How To Exfoliate Your Body

If you aren’t sure how to exfoliate your body, then you’ve come to the right place. For most of us, we know that exfoliating from head to toe is crucial for beautiful, glowing skin.

But once again, if you’re like most of us, then you actually have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to exfoliating, especially exfoliating your body.

Not to give you a list of do’s and dont’s, but let’s cover a couple of ground rules:

Rule #1: Know when NOT to exfoliate your body

scrubs with coffee beans
Image via Women’s Health Magazine 

If you’re sunburnt, do not exfoliate.  I’m not sure who could withstand the pain of that anyways.

But if you have some insane thought in your head that exfoliating will help get rid of the damaged skin, you’re dead wrong.  You’ll just cause further damage (and pain) to your already beat up skin.

This seems obvious, too, but if you have any open cuts or wounds, you’ll want to wait until those heal up before getting in on the exfoliating game.

Rule #2: Invest in the right exfoliating products

woman with body scrub on bare back

If you didn’t catch our latest blog post, you’ll definitely want to check it out.  We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to finding the best body exfoliator that’s right for your skin type.

Make sure you read that, and purchase a body exfoliator that will help you achieve your skin goals, and is the right fit for your skin type.

You might also need additional “tools.”  Decide whether you want to just use a body scrub, or if you’ll be using a loofa, exfoliating gloves, or just a simple washcloth. More on that later.

Rule #3: Get ready to exfoliate your entire body

woman with coffee scrub on stomach

When I say you should exfoliate from head to toe, I mean it literally.  From exfoliating your scalp to working those calluses’ on your heels, a proper body exfoliation routine involves the entire body.  So, let’s break it down:

Before jumping in the shower, you’ll want to do some dry exfoliating. With a dry loofa, body brush, exfoliating gloves, or even a good old-fashioned washcloth, start rubbing your body all over.

This will help remove the loose skin cells, and prepare your skin for wet exfoliation.

Once you’ve stepped in the shower, wet your body from head to toe, and start focusing on these key areas:

Scalp
wooden tiki head, pink background
Image via GQ

Using your everyday shampoo, really go in on your scalp.  Obviously, it shouldn’t hurt to do this, but you definitely want to get your fingers working through your scalp.

By massaging and “exfoliating” your scalp, you’ll lift up any dead skin flakes, which will help prevent future dandruff (you’re welcome).

You’ll also be stimulating circulation on your hair follicles, which has been shown to reduce hair loss (again, you’re welcome).

That may seem backwards to you, but when you improve blood flow on your scalp, you’re helping prevent clogged follicles, which will lead to healthier (and more) hair overall.

Face
As much as I’d love to go into face exfoliation in this article, that’s a whole other topic.  Be sure to check out our post that covers everything you need to know about face exfoliation, and then work it into your routine when you exfoliate your body.

Body
Working your way down, you’ll want to have your body scrub, gentle exfoliating agent, or exfoliating bar handy for this section.  Make sure you’ve read up on which type of exfoliating product and system you should be using for your skin type.

In a circular motion, gently rub your shoulders, back, torso, arms, and legs.  You may want to spend a little extra time on your elbows and knees, as those tend to be rougher areas.

You don’t want to scrub until you’re red, but make sure you’re putting a little muscle behind the rubbing so you actually work off the dead skin cells and unclog any pores.
(Sidenote: A long body brush can really come in handy for this step as it can help you exfoliate those hard-to-reach areas).

It may seem like overkill to scrub all of these places, but haven’t you ever had a random zit pop up on your arm or leg?  Plus, the goal here is gorgeous, radiant skin, and you want that all over.  Period.

Hands
woman using scrub on her hands

There’s not a ton to be said about exfoliating your hands.  And if you’re like most women, you’ve probably purchased a hand scrub from Bath and Body Works, and kept it by your sink to use every now and again.

However, the importance of soft hands shouldn’t be overlooked.  Dry hands look rough and cracked, which makes them look old.  And we all know that hands are the dead giveaway for a woman’s age, right?

Plus, don’t your hands just hurt when they’re dry?  Exfoliating can help you avoid that unnecessary discomfort.

So take the extra minute to exfoliate your hands in the shower.  You can use whatever product you’re using all over you body, and work it around your hands as if you’re washing them.

Feet
When you go to exfoliate your body, your feet can be an easy area to overlook.  However, it’s probably the most important area, since they take such a beating each day.

If you have extra rough skin on your heels, or a build up of calluses’, you may want to soak them in a basin of warm water mixed with Epsom salt or Listerine (I swear, it works!) for 20-30 minutes before getting in the shower.

If you don’t have time for that (so basically, everyone), or if your heels just aren’t that severe, a simple pumice stone will do the trick.  Make sure you scrub your heel, the ball of your foot, and the top of your toes!

woman stepping out of shower

Once you’ve completed all of those steps, pat dry your skin with a towel, and MOISTURIZE.  After getting rid of those dead skin cells and helping bring new cells to the surface, you want to lock in that moisture and treat that new layer of skin right.

Just like you did when exfoliating your body, make sure you moisturize from head to toe, too!

Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear that you should exfoliate your body every day to just once a week.  If you don’t have sensitive skin, we recommend exfoliating your body three times a week.

That’s a little more realistic than daily (again, who has time for that?), but will deliver the results you’re looking for.

Now that we’ve covered all of our bases, you should feel like a total pro in terms of how to exfoliate your body. So turn on some music, strip down, and get to work, girl!

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About the Author

About the Author:

Brittney Fox is the Editorial Director and all-around beauty maven here at Exfoliate.com. When she’s not searching for the next big skincare breakthrough, Brittney loves Mexican food and salsa dancing.

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