How To Exfoliate

Don't skip this essential foundation step to every leg-care routine!

By Kate Shapland

Did you know that the skin on your body is thicker than the skin on your face? In fact, it’s at its thickest on your palms and soles of your feet at 1.5mm. It’s much thinner on your shins and thickens again over your thighs and buttocks. When it comes to exfoliating your skin, this tells you where and how to best exfoliate.

Why is it important to exfoliate?

Your skin is your body’s largest organ and it plays an important role as the main site of interaction with the surrounding world, serving as a protective barrier to toxins, bacteria and ultraviolet (UV) rays; it regulates body temperature too, gives sensory perception and controls fluid loss. Interestingly, as well as having its own inbuilt sun filter, the skin also exfoliates itself naturally. We shed between 0.03 and 0.09g of skin every hour! That might not sound much, but over a lifetime it adds up to about 35kg, roughly half your body weight. 

Despite this shedding, it’s still important to exfoliate your skin, in order to keep the surface smooth, support natural functions, unclog blocked pores and promote your circulation and lymph, which helps to detoxify your body from within. All of this is especially true for drier and oilier skin types, as exfoliation removes the dry, dead cells that congest pores and flake off. So exfoliating serves several purposes – all of them good!   

When is the best time to exfoliate?

The best time to exfoliate all skins is before a shower or bath in the morning or evening, and always before applying moisturiser. Exfoliating skin when it’s dry is much more effective than when your body is wet in the shower, with the best exfoliators being the really crunchy ones, rich in abrasive grains or salts.  

What’s the best way to exfoliate my legs?

To exfoliate your legs, and for all skin types, start from your ankles and work the exfoliator up, massaging in small circular movements towards your knees, up over your thighs, hips and buttocks. Work the exfoliator in and around your heels where the skin is thicker and tends to get dry. Around the ankles and shins, where the skin is thinner and tends to be drier, try to exfoliate with a gentler touch. Once you get to your thighs, start to add some pressure, as the skin here will be thicker than others. Use the same small circular movements.

When you’ve finished using your exfoliating body scrub, step into the shower or bath to rinse the grains off thoroughly. Then give your skin an extra toning boost, and enhance the youthful pinkness, spray it with a blast of warm and cool water using the shower head. After your wash, towel dry and apply plenty of moisturiser to freshly buffed skin. You’ll find it sinks in more quickly and your skin will feel soft and smooth.