This article was first published on 17 February 2022.
Don't you love it when your face looks smooth, even, and bright? It should be the same for the rest of your body. Luckily, our skin naturally exfoliates itself. But sometimes it still needs a little help in removing the built-up layers of dead skin cells and clogged pores. This is when we turn to exfoliation.
Mechanical vs. chemical exfoliation
Exfoliation and exfoliants have two types: mechanical (also called physical) and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation refers to the act of physically scrubbing away dead skin with tools like a brush or sponge that create a slight abrasive movement to lift away dead skin. Chemical exfoliation, on the other hand, requires enzymes and acids — yes, your alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) — to melt the chemical bonds of dead skin to make them easier to dissolve and wash away with water. Body exfoliators can be one or the other, or a combination of both.
How to choose depending on your skin type
Now that you know the types of exfoliation you can do, it's time to choose which one to use. According to the American Association of Dermatologists, you should choose your exfoliant depending on your skin type. Those with dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin can use a mild chemical exfoliator and a washcloth instead of mechanical exfoliation, since your skin may be too tender. If you have oily skin, you can use slightly stronger chemical and mechanical exfoliators.
If you have a deep skin tone or it takes a while for very dark marks to disappear after experiencing a breakout, bug bites, or burns, you should avoid using strong exfoliants as this can make dark spots even darker.
Now that you know the basics of choosing the right body exfoliator, these are the best options you have in Singapore.
Exfoliating can start in the shower by using an exfoliating body soap. The Mario Badescu A.H.A Botanical Body Soap (SGD17) contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) that gobble up dead skin and leave it smooth and irritation-free.
After using your regular cleanser, you can apply a body scrub like the Fenty Skin Buff Ryder Exfoliating Body Scrub (SGD50) to further cleanse your skin. It has a combination of physical (sugar, salt, and fine sand) and chemical (fruit enzymes) exfoliants to buff out any rough texture. Nourishing shea butter adds more softening for thoroughly pampered skin.
If you're looking for a two-in-one exfoliator that works both for your face and body, the Alpha-H Micro Super Scrub (SGD75) is a good choice. It contains biodegradable bamboo stem extract granules and 12% glycolic acid to dissolve dead skin and remove oil and impurities that are clogging your pores. Plus, circulation-boosting caffeine, soothing cucumber, and redness-reducing peppermint further help improve your complexion.
If you want your bodycare items to do double the work, look for formulas that exfoliate and moisturise at the same time. The Frank Body Smoothing AHA Body Lotion (SGD32) contains chemical exfoliants lactic and glycolic acids, as well as brightening vitamins C and E. Meanwhile, macadamia seed oil and mango seed butter offer hydrating moisture to prevent dryness.
The Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Glycolic Body Lotion (SGD42) is a pH-balanced body lotion formulated with 10% glycolic acid, squalane, vitamin F, and niacinamide to exfoliate your skin and strengthen its acid mantle. Meanwhile, electrolytes deliver extra hydration and defence against environmental stressors.
If you're a fan of the Dr. Dennis Gross facial peels, you may want to pick up the Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment Towel (SGD98 for eight towels) too. It contains Alpha Beta® acids, enzymes, and bakuchiol extract to smooth out blemishes, bumps, and rough patches from the neck down.
You can use a sponge to exfoliate too! This one from Daily Concepts (SGD15.05) is made with a natural exfoliant called Konjac root, which has been used in Japanese beauty treatments to exfoliate and balance the skin's pH levels. It comes in variants like charcoal and turmeric for more exfoliating and nourishing perks.
If you're looking for a lightweight exfoliating body cream, pick up the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Dream Body Cream (SGD42). It's infused with Glow Recipe's popular watermelon scent and powered by exfoliating hibiscus alpha hydroxy acids. It also has moisturising watermelon seed butter to keep skin soft, hydrated, and glowing.
Say buh-bye to skin impurities, roughness, and dullness with the Clé de Peau Beauté Body Exfoliator (SGD130). This body scrub livens up the senses with its aromatic scent and treats the skin to gentle exfoliation and pampering moisture.
If you're looking for a natural option, the Evolve Tropical Blossom Body Polish (SGD39) will pique your interest. This oil-based body polish is made of fine organic sugar particles that buff your skin in preparation for moisturising. Then, the natural Tahitian coconut monoi leaves a pampering layer of moisture and a lovely scent on your skin.
Tired of having tired, tough feet? The Neal's Yard Remedies Pumice Foot Scrub (SGD42) promises to refresh your soles with its exfoliating blend of peach seed and pumice. There are mallow and ginger mint essential oils that lend their smoothing properties too, so your feet are soft to the touch once again.
After exfoliating, don't forget to apply a body moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated and protected.
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