Soon fall’s vaunted crisp air will give way to winter— the toughest season on skin. Sure it’s cold, but the real problem is the dryness from moisture-wicking winter winds combined with the arid interior temperatures of homes and offices. But exfoliating—physically removing the top layer of dead skin cells to allow younger ones to shine through—can help by smoothing skin and unclogging pores.
It also makes moisturizing more effective. “Exfoliating reveals new skin that accepts the moisturizing lotion or cream,” said Dana Tarase- vicius, spa director of Drew Patrick Spa in Bay Shore. Beyond that, men also benefit from a facial scrub because it reduces ingrown hairs.
For most adults, exfoliating twice a week is enough to bring skin’s luster back, provided the right product is used. Scrubs are designed with smaller aggregates for the face, including gentle abra- sives like bamboo fibers, ground nutshells, oatmeal or fruit pulp. Products meant to be used on the tougher parts of the body (like feet or elbows) employ larger, harsher ingredients like salt, rice bran, jojoba beads, apricot kernels and coffee grounds.
Using a body scrub above the neck can leave the thinner skin red or irritated. On the other hand, facial scrubs may not be strong enough to tackle rougher skin elsewhere on the body. Like most things, choosing the right products will go a long way.
For the stressed: Mentha Smoothing Body Buffer
The mint scent calms while the large, sugar crystals do most of the scrubbing. The venerable NYC apothecary texturizes their formula with the perfect amount of grit. $14 for 8oz; bigelowchemists.com
For the multitasker: Liquidsand
Dollop a dime-sized amount of this hybrid formula into your palm and commence multitasking. Tiny polyethylene beads exfoliate while lactic acid reduces fine lines and sun damage, effectively scrubbing and cleaning in one step. Mulberry leaf extract provides the herbaceous scent. $24 for 8oz; billyjealousy.com
For the chemist: Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser
Smelling of lemongrass and chamomile, this smart scrub is packed with an uncommon form of pure sugar. The cubes are hexagonal, a gentler version of the more typical square. As the sugar melts it changes into an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which works to clean without drying the skin. $33 for 4oz; sukiskincare.com