PETA or a variation of that recipe that uses coffee as its main ingredient. Applying coffee to your skin has many beneficial attributes. Coffee is an anti-inflammatory, meaning it reduces swelling and puffiness. It is not definitive, but it is thought that the caffeine and its antioxidant properties (like polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acids), could be the reason for this. Polyphenols are the same antioxidants you hear people speaking about that can be found in berries, chocolate and wine. They are known for helping to retard the aging process by repairing DNA damage to skin. If you tend to have acne, coffee applied directly to the skin as a mask or scrub could be a great help, in soothing the inflammation of that breakout. It is also said to aid in the production of collagen through it’s caffeic acid. Collagen is what helps the skin maintain its elasticity. It also helps shield some ultraviolet radiation that occurs from being in the sun, which as we know contributes to aging.
you will need
- Organic coffee beans or fresh grinds
- spice grinder if using beans
- olive oil (or jojoba or coconut oil-what works best for your skin)
- Raw Organic Brown Sugar (not granulated sugar)
Grind the coffee.
To a container add 3 Tbsp. of coffee grinds. This scrub is primarily going on your face, where the skin tends to be quite delicate; for this reason, smooth, round granules are best. Jagged granules can irritate the skin by making tiny abrasions in its surface. To achieve smooth granules, it is a good idea to grind the coffee a couple of times, until you have a fine mixture. I recommend using a freshly ground, organic coffee if possible. The skin is the largest organ of the body and absorbs so much, let’s treat it well.
Add the Olive Oil
Now measure out 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. I've used organic and extra-virgin. Add the oil to the coffee grinds.
Now mix them together. The mixture should resemble the consistency of thick mud. If you want to add 1 Tbsp. of organic raw brown sugar, do so and then add more olive oil to reach the same consistency as before adding the sugar.
The brown sugar contains glycolic acid, which is also a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Some people opt to add in a little salt, but brown sugar has smaller granules than salt does. Their granules are safer for the skin. Sugar is also a humectant. That property helps to hydrate the skin, whereas salt tends to dry the skin out.
Brown sugar is softer and different than granulated sugar. Brown sugar is good for more sensitive skin. Turbinado sugar is coarser and therefore works well for exfoliating the body.
Apply the scrub.
Coffee does stain, so I wear an apron and apply it over a sink.
- Apply scrub and massage for about 60-90 secs.
- Make circles, upwards and out.
- PETA suggests not leaving it on for longer than 5 minutes.
Rinse of your face
- Clean off fingers, using the towel to remove the grinds from them.
- Rinse face with warm water (not hot).
- You may want to place mesh in the drain in order to avoid clogging it.
- Apply Toner
- splash cool water on your face.
- Apply a toner.
- I use a spritz of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle as a toner.
- or Witch Hazel as a toner.
Lock in the freshness!
Store the remainder in a small glass container.
Note: You can try testing on your inner arm to test your sensitivity. Obviously if you are having any problems with it discontinue!
Try it for a month and see how it does! Once a week is what I see recommended most, though I do see some recommending more (2-3 times per week). As one ages, the skin does become thinner. Everyone’s skin is different, so you will have to see what works best for you. It is suggested that more than that can damage your skin and dry it out, but gentle regular exfoliation can reduce…ugh…”those fine lines and wrinkles” that come with the natural aging process…blech…!