Do it yourself: How to make your own homemade body exfoliant

Dead skin cells can prematurely age your skin. Learn how to make an exfoliating body scrub from common kitchen ingredients, and keep your skin looking young.

You may not realize that you exfoliate part of your body on a regular basis—when you shave. Take a look at your legs and notice that where you shave regularly, your skin looks younger than the areas where you don’t shave. The scrape of the razor not only removes hair; it also removes dead skin, allowing the new young skin cells beneath to glow on the surface.

Exfoliating is crucial to helping your skin stay youthful-looking and vibrant. Accumulation of dead skin cells results in an ashy, aged appearance, and wrinkles look deeper when the new cells are covered with the old.

It’s enough to make you run out and buy a $50 body scrub, but don’t. Keep your wallet safe in your purse and run, instead, to the kitchen.

Making your own exfoliating body scrub has several benefits. First, you’ll save loads of money. Second, you can concoct body scrubs based on your skin’s changing needs (when you’re skin is extra-dry, you’ll need a scrub with more oil; sometimes you’ll need a harsher exfoliant, sometimes and gentler one). Third, you’ll know exactly what you’re putting on your skin. The health and beauty industry is not tightly regulated, and many products are filled with filler or, worse, questionable ingredients. But I’d say, anything you’d put IN your body is definitely safe on your skin.

A homemade exfoliating body scrub is made of just three ingredients—and one of the ingredients is optional. You need an exfoliator, carrier oil, and an essential oil.

1. Exfoliator. This is the workhorse ingredient, the one that sloughs off that dead skin. Look through your kitchen for anything with a grainy texture. Some popular exfoliators include sea salt, corn meal, rice flour, coarsely ground oats, wheat bran, and ground almonds.

2. Carrier Oil. This is the ingredient that holds it all together and gives the scrub its pasty texture. Any kind of oil will do the trick, but learning about the benefits of different oils can personalize your body scrub.

a. Olive Oil: Olive oil is a good backup because it’s always on hand (if you cook like I do). Women in some parts of the world use olive oil as a facial moisturizer, but if your skin breaks out often, this may not be a good choice for you.

b. Evening Primrose Oil. This inexpensive oil is available at health food stores and is used to treat eczema, dandruff, and dry, scaly skin. If you have any of these problems, pick up a bottle and use it not just as scrub carrier oil but also as a topical moisturizer when your skin flares up. As an added bonus, it smells lovely.

c. Sweet Almond Oil. Also available from health food stores, this oil is a wonderful carrier oil and moisturizer. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6, and I like to use it on my face as well as in body scrubs. If you’re going to keep a bottle for over a year, you should keep it refrigerated.

d. Sesame Seed Oil. This is good in salads, but it also makes a great carrier oil. It’s great for eczema, psoriasis, rheumatism, arthritis, and softening all skin types, a good all-around carrier oil.

e. Coconut Oil. This is a very light oil that is often used for massages because it is so easily absorbed into the skin. It’s virtually odorless, so it won’t interfere at all with a heavy-scented essential oil.

f. Grapeseed Oil. If you are prone to acne or have oily skin, this is a good oil for you. It helps to smooth the skin. Keep it refrigerated.

3. Essential Oil. Essential Oils are optional because they don’t play an active role in exfoliating the skin. Really, they’re just for fun. Aromatherapy may or may not have any healthful benefits, but if it helps you relax, why not give it a try? Below is a list of essential oils with their aromatherapy reputations:

a. Eucalyptus: sinus and headache relief

b. Lavender: relaxation; aid for depression

c. Palma Rosa: stimulates skin regeneration

d. Peppermint: stimulates thinking and aids digestion and fatigue

e. Rosemary: helps concentration, clarity of mind, sore muscles, and arthritic pain

f. Sweet Orange: uplifting and positive

So head for the kitchen: watch out dead skin cells! Armed with this information, you can create all kinds of interesting body scrubs and have youthful, glowing skin.

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