Exfoliators have been getting some bad press lately. Mainly their negative impact on the environment.
The issue is cheaper face scrubs include tiny plastic beads, included for the purpose of scrubbing away dead skin and de-clogging your pores. These micro-beads are made from polyethylene (plastic); ending up in marine environments where they interfere with marine life and the food chain, ultimately ending up in the food we eat.
Retailers worldwide are banning the sale of micro-bead containing scrubs from their shelves in an effort to prevent further damage to the environment. The amount of micro-beads in sand samples has reached such alarmingly high amounts they’re challenging results from outside a plastic factory. That’s a lot of plastic in the oceans and potentially in seafood.
There is evidence that marine invertebrates ingest micro plastics; that means muscles, oysters, shellfish, squid, scallops…less than ideal for those of us who love a seafood banquet. Not great to know we may inadvertently be chewing down on someones face scrub.
Back to face scrubs.
Natural is best.
If not just for the reasons stated above, the fact that you really shouldn’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t put in your body.
A quick run down on exfoliating – in short, it’s purpose is removing dead skin cells that build up, clog pores and result in dull looking skin. Though, you skin naturally sheds its cells, often we need a little helping hand to ensure this is done effectively, cue, exfoliators.
First, whole body exfoliation…
Buy a dry body brush to clean dead skin off the whole body. Start with your feet and legs, working in circular motions; moving up toward the heart. Then the hands, moving again, toward the heart. It’s important to brush toward the heart to stimulate blood flow – as this generates blood and oxygen to the brushed areas stimulating the internal detoxification process.
This is exceptionally beneficial for cellulite ladies. Brush those butts and thighs.
When it comes to the face we need to be a little more careful, skin on the face, neck and décolletage is sensitive, very sensitive. Given what we know about the harmful effects of microplastics on the environment let’s look at some natural exfoliators. But what is it exactly we want?
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is an ingredient you may commonly read on the labels of face scrubs. Known to assist in the reduction of wrinkles while improving the overall look and feel of the skin; it’s a natural exfoliator. Synthetically obtained and included in chemical peels this wonder ingredient can be found naturally occurring in tomatoes, pineapple, papaya, grapefruit and lemons.
Another key ingredient to get that scrubbing motion is something coarse. Think sugar, salt, ground nuts, or tea leaves. Exfoliating with tea leaves can add other benefits to your scrub, for example, TeaFace uses TinyTea granules – which are super gentle and soft on the skin; to cool hot/irritated skin and draw out any imperfections.
Once you’ve chosen your exfoliator and potential fruit, the last thing you’re going to need is oil. It’s up to you what you use, all oils have their own properties and benefits dependent on what you’re after. If it’s healing the skin, perhaps from acne scarring then you’re going to want to add some patchouli oil. If it’s primarily hydrating qualities you’re after, try rosehip and coconut. And if blackheads are your problem, jojoba oil is said to dissolve sebum causing clogged pores.
We always love the natural approach and suggest trying a few things until you find what works best for your skin.
Happy (natural) scrubbing,