How to exfoliate naturally… without using chemicals

We are all told to exfoliate and especially before a spray tan but why… and how?

Firstly, what is exfoliation?

Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin’s outermost surface, and has been used for many years to help maintain skin.

Why exfoliate?

Exfoliation removes the outer layer of dead skin to reveal the newer, younger skin underneath. The average human generates a new layer of skin every two to four weeks so exfoliating the outer layer unclogs pores, keeps skin clean, and helps reduce breakouts.

Exfoliating is especially important before getting a spray tan because it removes the dead skin and leaves an excellent base for the solution. Exfoliating before a spray tan will ensure that your tan ill last longer and fade evenly.  Basically, you are trying to prevent your skin from shedding so if you exfoliate before a spray tan you are effectivily

Exfoliation is also important for both men and women before shaving and other hair removal as it exposes the hair follicles. This allows a better shave and is excellent in helping to remove ingrown hairs that may’ve occurred due to previous hair removal.

Exfoliating can be done either wet, in the shower or dry body brushing…. No, I don’t mean brushing yourself with your ordinary hairbrush but by using a brush that is specifically designed for use on the body. Dry body brushing has many benefits as well as exfoliating the skin. It can improve lymphatic drainage and blood circulation, release toxins and reduce ingrown hairs.

What do we use to exfoliate?

There are a few tools you can use to help you exfoliate – gloves, loofah, body brush preferably made from natural materials.

Exfoliating gloves are my favourite, they look exactly like a pair of gloves but are made from a slightly rough material and they are quick and easy to use while in the shower.

If you want to exfoliate without getting wet first then you should try body brushing before showering.

So, how do we do it?

In the shower – wet

1. Get into the shower and wet thoroughly, pour body wash (remember paraben free) onto your gloves or loofah and massage your skin in circular motions.

2. Using gentle pressure start at your feet and work your way upwards. Avoid exfoliating the sensitive area under your eyes.

Before a shower -dry

When brushing the body start at the ankles and work towards the major lymph nodes. These are located near the neck, the armpits and in the inner thighs. When body brushing, always brush towards these areas finishing towards the heart.

1. Starting on your left side with the soles of your feet use long light strokes working your way up your leg then repeat on your right leg.

2. Then, using circular motions brush your bum from the top of your bum sweeping down then up the side of your hip.

3. Your back is next, work from the bottom to the top. Using a brush with a long handle makes this a bit easier. Otherwise ask a loved one to do it for you.

4. Complete tummy and décolletage (but avoid your boobs) in circular movements working clockwise from the inside out.

5. Finish with your arms working from your hands towards your shoulders. End with a shower.

A great tip – finish your shower with a burst of the coldest water you can handle, this will close pores and leave you feeling refreshed and super clean.

While still damp moisturize your whole body. Of course if you are having a spray tan you would leave this step out.

Some tips to remember:

• When body brushing a slight reddening of the skin (erythema) is normal, it is the blood circulation responding to the skin brushing.

• Because exfoliation removes the top layer of your skin, it makes you more vulnerable to sunburn and sun damage. Wear a sunscreen every time you go outside.

• If pregnant seek doctors advise first before body brushing.

• If you have had a spray tan avoid exfoliating or body brushing for the first few days to prolong the life of your tan.

• Look after your exfoliating tools, rinse thoroughly after use and disinfect body brushes once a week with a natural disinfecting spray.

Check your Boobs!

Inspirational quoteI thought I would write my first ‘real’ blog post on boobs, we all have them and they need to be looked after!

Boobs… a subject very close to my heart, not just because all boobs are fabulous but because paying close attention to them at least once a month is so very important… why? 2 words – Breast Cancer.

I was diagnosed last year (2011) with breast cancer and after 7 months of aggressive treatment – surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy I am now in remission… yay!!!

But this could’ve been a different story if I was not aware of my body and didn’t religiously do the boob check. I caught it early because of doing this every month. I had no history of breast cancer in my family and as you can imagine it came as quite a shock. So please, if you don’t already do a regular boob check please start… could save your own life like I did.

If you have no idea where to start check out the following tutorial or click on this site for more information.

Take control of your health – you can help protect yourself against Breast cancer. Early detection has been proven to save lives!

How To Do a Breast Self Exam (BSE)

If you are pre-menopausal:

  • Set a regular time to examine your breasts a few days after your period ends, when hormone levels are relatively stable and breasts are less tender.

If you are already menopausal (have not had a period for a year or more):

  • Pick a particular day of the month to do the exam, and then repeat your BSE on that day each month.

You should look out for the following changes:

  • A lump or lumpiness or even a change in shape or appearance of your breast such a dimpling, redness and appearance of veins
  • An area that feels different to the rest of your breast or any pain in your breast
  • Any change in the shape or appearance of your nipple, such as your nipple being pulled in or development of a rash
  • A discharge from your nipple, particularly if it is bloody

How to check your Boobs – step by step

1. In the privacy of your bathroom, strip to the waist and stand in front of a mirror. You will need to see both breasts at the same time. Stand with your hands on your hips and check the appearance of your breasts. Look at size, shape, and contour. Note changes, if any, in the skin color or texture. Look at the nipples to see how healthy they look.

2. Still standing in front of the mirror, raise your arms over your head and see if your breasts move in the same way, and note any differences. Look at size, shape, and drape, checking for symmetry. Pay attention to your nipples and areolas, to see if you have any dimples, bumps, or retraction (indentation). Look up toward your armpits and note if there is any swelling where your lymph nodes are (lower armpit area).

3. Raise your left arm overhead, and use your right-hand fingers to apply gentle pressure to the left breast. Stroke from the top to the bottom of the breast, moving across from the inside of the breast all the way into your armpit area. You can also use a circular motion, being sure to cover the entire breast area. Take note of any changes in texture, color, or size. Switch sides and repeat. This is best done in the shower, as wet skin will have the least resistance to the friction of your fingers.

4. Still facing the mirror, lower both arms. With the index and middle fingers of your right hand, gently squeeze the left nipple and pull forward. Does the nipple spring back into place? Does it pull back into the breast? Note whether or not any fluid leaks out. Reverse your hands and check the right nipple in the same way.

5. Place a pillow on the bed so that you can lie with both your head and shoulders on the pillow. Lie down and put your left hand behind your head. Use your right hand to stroke the breast and underarm, as you did in step 3. Take note of any changes in texture, color, or size. Switch sides and repeat.