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Winter has been hitting me hard this year! Cracked, dry lips, frizzy hair, rough skin, and we are

still right smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. As if the cold winds, rainy weather, dreary

days aren’t enough to bum you out when winter strikes, your skin looking like a reptile will throw

your game off for sure!

I have always loved the feeling of decluttering my home with a swift drop off at Goodwill. Or the

satisfying feeling after a yard sale empties your yard of oddments that were previously

cherished and later left collecting dust. “Getting rid of” is just a good feeling. To feel lighter. To

feel refreshed, and renewed. Sloughing away my dead, rough, dry winter skin gives me that

same sense of renewal, and “lightness”. I feel as though I am getting rid of that which no longer

serves me. Methods of exfoliation have changed a lot over the years, and come a long way from

Native Americans scrubbing away at their bodies with dried corn cobs, or Europeans bathing in

stale red wine due to its naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acid content. Today while homemade

and store bought gritty scrubs are still incredibly popular because many people like the way they

feel being massaged onto the skin, chemical and enzyme exfoliants are also very popular due

to their high efficacy, and ability to exfoliate without irritating. It is important to think about skin

sensitivity, allergies, ingredients, and ease of use when selecting the best exfoliation for your

face, or body. Let’s talk about a few commonly used methods.

Exfoliating the Body

Loofah– Loofah sponges are natural and rough and made from dried gordes. They are a popular

shower accessory for those with rough skin, and have been used for centuries. These are a bit

rough and I definitely would not recommend using on the delicate skin of the face, however they

can give a lovely glow to tougher skin areas of the body. Loofahs should be replaced regularly

however as the nooks and crannies of the organic material can be a safe haven for bacterial


Pumice– An oldie but goody! My 6 year old daughter just asked me the other day why her feet

were “scratchy”, and I taught her about using the pumice stone in the shower! Pumice is formed

when water, gases, and molten rock cool together during volcanic eruptions. Remember stone

washed jeans? Pumice is the stone used to create that textured look! Pumice is most often

rubbed vigorously on coarse heels, and calloused toes to remove dry, dead skin and make feet

feel softer. Because of its porous texture, pumice can also trap dirt, and harbor bacteria so it’s

important to remember to replace regularly. Pumice is a very rugged stone, and for that I reason

I do not recommend its use anywhere else on the body other than the feet.

Salt and Sugar Scrubs- These are some of my quick and easy fav’s because you can usually whip

them up in a minute or so with ingredients from your kitchen. Salt scrubs are usually best on

really tough skin such as feet, elbows, knees, or anywhere else that may feel like sandpaper,

because salts are naturally drying and detoxifying. Furthermore since salts can typically be

purchased in different textures you can choose how rough you want your scrub to be, from

super fine, flaked, course, or extra course. Sugar scrubs are awesome on lips, or other more

sensitive skin that still needs a good scrub. To make simple scrubs in your kitchen, start with

simply the salt or sugar of your choice, then add an oil. Coconut Oil is my go to, as I like that it

melts at a higher temperature so holds the consistency better, however olive oil, or avocado are

also good. Slowly add in some honey to help with consistency (and honey is very beneficial for

your skin). And viola, scrub on, rinse off, hello softer skin! When I am making a scrub specifically

for my lips, I usually add in about 1⁄8 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of pumpkin pie

spice or apple pie spice, that way if I accidentally get some in my mouth, I get a pleasant


Exfoliating the Face

Retinols, Retinoids, or other Vitamin A derivatives- Vitamin A has been a popular ingredient used to

ward off wrinkles, dry up acne, and is often praised as the gold standard in skincare by

dermatologists and estheticians alike. Vitamin A is used to make the popular prescription drugs

Retin- A, and Accutane (both of which have many other generic versions), it is also used in

many over the counter night creams, serums, scrubs, treatment oils, and cleansers. Old

Mechanicsville Health Spas Matrix Oil is an effective retinol in a gentle non comedogenic argan

oil base, making it a great topical exfoliant for hormonal acne, and fine lines on even the most

sensitive skin. While Vitamin A is a highly effective skincare ingredient it must be avoided during

pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Glycolic Acid– Glycolic Acid is a naturally occuring acid derived from sugarcane. Glycolic is an

excellent exfoliant that is usually best for ageing skin. It can also be used for acneic skin,

depending on the cause of the acne. It can be drying, so for that reason it is best avoided on

hypersensitive skin types. Glycolic acid can be found as an active ingredient in cleansers, pads,

scrubs, serums, masks, and moisturizers. Since I am pregnant with my 3rd child, retinoids are a

no go for me, and glycolics have become my go to. I currently use Skin Script glycolic cleanser

daily, and Old Mechanicsville Health Spas glycolic moisturizing cream nightly.

Enzymes– I love, love, love me some enzymes. If I could afford it I would slather my whole body

in these fruity, gooey goodies almost everyday! Enzymes occur naturally in papayas, pineapple,

pumpkin, and other plants. I like enzymes so much because they actually digest dead skin,

while not bothering with live skin at all, so you get the WOW factor effect without a lot of

downtime. The redness caused by enzymes typically goes away within a few hours of treatment

for most people, but can last about 24 hours on more sensitive skin types. Enzymes are my

favorite treatment for sun damaged skin because with the right enzyme you can visually see a

brightening effect after the first session, and over time can decrease the hyper pigmentation on

most clients. You can have a stronger enzyme treatment performed professionally in office, but

we also sell enzymes for at home use in the form of scrubs, and treatment masks.

Scrubs– The scrubs typically sold for your face usually use much gentler “grit” than the scrubs

sold for other parts of the body. Some common particles used in scrubs for the face are jojoba

beads, oat flour, almond meal, sugar, bentonite clay, and finely ground pumice. Some people

tolerate physical scrubs very well, while others do not tolerate gritty scrubs at all. If you know

scrubs turn you bright red, maybe try a chemical exfoliant such as an acid or enzyme instead.

There are many other exfoliant options out there, I just listed my personal favorites here. Please

talk to your dermatologist, or esthetician to determine what options are best for you. Stay