As a licensed esthetician (skin care specialist), my clients often ask me about what they can do to improve the texture and radiance of their skin. In addition to my customary sage advice that includes observing good lifestyle habits, drinking plenty of water and eating a whole foods diet, minimizing stress, living in joy, and avoiding excess sun exposure, I always ask if they use a gentle exfoliating facial scrub on a regular basis. Why? Well, allow me to impart a bit of educational "skinformation."
The epidermis, the thin outer layer of the skin that is visible to the eye and protects the body, renews and replaces itself completely every 30 to 60 days or so. This timetable varies with age, health, lifestyle habits, skin care regimen, and environmental factors. The younger you are, the more rapid the cellular turnover and natural sloughing of spent epidermal cells. As you age, the skin’s metabolism naturally slows, resulting in slower cell turnover and a potential buildup of surface dead skin cells. Gentle, consistent exfoliation is essential to aid in the removal of this dry, scaly, lackluster layer, revealing a fresher, smoother complexion that will more readily accept beneficial hydration from a toner, astringent, facial steam, mask, or moisturizer.
I practice holistic skin care, meaning I eschew products containing unnecessary synthetics, irritants, and useless fillers, as well as modern exfoliating treatments such as harsh chemical peels and microdermabrasion that can compromise the long-term health of the skin and its protective microbiome. I prefer instead to use products based on organic plant ingredients and extracts that nourish and support the functioning of the skin, including facial exfoliants that are uber gentle, yet effective, and I incorporate plenty of facial massage during my treatment sessions to stimulate circulation, tighten muscles, and boost product penetration. Yep, I give great facials that leave your skin smiling!
The recipe below is unlike most commercial facial scrub products that contain rough bits of gritty pumice, ground apricot kernels, walnut hulls, or plastic beads (an environmental no-no) - which serve to mechanically exfoliate your skin. Instead, my formula contains softer, soothing, mildly abrasive ingredients that accomplish the same goal while being much easier on your delicate skin.
Stephanie’s Original All-Purpose Scrub Recipe
This recipe will definitely do that for you if used several days per week. It’s actually the very first skin care product that I ever made! I was about 15 at the time, and I’ve used and loved it ever since. It leaves your skin feeling very smooth and satiny and, as a bonus, it doubles as a facial mask: after cleansing your skin, simply apply a thin layer, let dry for 20 minutes, and then rinse.
Note: This recipe calls for oatmeal, almonds, and sunflower seeds processed or ground into “meals”. You can easily grind these ingredients by using a clean coffee grinder (in which you don’t grind coffee) or use a small food processor. Or, you can purchase pre-made oat flour and almond meal. I rarely find sunflower seed meal, though, so this ingredient will probably have to make from scratch.
- 1/2 cup ground oatmeal or oat flour
- 1/4 cup almond meal (use raw almonds, not roasted)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed meal (use raw seeds, not roasted)
- 1 teaspoon ground, dried peppermint, rosemary, or spearmint leaves
- Dash of cinnamon powder (optional, but it adds a pleasant hint of spicy fragrance)
Yield: 1 cup dry ingredients
For dry skin: Approx. 2-3 teaspoons full-fat coconut milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
For normal skin: Approx. 2-3 teaspoons coconut water, almond milk, or low-fat or whole dairy milk
For oily skin: Approx. 2-3 teaspoons distilled or purified water or aloe vera juice
- Thoroughly blend all the dry ingredient in a small bowl using a spoon or small whisk, or shake them in a ziplock plastic bag.
- Pour the mixture into an airtight storage container. Label and date.
To Store: No refrigeration is required for the dry scrub mixture, but for maximum freshness and potency, please use within 6 months. Store in a dark, cool cabinet.
To Apply: In a very small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the dry scrub mixture with enough of the appropriate liquid to form a spreadable paste. Allow the paste to thicken for 1 minute. Now, cleanse your face and throat with your usual cleanser, pat dry. Next, using your fingers, gently massage the scrub onto your face and throat for 1 minute. Rinse well with warm water. This scrub is so gentle that you can use it daily, if you wish. Otherwise, please use at least twice per week. Follow with moisturizer.
Recipe excerpted from Pure Skin Care: Nourishing Recipes for Vibrant Skin & Natural Beauty © 2018 by Stephanie Tourles, used with permission from Storey Publishing.
Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic aesthetician, certified aromatherapist, and gardener with training in Western and Ayurvedic herbalism. She has also written many other books, including her best-selling, Organic Body Care Recipes; Hands-On Healing Remedies; Raw Energy In a Glass; Raw Energy; Pure Skin Care; and Naturally Bug-Free (all available in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store). Visit her website www.StephanieTourles.com to learn more, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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