The Simplest Way to Get Softer Skin All Over, All Winter

by Staphanie Saltzman

Courtesy of Ahava, Dove, and CarCourtesy of Ahava, Dove, and Car
The benefits of exfoliating your face--cell turnover, smaller pores, glow-y complexion, better product absorption, and so on--have been well documented. But when it comes to body exfoliation, things are a little, er, rougher. Other than the obvious (getting rid of flakes), is it really worthwhile? And is there a right way to do it? "I have a lot to say about the topic!" was the first thing dermatologist Francesca Fusco said when I grilled her about it. Turns out body scrubs are far more important than most of us think. Here's what you need to know.

There are a lot (like, a lot) of reasons to exfoliate body skin.
"The benefits include stimulating collagen production and circulation," Fusco says. "And during the winter, it allows moisturizer to penetrate more efficiently, so that you're not as itchy and flaky. And people who tend to get ingrown hairs benefit from regular exfoliation because it can release the trapped hair."

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Your body can handle a serious scrub.
Skin on the face tends to be delicate, but the body is generally tougher. "For the body, I recommend using a granular scrub," says Fusco, whose favorites include Ahava Mineral Body Exfoliator, Caress Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash, and Caudalie Crushed Cabernet Scrub. For sensitive types, she recommends Dove Gentle Exfoliating Nourishing Body Wash. "For tough areas like elbows, knees, and feet, a topical cream like AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion after showering will continue the exfoliation and moisturize at the same time."

Bath gloves count, too.
"Textured exfoliating gloves like The Body Shop Bath Gloves can be quite effective," says Fusco. "They are easy to use and a bit more appealing to women who want a quick exfoliation and rinse with no messy granules."

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Don't skip your scalp.
"The scalp benefits from exfoliation, too. Add a tablespoon of sugar to your shampoo. It gently exfoliates and dissolves without being harsh on color--you don't want to scrub the color off," she says.

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