Exfoliation…It’s For More Than Just Your Face.

I don’t know about you….but regular exfoliation is one of the most-neglected item in my often-neglected skin regime! I mean I’m not very good about even WASHING my face as often as I should….let alone taking the time to give it a good scrub! But according to health and beauty experts…proper exfoliation is necessary (mandatory even!) to achieve and maintain healthy, glowing skin!

The reason it’s so important is because layers of dead cells dull the surface of your skin. When we exfoliate, the dead cells are sloughed off and new cells are produced to replace them. News cells = healthy glow.

But it’s not just our FACES that need exfoliating…there are places all over our epidermis that can benefit from a good scrubbing!



Regular exfoliation keeps the lips soft, supple and less flaky, which means your lipstick will go on much smoother. But keep in mind, lips are very sensitive and your regular face scrub might be too rough.

You can use a soft toothbrush or washcloth or you can try a homemade lip exfoliant out of aspirin and fine sugar!  Crush four aspirin and mix with a teaspoon of sugar, a few drops of jojoba oil (or sweet almond oil) and 1/4 teaspoon of glycerin. The glycerin helps the powdered aspirin and sugar to “stick” to your lips while you scrub them.





It makes sense that if you are exfoliating the skin on your face regularly, you would want to extend it to your neck as well so that the tone of your face and neck match. Since neck skin is also fairly sensitive I would stick with your FACIAL scrub rather than a BODY scrub.

Here’s a trick from 50thavenuesalon.com:  get a cute salt or pepper shaker and fill it with sugar. (I use regular granulated sugar, but I’ve heard good things about organic raw sugar too). Put the container of sugar on your bathroom counter or in your shower, wherever you normally wash your face, and simply sprinkle some into the palm of your hand along with whatever you wash your face with.





Based on the number of BODY SCRUBS I see pinned on Pinterest, I’d say a LOT of you are using them fairly regularly. This is a good thing.  If you use sunscreen or other types of lotions regularly, then exfoliation is important so that your pores don’t become clogged by the ingredients. While there are some good commercial body scrubs out there….I think the homemade scrubs are by far the best! (Not to mention the most economical!)





Even if you regularly SHAVE your armpits, they can end up looking dark due to the accumulated residue from perspiration and deodorant or anti-perspirant. Regular exfoliation is necessary to rid the residue and keep the area clean, and may help remove ingrown hair. Once again, since this part of your body is more delicate, use a FACIAL scrub or a loofah instead of your body scrub.




Elbows & Knees

When exfoliating your body, don’t forget to pay special attention to your elbows and knees. Your regular body wash or soap alone just won’t cut it on these more stubborn areas.




Feet & Heels

A much-neglected area. If you get regular pedicures, then you’re probably already getting the exfoliating treatment on your feet. But for those of us who don’t, remember to extend your body scrub to your feet and heels as well. A pumice stone works well on rough heels, but I think a good scrub is SO much nicer!

You might want to try this DIY Hot Salt Scrub recipe from Viva Woman, or you can purchase the original Bliss Hot Salt Scrub online. So nice!!!





Hands in general don’t need much exfoliation because we are always washing them. However, dead skin does accumulate around the cuticles. Since I’ve never been one to clip my own cuticles (I would probably sever an artery if I tried!) I prefer to gently push them back and then use my regular body scrub to get rid of any dead skin buildup. Toes cuticles get the same treatment with foot scrub.


Keep in mind that while exfoliation is important, you don’t need to exfoliate every day.  After all, the purpose is to slough off dead skin cells and if you have already scrubbed them off there is no point in scrubbing further. Too much exfoliation will obviously damage the healthy cells, so keep it to a routine of about once a week.



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  1. says

    Great information! I don’t exfoliate very often but I have started a new dry-brushing regimen. In a nutshell, you brush your entire body with a medium-bristled brush always brushing toward the heart (following the flow of the lymph). It’s said to help the same way that exfoliation does with added benefits of stimulating the lymphatic system, releasing toxins, and helping with circulation.
    I think I will add your suggestion for the sugar shaker to my shower routine.

  2. says

    I stopped buying exfoliating products (namely, face wash) a few years ago. Instead I now use a regular washcloth. I use it on my face, arms and legs when I think of it (usually every couple of weeks). I use a pumice stone on my feet almost every day. I also put lotion on my feet after every shower. No icky, crusty heels for me! My hands are another story. They were – until very recently – a hot mess from washing dishes without gloves. It was pure laziness on my part in that I just didn’t feel like taking that extra step to put on a pair of gloves. I finally got tired of looking at my ragged cuticles and decided to do something about it. I remembered that my sister’s nurse (when she was injured at work) mentioned that she uses grapeseed oil on her fingers. I bought a bottle at Walmart for $3.99 (I found it near the cooking oils) and started rubbing it on my nails and cuticles a few times a day. I also rubbed the oil onto my hands. It’s pretty oily but I was desperate. It helped but not as much as I would have liked. A week ago I bit the bullet, pulled out the rubber gloves and started wearing them every time I washed the dishes. I also bought a package of orange sticks to gently (I stress the word gently) push back my cuticles after my shower. The orange stick should only be used after your skin has softened in the water. I’m not kidding – within days of wearing gloves while doing dishes my cuticles have healed. My hands look 99% normal again. (in another day or two I expect them to look fabulous!) One thing to mention is according to everything I’ve read in my quest to have nice hands, is that you should never clip your cuticles. I haven’t touched mine other than to push them back every few days with the orange stick. All the ragged-ness healed itself just by doing the few things I’ve mentioned.

      • says

        Several years ago after I lost a lot of weight, I rewarded myself with a manicure. My neighbor had a little salon in her basement so to help out her business I asked her to do it. She trimmed my cuticles (I didn’t know any better). Well, the manicure looked great for a day or two. After a few days those trimmed cuticles turned into a ragged mess of cracked skin and hangnails. They looked worse than they did before she touched them. I never said anything – I didn’t want to ruin a good neighbor relationship. But I never asked her to do my nails again.

        • MsKat says

          When I was in cosmetology school, they taught us how to trim cuticles, then told us not to do it. It was a part of our licensing test, but studies had proven by then that it was largely unnecessary, as it was another opening to invite infection, among other things. Always assess any hangnails before a manicure, then only allow the hangnails to be trimmed. Pushing them gently and conditioning them is otherwise all that is needed.

      • Skye says

        I recently got acrylics, and the lady who did my nails cut my pinkie cuticle. She put green stuff on it that burned slightly and it left two small brown wounds on my cuticle. It hasn’t healed since, and it’s almost been two weeks! To lessen the damage of your cuticles before the next time you get your nails done, put lotion on your cuticles to soften them, and it will hopefully reduce the redness and you’ll have a pretty manicure. I wish you the best of luck.

  3. Janet says

    I use an exfoliating wash cloth every day on my entire body (one for my face/one for my bod), pumice on my heels. No special scrubs or soaps. I am now going to use gloves when doing dishes thanks to Judy’s comment!
    : ) My cuticles are trashed and now I know it’s from not wearing gloves when I do dishes. Love the comments and website!

    • says

      Janet, glad I could help! Expect it to take a week or two to see results. I have one finger in particular that took the most abuse from dish washing (middle finger, right hand from using a scrubby sponge). That finger still looks a tiny bit ragged but the average person looking at my hands wouldn’t notice it. It looks 100 times better than it did two weeks ago before I started the mission to repair my hands.

  4. Andrea says

    I disagree with your comment that we don’t need to exfoliate our hands. I use a fancy exfoliant with oil. It was a gift but i don’t want to use it in the shower cause oil+ shower = fall in my house. So I keep it by my bathroom sink and use on my hands once a week. Makes them much softer. (and hands age first on the body so they need lots of help!

      • Melissa says

        I can’t remember which blog – either this one or camp wander I found a recipe that uses sugar and dawn dish detergent with oil of olay. I had previously purchased a little foot scrubby/sponge at ulta so I put the scrub in a plastic jar and leave it in my shower…my feet look the best they have….EVER!!! I love this recipe :)

  5. Sue says

    I use sugar mixed with olive oil for my hands. I work with silk and if you have rough skin, they will stick to your hands. I mix it in a jar, more sugar than oil. I read somewhere that sugar was better because if you have any little cuts, salt will sting. You can use it in the shower but have to be careful because the oil can make the bottom of the tub slippery. I use baking soda on my face and body in the shower and then rinse it off and it leaves you skin really soft. I just keep one of those shakers for the baking soda in there. Every so often, I also use it on my hair to remove excess product, then rinse it out and shampoo as normal. I used to cook rosemary leaves into a strong tea and mix with egg whites and use as a face mask, but haven’t done it in awhile. I just remembered it as I was writing this. It was in a book by Helen Gurley Brown, who was famous in the 70′s for cheap remedies for the working woman.

  6. Jaime says

    Holy cow I am learning so much stuff since i discovered your blog!!! I never knew about all the homemade stuff you can make… only problem is I can’t get away from my computer long enough to try any of these lol. I just keep reading and reading and reading…. I am hooked! I can’t wait to make my own facial products, detergent and I actually can’t wait to “iron” my carpet to get out stains! I may actually start to like cleaning… maybe that’s taking it to far! Thanks for all the tips everyone!!!

  7. says

    A while back my partner got a fungal foot infection that spread because of using the same loofah over and over again. I bought a bunch of washcloths and never looked back! We just wash our faces first with a clean washcloth (new one every shower adds less than a half load of laundry per week for the two of us), then scrub from the top down. Butt and feet last. That helped keep it from spreading to the rest of the body, and soaking feet in vinegar killed the infection. Win!

    But the washcloth is really all the exfoliation I need most of the time, and that includes the fact that my hormones are out of whack and recently my 28 year old lady face has become a 14 year old boy face. Though I’ve always had cystic acne from skin sloughing off in large clumps instead of a few cells at a time, now we’re adding skin that gets so greasy that my forehead will start DRIPPING halfway through the day! So those clumps get stuck. I have to exfoliate daily! I had to get used to washing my face daily, and then still had to buy a face wash because nothing I made at home was working. Ah, well. My washcloth seems to be good enough to do the job but soft enough to not be irritating as long as I don’t scrub too much. And I’m getting results from using the face wash; I’m not a fan of chemicals, but I just needed something to work!!

    • says

      Your face sounds like mine. I too resorted to using a soft-ish washcloth and just scrubed my face every morning and night. It improved it, but didn’t totally resolve it. Until…I quit using soap on my face. Since switching to warm water on a washcloth ONLY (and giving it time to clear up), I only have MAYBE 1 zit a week and it’s tiny, especially compared to the nightmare ones I had before. I can even wear makeup as long as I make sure to apply it to a clean face with clean hands and not touch my face all day then give it a good scrub (no soap) at night. Who knew? No idea why it works for me (I do NOT have sensitive skin, at all!) or if it would work for anyone else, just thought I’d share. Anybody know a miracle for reversing acne-scarring??? :)

    • Sarah says

      Heather, I went through something similar but in the opposite direction. My face went from combination to dry as the desert around the time I turned 30. I switched to an organic/natural company that is based out of Utah, Bubble & Bee. I tried straight warm water and a wash cloth but it didnt work for me. )= I started with the sample pack, which was awesome and since then have intermittently used all three of their face washes (one is for normal, one for acne, and one for mature). The one the works the best for me is the honey wash for mature skin, b/c I am old (34 next week!!)! I found for me it works best if I rub it in with very little water and a damp face then use a wet wash cloth to gently scrub my face in little circles. When I used it without the wash cloth I didnt like how my face felt. I havent had a pimple in a while and my black heads on my nose have cleared up, which is a small miracle. I dont love the smell though, but it might just be me b/c other folks I know that use it think it’s awesome. Smell is such a personal thing. But for me as long as it works I dont mind the smell (= I hope you find something natrual that you like soon!!! I know all to well how hard that is. I have tried more deodorants then one person ever should, including homemade and I am still a stinky stinky lady!!

  8. Shana says

    I use a facial exfoliator twice a week, and a mask to clean my pores out once a week. Lol. And I use my face wash, without fail, twice a day. I usually get a pedicure, but if I don’t, I bust out the pumice stone and paraffin and give myself a pedicure. I am sssssoooo bad about cutting my cuticles, and I NEVER wear gloves to houseclean. I don’t even think I own a pair. I use an exfoliating washcloth or loofah every day but it doesn’t seem to help my neck because I have a huge breakout on my neck and shoulders right now. I need one of those loofahs on a long stick lol.

    I love skincare!! I need to try some of the homemade recipes!


  9. says

    It’s also great for preventing and control most forms of acne, as zits and blackheads are a result of our skin’s oils plus dead cells and other gunk getting trapped within a pore. That being said I do all forms of exfoliating, face scrubs, chemical peels, etc. and I’m almost thirty years old and I still look twenty still :).

  10. Bell says

    I too use baking soda for face and body. I keep it next to the shower in an old creamer dispenser. I use it 1-2 times per week. I like to use a baby wash cloth on my face, right texture and right size.

  11. says

    A few things:
    1) Jillee – I love, love, love your ideas. I do have to modify a lot of your recipes because I don’t use products that are tested on animals, but you are a great jumping point for me.
    2) When doing any type of exfoliation, please be extra gentle on your face and neck area. It is actually BEST to wash those areas with a BABY wash cloth because it is much more gentle on your skin.
    3) Be mindful of what you are using on your skin, regardless if you’re exfoliating or not. Any petroleum based products are bad, bad, bad as they clog your pores and leave a “saran wrap” effect on your skin.

      • Amy says

        A little too curious for me that the exact body parts are covered in the exact same order and with points made in the exact same order (one example – for lips, vivawoman said “I remember when I first discussed this, some readers asked why and I explained that regular exfoliation keeps the lips smooth, supple and less flaky. You will find your lipstick applies better too. Your regular face scrub might be too rough for the lips and so it is advisable to use something with fine beads.” and Jillee said “Regular exfoliation keeps the lips soft, supple and less flaky, which means your lipstick will go on much smoother. But keep in mind, lips are very sensitive and your regular face scrub might be too rough.” so we changed smooth to soft, and added which means in place of you will find. The next sentence went through some more intense wordsmithing, but it is just too much of a coincidence that every point addressed is in the exact same order with the exact same suggestions. I like the ideas on this blog, but this post seems to have been someone else’s idea and I wonder how many others are the same.

  12. Christine says

    I found you a little more than a month ago and wonder how I ever got along with out you. I use the suger scrub from your post everytime I bathe, everywhere but my face. My skin has not been this soft since I was a baby. I bumps on the back of my thighs that never went away, well they are almost gone now only 2-3 left on each leg. My legs have never felt this soft, my kids are always rubbing my legs when we snuggle. I did modify it by adding glycerin in place of the lemon and afew drops of my favorite essential oil(lavender and rose). I now make my own laundry supplies, as well as passing it along to friends and family who now also make their own. Thank you so much, for being willing to ty out different methods and then letting us know how things worked out. I also notice you give credit to those whom you use as recources.

  13. erkikle says

    I shower every other day, and personally, I exfoliate every time I shower. In my opinion, they key is to be gentle but to do it often. New skin cells die every day. My skin is so much healthy, clearer, brighter, and smoother when I exfoliate every other day, but I never overdo it. If your skin feels sore, then you’re being too rough or doing it too much.

    Also, I don’t know about everyone else, but I have to do some serious exfoliation on my lips or they get really chapped. Maybe my lips are non-sensitive. All I know is that they were chapped my entire childhood and if I don’t scrub them really good then they get chapped again. My skin is sensitive, but my lips definitely aren’t.

    I think these tips are great, but everyone is different.

    Also, it’s really important to note that the aspirin scrub will make your skin VERY sensitive to the sun for about 24 hours, so a great sunscreen is a MUST. I’ve heard it’s great for your face and neck too, though.


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