Your legs are, like your face, often exposed to the world around you. If you’re showing off a bit of skin, why not try to make it look as young and healthy as possible? You can go beyond regular washing and shaving. In fact, you can exfoliate your legs the same way you can exfoliate the skin on your face!
Exfoliating your legs provides many of the benefits and improvements that you can see when you adopt exfoliation for your facial skin. Plus, you can use many of the same exfoliating products and scrubs for your legs as you'd use on your face.
Don’t know how to exfoliate your legs? No worries – this guide has everything you need to get started.
Why Exfoliate Your Legs?
Your leg skin is made of the same types of cells as your face, with a mild difference: the leg skin isn’t quite as sensitive. Still, it needs to regenerate, and old skin cells on your legs can pile up and cover new skin cells just like they can with facial skin. All this can eventually lead to acne, blemishes, and other skin impurities that can spread across your legs, preventing you from enjoying smooth, clear, and radiant skin from hips to feet.
Exfoliation scrubs away that layer of dead skin cells and makes room for new skin cells to take their place.
Exfoliation also feels great! When you exfoliate, your skin is rejuvenated and recycled as new skin cells are allowed to come to the surface. While exfoliating might lead to a little sensitivity in the beginning, your skin will become used to the sensation over time. Eventually, your legs will feel fresher, look younger, and be smoother to the touch.
There’s one other benefit as well – shaving. When you exfoliate, you make the surface of your legs a little smoother and, thus, make it a bit easier for your razor to slide over your skin and remove hair. If you shave your legs frequently (particularly during the spring and summer months), exfoliating your legs is a no-brainer.
The good news is that exfoliating your legs follows essentially the same basic processes and tips as exfoliating your face. However, you’ll use different types of brushes or scrubs. Let’s take a look at the process in more detail.
Chemical vs. Physical Exfoliation
There are two main types of exfoliation: chemical and physical.
Chemical exfoliation is the milder or gentler of the two forms since it doesn't require you to scrub your skin. Instead, the exfoliating agent starts a chemical reaction that dissolves or strips away dead skin cells, oil, and certain types of dirt and debris. You can then rinse away the chemical exfoliating agent when taking a shower or with a rag.
Chemical exfoliants often use ingredients like:
- Alpha hydroxy acids, which come from natural sources like fruits and sugars. Examples include lactic and glycolic acids.
- Beta hydroxy acids, which are particularly good for those with acne or oily prone skin. They're oil-soluble, and the most common of these is salicylic acid.
- Enzymes, which can vary based on the product. Enzymes help to break down the organic tissues of dead skin cells.
A physical exfoliant, as the name suggests, physically scrubs away dirt, debris, and dead skin cells through the use of very small particulates and washing agents. Think of things like jojoba beads and sugar crystals. These are all small enough that they can get deep into your pores and remove dead skin cells and dirt, but they’re also gentle enough to not cause you any irritation or inflammation.
If you do decide to physically exfoliate, be sure to never use microbeads. Microbeads are especially harmful to the environment. Instead, pick exfoliation products made with natural ingredients, like those from Suki Skincare!
Both types of exfoliation can be effective, but chemical exfoliation is usually better if you have really sensitive skin on your legs or if you've already scrubbed your legs during your daily shower. Physical exfoliants are better if you enjoy brushing your skin and it's not too sensitive.
How to Exfoliate Your Legs
Exfoliating your legs follows the same basic routine as exfoliating your face, with a few differences since you don’t need to necessarily use a serum product to give your legs’ skin cells additional vitamins and nutrients. The skin on your legs is much less sensitive overall than that of your face, though you should still take steps to not overly irritate it when exfoliating.
Moisten and Cleanse
You'll first want to moisten and cleanse your legs. The best time to exfoliate your legs is immediately after taking a shower, so many people will decide to moisten and wash their legs during.
Use a regular body soap or scrub – this will help get rid of surface-level dirt and debris and clear the way for the exfoliating agents you'll use shortly.
Alternatively, you can moisten and cleanse your legs outside the shower using a washrag and a normal soap. Don’t try to exfoliate your legs before washing them since dirt and debris can prevent the exfoliating agents, be they chemical or physical, from reaching deep enough into your pores to do their job.
Now it’s time to actually exfoliate. There are all kinds of products you can use, but Suki Skincare’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser is a particularly good choice since it’s derived from natural ingredients and can purify pores to reduce toxic build up. Furthermore, it can smoothen and soften your complexion and even reduce dry skin and blemishing.
You’ll want to rub the exfoliating agent into your legs, scrubbing it deep into your pores. The best way to do this is with a scrub brush with firm bristles. If you have sensitive legs, you can alternatively use a loofah or any other softer brush in place of a brush with firm bristles. The point is to get the exfoliating agents deep into your pores so they can dissolve or dislodge dead skin cells and debris.
Then, rinse away the dead skin cells and exfoliating agents down the drain. Again, this is why exfoliating in the shower is so convenient and easy.
Moisturize and Soothe
Just because you’ve exfoliated your skin doesn’t mean you’re done. Exfoliation can do wonders for your skin, but it also rubs your skin a little raw, even if you are used to exfoliating. It also threatens to expose your newer skin cells to the dry air of your environment. Because of these risk factors, you should always moisturize and soothe any skin you exfoliate: even your legs.
Use an excellent moisturizing cream or lotion to seal in existing moisture and prevent your skin from losing any other hydration throughout the day. This helps you over the long-term, but it also helps soothe your skin in the short term. By moisturizing, your legs will feel better immediately – a critical component of the process if you are just starting to take up exfoliation.
While some facial moisturizing lotions can work, we’d recommend actually using a leg or body-specific moisturizing lotion. For starters, these lotions come in larger bottles so you don’t use an entire facial moisturizer bottle for one application to your legs! For another, body lotions have different ingredients that are better suited for the skin on your legs as opposed to your face.
Don’t Forget to Exfoliate When Shaving!
Don’t forget to exfoliate before you shave to ensure you get not only a closer shave, but reduce the chance of ingrown hairs and other issues caused by a buildup of debris and dead skin cells. Just make sure not to over-exfoliate if you shave multiple times per week. More on over exfoliation below!
Don’t Over Exfoliate!
When you take up an exfoliating routine, it can be tempting to exfoliate as often as possible to ensure that younger and healthier skin cells are always on the surface. But there is such a thing as over-exfoliation. You should never exfoliate more than once or twice per week depending on your skin sensitivity.
Doing more than this can rub your skin raw and cause your skin to produce excessive sebum, a type of moisturizing oil your body naturally produces that helps protect your skin but can also cause acne and other issues if there’s too much of it.
Ultimately, exfoliating your legs is a great way to ensure that the skin all across your body looks the best it can. Smooth, radiant legs are a sign that you love and take care of your body, and they’ll help you look even younger and more beautiful!
You might not look at your legs as much as your face, but trust us – there’s a big difference between legs that are shaved and exfoliated compared to those that aren’t!