Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the skin's topmost/outermost layer. The goal is to encourage the skin's natural cell turnover process and avoiding unhealthy buildup of dead cells.
There are THREE different types of exfoliation: mechanical, chemical and enzymatic.
1. Mechanical/Physical Exfoliation:
Pretty self-explanatory. You're either using a tool with an abrasive surface (pumice stone, loofah, bristle brush, etc.) or you're applying a scrub that has granules of some sort in it (sugar, salt, coffee grounds, etc.). Depending on what part of your body you're exfoliating, you may use different tools or scrubs with different sized granules in it (i.e. you'd use a pumice stone on your heels but not on your face!). I definitely remember using products with apricot shell pieces in them when I was a teen, not knowing that they are WAY too abrasive and cause microtears in the skin leading to inflammation.
2. Chemical Exfoliation:
Think peels: the most common types are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). These acids essentially break down the protein bonds that hold the dead skin cells together which in turn encourages a healthy skin turnover.
- AHAs are the lightest of the chemical peels and they can be found in sugar (gycolic acid) and milk (lactic acid).
- BHA is also known as salicylic acid and is mainly used to fight acne.
3. Enzymatic Exfoliation:
The most gentle type; a slower version of chemical exfoliation. Naturally occurring enzymes in things like fruits and raw honey slowly breakdown the keratin in dead skin cells and they break apart and are sloughed off.
When I was dreaming up my scrub, I knew right from the beginning that I wanted it to be a scrub and a moisturizer at the same time. I have never been a person to apply lotion after a shower. I used to shave with baby oil and coconut oil because it was easier than applying lotion later. So I solved that issue by having the tallow and jojoba oil right in the scrub.
The next focus was the aggressiveness of the mechanical/physical exfoliation aspect. We went with cane sugar, a larger granule than coconut palm (which is in the lip scrub), because it would dissolve at a nice pace: not too fast and not too slow, and it's not very abrasive. Great for your body and face.
I wanted to add another level of exfoliation, and the more I learned about raw honey I knew we had to have it in there. Raw honey (which means it hasn't been heated at a high temperature) is full of naturally-occurring active enzymes. Amazing for sensitive skin, they gently exfoliate dead skin cells without aggravating sensitive skin. It's anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and it's a humectant (which means it draws water into the skin) so you're hydrating the fresh, new skin cells as you slough off the old ones.
So if you're looking for a super aggressive exfoliation, you won't find that here. This is more of an every-other-day product; a sustainable way to care for your skin. Gentle and effective.