Why Body Scrub is Not Optional After 40
Most of us are pretty good about investing time and money into taking care of the skin on our faces—but anything south of the neck? It gets short-shrift. The neglect isn’t that noticeable in your twenties or thirties, but once you hit 40 when dead-skin-cell shedding slows, not tending to body skin can result in ashy legs, scaly feet—and constellations of tiny bumps on your upper arms and butt. (Official name of the latter condition is keratosis pilaris, and it’s a buildup of keratin protein inside hair follicles.) Once your skin reaches this ashy or bumpy stage, applying a gallon of lotion is pointless, as hundreds of dead cells have banded together and created an impenetrable wall.
A gentle salt-or-sugar-in-oil scrub will slough away old cells, paving the way for hydrating lotions—and loosening keratin plugs. I am currently obsessed with Juara Coffee Scrub ($38; dermstore.com). Apparently my husband is too, as the shower smells like Starbucks whenever I get in after him. This energizing mix includes real ground coffee (Sumatran beans from Indonesia), crushed walnut shells and non-greasy rice bran oil that won’t leave the shower floor slick. To avoid overdoing it (and rubbing myself raw), I limit scrubbing to three times a week.
For those averse to physical scrubs, there are plenty of non-granular ways to encourage cell shedding with gentle acids: AmLactin Moisturizing Body with alpha hydroxy acid ($16; dermstore.com); Cane + Austin Body Retexurizing Pads ($70; sephora.com) or Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash ($32; dermstore.com).