Exfoliation is key to happy, healthy skin. The process enables new skin cells to breathe, relieving the epidermis of the dry outer layer that often inhibits nourishing growth. When properly exfoliated, skin attains a glowing quality while simultaneously fighting aging agents.

According to the International Dermal Institute, exfoliation significantly improves blemished skin, pigmentation, clogged pores, and breakouts. Research suggests that chemical exfoliation methods are often too harsh on the body, resulting in pain, redness, and even infection. These five natural alternatives have been proven to dramatically improve skin quality without the baggage of potential negative side effects.

Yogurt

Yogurt is an ideal exfoliant because it is loaded with lactic acid, which simultaneously hydrates and smoothes the skin. This is an alpha hydroxy acid, which is often found in prescription exfoliants, but yogurt contains a low concentration that makes it a viable option for all skin types. Alpha hydroxy acid essentially removes the protein that acts as a sticking agent to dead skin cells, enabling the growth of a new layer of healthy epidermis. According to Dr. Alan Fleischer, lactic acid also smoothes skin tone to create an even color. Many dermatologists recommend applying yogurt to the skin, letting it sit for twenty minutes, and removing it with a warm cloth. The substance is mild enough to use on the face and body without running the risk of breakouts.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice also contains alpha hydroxy acid, so it effortlessly removes dead skin to allow the growth of a new, healthy layer. Natural citrus exfoliants are more mild than the prescription alternative, which can have such high concentrations that Lindsey Marcellin, MD warns that they can contribute to increased sun sensitivity. Integrating lemon juice into your skin treatment can exfoliate your skin without running the risk of negative side effects.

Honey

As a natural humectant (a substance used to reduce the loss of moisture), honey is loaded with moisturizing qualities that simultaneously hydrate and strengthen the skin. Moreover, it contains antioxidants that enable skin repair.

Studies also reveal that this quality also reduces inflammation and protects the epidermis from drying out. Honey is an elixir to the skin. It is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, helping your body to repel acne and lessen the occurrence of infection. When used, it locks in moisture to maintain hydration. Its hydrating qualities speeds the exfoliation process so that you see desired results faster.

Sugar

Seriously, sugar?  Although sugary diets are known to contribute to premature aging, its topical application has a completely different effect. Sugar cane is packed with glycolic acid, which belongs to notoriously beneficial alpha hydroxy acids family. When applied to the skin, it removes the proteins that glue down dead cells to enable a healthy new layer to grow. What’s more, Skin 911 found that glycolic acid both smooths and softens the epidermis.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is the ideal exfoliant for sensitive skin types. Known for its soothing qualities (an oatmeal bath is one of the only methods that provides reliable relief from chicken pox), it helps to reduce skin inflammation. What’s more, it gently removes dead skin while stimulating new growth. When applied regularly, oatmeal helps the body maintain a healthy cycle so that your skin isn’t bogged down by dry cells.

By introducing these natural remedies into your skincare regimen, you can attain perpetually beautiful skin without subjecting yourself to toxins or harsh side effects. Exfoliation is a vital to the health of your body – and these treatments are some of the best tools to fight against aging, breakouts, and dryness. Give your skin a healthy glow that lasts . . . without spending hundreds of dollars on spa treatments!

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