The key ingredient in most exfoliators used to be…microbeads. That’s right, tiny, round bits of plastic. You know where this is going. The bits got washed down the drain and, over time, contaminated the water supply and damaged marine ecosystems.
Plastic also does more harm than good on the skin. It’s harsh and, if accidentally ingested, can lead to serious health consequences.
Yeah, we’re pretty relieved that microbeads have been banned in both the US and Canada. Now, many people are turning toward natural solutions that exfoliate without doing harm to the skin or the planet.
Look out for these ingredients when you’re searching for skincare products that provide gentle and effective exfoliation.
Put down the Quaker instant oats, we’re talking about a different type of oatmeal. Colloidal oat is a finely ground powder that contains several skin-supporting properties:
Beta-glucan, to support water absorption
Phenols, a type of antioxidant
Saponins, which act as a cleanser
It’s no wonder that colloidal oat is proven to improve skin dryness, scaling, and reduce itchiness. As an exfoliator, it provides gentle friction against the skin’s surface, to remove dead cells, while also soothing and locking in moisture.
To create an oat face mask, use a home blender to grind whole oats down to a powder. Blend two teaspoons with water, then apply to the skin and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and moisturize.
Or, you can buy a skincare product that contains colloidal oat along with other complementary ingredients.
Also known as gram flour, chickpea flour has been used as a natural exfoliator in South Asia for thousands of years.
What’s the secret behind its staying power? A few powerful ingredients.
The flour is packed with magnesium, a mineral that is essential to cell turnover and repair: it keeps the skin smooth. Chickpea flour is also a great source of zinc, another essential mineral that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It prevents acne and acne scarring. It might also prevent hyperpigmentation by regulating melanocyte-activating factors.
To make the perfect gram-powered exfoliator at home, blend dried chickpeas to a fine powder. Then, mix with lemon juice and honey and apply to the face. Let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse off.
It’s sweet in more than one way! Like gram flour, cane sugar has been popular as a holistic skincare ingredient in South Asia for centuries. It’s a rich source of natural AHAs, like glycolic acid— which breaks the bonds between old skin cells on the surface, encouraging cell turnover. As a result, the new layer of skin appears smoother and more even. For those prone to acne, this is particularly beneficial as it does away with the gunk that clogs up the pores. Because glycolic acid molecules are so small, they go deep into the skin for a thorough clean.
The acid can also stimulate collagen production, for a thicker, firmer, and more resilient complexion.
To create a simple cane sugar scrub, mix a bit with coconut oil and citrus zest. Massage into the skin for around 20 seconds, then rinse and moisturize.
We love a home spa day. But, truth be told, they don’t happen nearly as often as we want them to. Life gets busy and we tend to save the mixing and measuring for dinner time. That’s why we prioritized ease and simplicity when formulating Red Erase Facial Scrub (and all the rest of our skincare products).
Oh, and did we mention it contains all the super-exfoliators mentioned above?