For years, women have used everyday ingredients like oatmeal and sand to achieve smooth, radiant skin. These remedies might seem rough, but exfoliating soaps rely on coarse particles to bring results. If your skin is sensitive, synthetic particles do the same work in a gentler way.
It makes sense that harsh particles exfoliate skin. Sand and pumice scour away dirt and grime in their natural surroundings. When they're added to soap, they get rid of dirt and lift away dead skin cells. Depending on what body part you're exfoliating, the type of particle in your soap will make a difference.
If you're looking for something to smooth out your heels or elbows, natural ingredients like ground nut shells, peach pits and coarse salt work well on the roughest skin. When it comes to your face, though, gentle is better. Think of what your feet experience when you're walking through a layer of shells on the beach. Although the pieces found in soap are ground to fine particles, imagine rubbing crushed shells on your face. Ouch! Very fine sugar, oatmeal and rice bran are better suited for the delicate skin of your face.
Synthetic particles in exfoliating soaps are just as effective as pumice and sand but don't have irritating sharp edges. Look for microbeads made of plastic or polyethylene. These exfoliants are designed to be gentle for sensitive skin. They also strip away fewer cells during the cleaning process because they're less abrasive. So, they can be gentle enough to use every day [source: Wyar].
Exfoliating ingredients can do wonders for your skin. But using more soap than suggested or in the wrong area could create less-than-smooth results. Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of exfoliating.