If you’re like us, you have a gunky body scrub sitting in the shower that hasn’t been uncapped in a long time. (We won’t ask how long if you don’t!) Between cleansing, conditioning and shaving, reaching for that jar can feel like an unnecessary indulgence when you’re just trying to get in and out and done.
But you should reconsider if you want a young-looking body: Buffing goes beyond just indulgent exfoliation—it can also help put the brakes on aging. In fact, those body scrubs may keep your body matching your face as you age. And as we know from those unforgiving celebrity shots that compare mottled hands and chests to facial complexions, there’s no bigger age giveaway than a wrinkly body that doesn’t match a glowing face.
When you exfoliate your body, you stimulate your skin’s innate healing power. Buffing boosts cell renewal and promotes collagen and elastic production in similar fashion to exfoliation of your face, giving it a more youthful appearance.
While some derms advise patients do a full body scrub with every shower, we know that’s not realistic for everyone. Fortunately, a weekly habit could reap visible benefits too, since it takes a week or so for dead skin to build up enough to give a dull appearance. Whether you get down weekly or more, there’s a most effective way to do it:
Apply exfoliator to dry skin with dry hands. Then wet your hands, and starting from feet and working your way up one body part at a time, massage the scrub in with circular motions. Spend about a minute on each leg and each arm to fully slough off dead cells, dirt and excess oil. Avoid washcloths and bathing mitts, because bacteria can grow on them pretty quickly.
Pay special attention to aging zones. Rough areas that are susceptible to premature aging include the hands, elbows, backs of thighs, knees, heels and toes. And wherever there is roughness, scaling, sun damage or dimples, take a moment to give it extra polishing care.
Rinse, cleanse, pat dry and nourish. When you’re done cleansing and drying, quickly applying moisturizer or body oil will help delay aging by improving texture and tone. Again, add extra hydration to wrinkle zones like the elbows, heels and knees.