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How to Choose Exfoliation Methods and Products for Spray Tanning Exfoliation – 2nd of 3 Segments

Exfoliating Positives
I'm a bath person and I understand there is a large portion of the population who prefers showers; I'm just not one of them!  Give me thoughts of a fabulous bath with really hot water and my body just begins to relax.  I know ~ I hear you saying, "not really hot because it dries the skin."  It feels so good that I compensate for any drying with richly hydrating moisturizers!  Without question, I go through each week with some part of my body needing attention.  Maintaining a tan is no different.  As my tan begins to fade and I see those patches of white begin to peek through on my skin's surface, my bath ritual becomes an exfoliating ritual in tandem.  Exfoliating gives me a great stab at defying the ageing process.  The whole process stimulates blood circulation, promotes collagen production, builds elasticity and enhances detoxification to rid my body of pollutants ~ that's good stuff in my book!

If you allow those layers of dead skin cells to remain, they will choke off the underlying new cells trying to breathe.  When a fresh new tan is applied over these, layers simply comes off in patches taking your tan with it.  The friction created between the skin and exfoliating particles or the reaction of chemical exfoliants rid the skin of these layers of dead cells, unblocking pores and releasing buildup when, if done properly, makes the skin fresh, luminously radiant and younger looking.  The Egyptians had it right when they discovered the positive effect of exfoliation though they knew nothing of the uneven effects you get when applying a sunless tanner over skin lacking exfoliation.

Now that we know how the skin renews itself in a perpetual process, it would follow we also know how to speed the process of bringing a new layer of skin to the surface, allowing it to breathe.  With exfoliation, your skin reflects light easily resulting in a bright, youthful, plump skin appearance allowing better penetration of active ingredients. The new surface provides an ideal environment for a sunless tan application. Your skin will drink in the tanning solution which spreads evenly with unmatched perfection!

Identifying the Differences in Exfoliates

Exfoliates with Abrasive Substances
Have you ever wondered why there is gunk (small sand-like particles) left in the bottom of your bathtub after you have exfoliated?  This annoying little aspect of the exfoliation process is the result of granules in the ingredients that are too large or not hydrosoluble or both.  Hydrosoluble means the exfoliating particles when mixed with water dissolves into a soft substance that can wash off your skin and down the drain.  If one doesn't research this issue or uses substandard ingredients, it is likely their products will remain to some extent "in the bottom of your bathtub".

Like the left over ‘gunk', polypropylene plastic beads used as the ‘exfoliating- grinder' in some exfoliates are not biodegradable, identifying them as another kind left-over.  Unable to disintegrate, they end up polluting our waters while allowing sea animal ingestion that can clog digestive tracts causing all kinds of problems.  I say, ‘stay away from those'!

There are, however, many wonderful granules that can cleanse without stripping to even out the skin's texture leading the way to that ‘oh! so favorable, youthful luster, fresh skin layer.  Mineral substances like salt crystals and crushed volcanic rock along with sugar, and the softer side of crushed shells are among your choices.

When massaged onto wet skin, the goal of any abrasive exfoliant is to provide a medium that is water soluble which delivers the exfoliating benefit long enough to eliminate dead skin cells and purify the skin yet completely dissolve during the massaging usage period thus is easily washed from the skin and down the drain with no residue remaining.

Tools and Methods:

Exfoliating Gloves                                                   Exfoliating Pads

Body Brushes                                                           Microfiber cloths

Simple washcloth                                                    Exfoliation sheets

Pumice Stones                                                        Loofah bars

Chemical Exfoliants
When I first began trying chemical exfoliants, I gasped at what I thought was magical saying something like, "Whoa! This is major stuff.  I had no idea the buildup of layers of dead skin cells I had!  I can hardly believe how supple and smooth my skin felt afterward."  The truth is this virgin experience can be very dramatic.  After the first time, the impact will be lessened until you might be convinced it is not doing much, at all.  But don't be wary because the process is working; your skin just doesn't need it as badly as the first time.

The chemical reaction used in these exfoliates are enzymes that dissolve the glue-like weave matrix that holds or binds dead skin cells together.  Once this bond is dissolved, the dead layer of skin cell build-up can no longer cling to the surface of the skin and are sloughed off.

There are three classes of chemical exfoliates ~ BHAs, AHAs and Enzymes

Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are oil soluble and able to penetrate the skin's pores to clean sebum oil and dislodge compacted dead skin cells from inside. The BHA Salicylic Acid which should be used in 1-2% concentrations which are sometimes mixed with Benzyl peroxide and sulfur for acne.  BHAs are less irritating with antibacterial properties that treat blemishes.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are water soluble and can penetrate the skin producing better results with fine lines and sun damage.    These can possibly cause mild itching, burning or blushing.  Among the choices are glycolic acids derived from natural sources that include sugarcane, sugar beets, pineapple, cantaloupe and unripe grapes, Citric Acids from lemon, limes and oranges, Malic Acids, Lactic and Tartaric Acids

Enzymes are the least irritating of the 3 exfoliating chemical methods and are chosen for very sensitive skin and facial exfoliation.  Their products contain mild clays, colloidal oatmeal, soft fruit seeds or herbs. This class of exfoliate actually dissolves the skin cells themselves instead of using friction to dislodge the cells or chemicals that inhibit the holding bond of the dead cells.

Those with enzymatic exfoliating benefits are pancreatin, derived from pork and beef processing and protease enzymes that include papaya, pumpkin and pineapple. These are proteolytic because they dissolve the protein binding the cells.

Both BHAs and AHAs are available in high concentrations and are used in deep chemical or laser peels by Dermatologist.  This process is not used for exfoliation of dead cells but creating a controlled trauma that must heal and resurface the skin's layer.  Lower concentrations are available over the counter for at-home use.

Key Factors for Spray Tanner Skin Prep

  • Though enticing because of the way they feel on your skin, exfoliates that contain oils that linger on the skin can only be used the day before you tan.  The ‘no oil rule' must have command the day of actual tanning.
  • If you choose abrasive exfoliates, use products whose exfoliating ingredients are hydrosoluble so the granules don't remain in the skin's pores irritating and clogging. If you feel particles on your skin even after rinsing or there is ‘gunk' left in your tub, these are the tell-tale signs.
  • Shave or Wax before you spray, don't wear moisturizers or deodorants
  • Choose one of the 3 classes of exfoliants to use before each self-tanner application to ensure the smoothest of skin for even spray tan coverage.

Whether you want to rube the dead cells off, dissolve the bond that holds the cells together or actually dissolve the skins cells, choose one that works for you and use it regularly!

About the Author

Linda Cooper is owner of SheerTan Sunless Spray Tanning at www.Best-SelfTanner.com.  She created the patented wand sprayer that gives extended length so you can spray your back.Linda reports, "I love to tan but with a family history of skin cancer, I knew it must be a sunless tanner.  I like spray tans the best but couldn't reach the back side of my body so I decided to solve my problem by creating the SheerTan Wand.  I am equally proud of my sunless spray aerosol with its high quality two-step tanning process.

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