Exfoliation: Knowing When Enough is Enough

Exfoliation rejuvenates those rock-hard heels, those elephant-skin elbows, those dry and scaly places, removing dead cells and opening pores so they can receive air, moisture, and nourishment. But how often, and how intensely should you exfoliate? Well, that depends on several factors, including skin type, age, and personal preference. Here’s a general overview of how to know how scrubby to go…

The Right Tool for the Job

One key element of developing a successful and satisfying exfoliation ritual, is to select the perfect scrubber. At Baudelaire, we’ve curated and crafted a range of top quality accessories, including wash cloths, sponges, gloves, mitts, and brushes.

From years of testing each tool, we’ve come up with an index to help people choose the right fit for their skin. For instance, our Sisal Wash Cloth rates at about a 2, making it an extremely soft accessory, a likely fit for facial use or for someone with a sensitive epidermis.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find the Sisal & Horsehair Bath Glove, which rates at about an 8, giving it more serious exfoliating power. In the middle are the Cedar Bath Brushes, which come in at about a 4—a great choice for regular use and excellent for the home spa.

Which one sounds like you? You may have to try a few to zero in on your perfect match. But once you’ve found it, don’t forget that frequency of use also plays an important role.

How Often is Too Often?

This truly depends on your own skin. Is it dry, oily, sensitive, rough? Our skin is as unique as ourselves, so you have to go by what works for you. A good approach is to start small and work your way up. If you are just introducing exfoliation into your routine, try adding it once or twice a week.

If your skin seems to respond well, you might try incorporating an additional dry brushing session. However, if your skin tends to be sensitive and reacts negatively, it may be time for a timeout.

According to Jamie Starkey, Lead Acupuncturist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, you shouldn’t “ever brush over areas of infection, redness or general irritation.” And if your skin becomes irritated or inflamed as a result of exfoliation, you should stop until it is fully healed and then reintroduce the practice using a gentler alternative.

Once you have a pattern down, don’t get too comfortable because you may need to revisit it. Remember that your skin changes over time. A shift in season can easily bring on unexpected dryness, leaving your skin more vulnerable. Or a change in hormones (this happens as you age) might upset your usual routine, affecting the way your skin reacts to products or rituals that may have previously worked well.

What’s the golden rule? Listen to your skin…ALWAYS! Keep this in the back of your mind as a mantra and adjust accordingly. And have fun! Exploring new ways to enhance your well-being is an opportunity to find out what makes you (and your skin) feel good.