The why, how and when of exfoliation

We are all familiar with the term ‘exfoliate’, or better yet, ‘scrub’. But like most beauty fads, do we really know why we do it and if we are doing it right?

Earlier in my life, exfoliation in my skin care routine was synonymous with torture. The thought of scrubbing my body with some sort of salt-concoction, aimlessly trying to get rid of those hard and dead skin on my heels even now makes me pull my ‘No, thank you, not interested’-face. But as my journey with self-care and self-love progressed, I learnt more about sustainable beauty products and routines (such as exfoliation) but also why they exist.

The word ‘exfoliate’ dates to the 17th century from the late Latin word exfoliat which means ‘stripped of leaves’. Exfoliation is not a new concept, in ancient Egypt abrasive tapes made with alabaster particles, sour milk and honey were used to exfoliate. Finely ground sand was used to scrape the skin to keep it silky smooth. Other techniques that were used since then to rejuvenate the skin include acid peels, direct irritants such as fire, enzyme-based creams and even electric brushes. Luckily, the beauty world has made leaps and bounds when it comes to physical and chemical exfoliation.

Nowadays, the most popular chemical exfoliation techniques - varying from degree and cost - include toners and acid peels. It is based on the principle of using enzymes to stimulate the cell cycle and enhance the formation of healthy skin cells and thereby reducing the formation of dry and dead skin cells. Common chemical exfoliants are enzymes, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) such as lactic acid and glycolic acids, beta hydroxy acids (BHA’s) such as salicylic acid, and Retinol (Vitamin A). Physical exfoliation focuses on using friction through tools or other substances (sugar, salt, oatmeal, etc.) to remove the outer dead layers of skin cells.

As you can see, there’s a whole world of exfoliation ready to be explored. Which means there must be an extensive list of benefits for the skin, right? Well, think along the lines of skin rejuvenation, evening out of skin tones, blackhead and clogged pores removal, prevention of blemishes or scarring, and increased circulation which helps with skin longevity and averting wrinkles.

Now that you know of all the ways in which one can exfoliate and why one should exfoliate, let’s get to the how - how and when you really should incorporate this actually-not-so-torturous techniques into your weekly beauty routine. At Le Riche Naturals we celebrate natural in all its forms - natural ingredients and natural beauty. We have therefore developed three products that focuses on exfoliation in a natural, synergistic way.

The Le Riche Naturals Polishing Face Scrub, which is reminiscent of French almond macaroons, is a concentrated blend of skin loving ingredients and super foods. The almond seed meal ensures exfoliation whilst the vitamin E, sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil and plum seed oil ensure softness and nourishment. It is recommended to use a pea-size amount with a little bit of water to scrub the face with after cleansing for three times per week. The scrub can also be mixed with a little bit of the Luxe Oil Cleanser to be used as a lip scrub to remove any dead skin layers.

The Le Riche Naturals Brightening Face Mask, which can also be used up to three times per week, aims at hydrating and softly exfoliating the skin to allow the miracle ingredients such as Vitamin E, macadamia seed oil and bioflavonoid Hesperidin (Vitamin P) to penetrate the skin.

bath soak and scrubFinally, my favourite product, the Le Riche Naturals Bath Soak & Scrub. This therapeutic body scrub is made from mineral rich Atlantic sea salt and infused with hibiscus tea leaves to ensure that even my yearlong kaalvoete have the softest heels. There are various benefits to soaking in the hibiscus tea. It is believed to increase skin hydration, reduce blood pressure and improve mood swings. The high concentration of Vitamin C boosts your immune system. Both the Brightening Face Mask and Bath Soak & Scrub are included in our Spa @ Home package to create the most sensual botanical pleasure.

So, don’t just exfoliate only when you ‘remember’ (a.k.a only now have time for it) or when you are preparing for that first date or work function, but encourage yourself to religiously incorporate it into your weekly beauty routine to ensure that your skin stays baby soft, blemish-free and rejuvenated. You will thank me some day, I guarantee it.