Summer in Australia means only one thing, taking it all off. Whether it be your hair, clothes or skin, as the temperature soars the desire to break free from our winter coat grows. But when it comes to the skin, just how much scrubbing is enough? Can exfoliating be harmful and is it addictive? Let’s see…..

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Our skin renews its self every 24-32 days or so. As this is a gradual process we don’t often notice until it comes to emptying the vaccume cleaner bag -most of that grey stuff is you. Nice!
When summer arrives we notice everything. The skin on our legs seems a bit dryer and more scaly than

usual, our arms are bumpy and our faces are not all glowing and smooth like the adverts tell us they should be. So why would that be? Well, during the winter we tend to cover up more and so don’t pay so much attention to our extremities.While we probably indulge in a few more hot baths in winter than summer we shave less meaning that the legs do reach their own happy balance, give or take. Come summer and we go into overdrive with the exfoliating, shaving, moisturizing and fake tan routine. We also expose the skin to the sun, even more bathing (this time in the pool and the sea) and the drying effects of air conditioning coupled with alternate humidity and scorching dry winds. This serves as a rude wake up call for your poor old skin.


To scrub or not to scrub?

Scrubbing away scaly, dry skin feels good and if you are a fake tan user it can be the step that makes all
of the difference to the final look. A gentle scrub away at flaky skin with a loofa or a flanel is
all that is required, anything more and you can put skin that is already stressed into overdrive. Too harsh a scrub puts your skin into “save our soul” mode as it tries to repair the damage done by exposing premature cellsto the outside environment. Too much scrubbing can also spread infection, especially if you suffer insect bites,acne or sunburn. Moderation is really the key.

Is it addictive?
Oh yes. There is no doubt that seeing skin being slothed off and seeing the new soft skin revealed makes you feel clean, refreshed and renewed. It looks good (for a while) and feels silky. That initial high felt when you take off the layers of winter skin is hard to replace and the more often you scrub, the less likely you are to get such a dramatic result. If you are the type that can’t wait to get scrubbing every day, you may end up doing yourself more harm than good!

So how much is enough?
Everyone is different and there are some genetic conditions where the skin does need to be exfolliated by hand very often. However, for the average person one good scrub a month should suffice with an envigorating towel dry or flanel wash in between.

Oh, but a recent study from the University of Michigan found that with microdermabrasion, the rougher the better so where does that leave us all?

Well, I would still err on the side of caution. Microdermabrasion blasts the skin with a diamond studded wand of varying particle size. The bigger the particles, the more harsh the sandblasting. This type of exfolliation would only yield great results if your skin was in tip top condition underneath and could rebound from what is effectively an all over grazing.  Those with severe acne or sun damage and those who have just gotten a little older would be wise to tread more carefully.

Your skin is not the enemy. Look after it and it will look after you.