Beauty bi­ble

There’s only one se­cret to glow­ing skin: ex­fo­li­at­ing. And there’s a sim­ple tool that’ll help do the job

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents - Lisa Arm­strong

Glow­ing skin? It’s just a brush away

WOMEN HAVE BEEN ex­fo­li­at­ing their skin for mil­len­nia. Sand, salt, leaves – you name it, we’ve abraded our bod­ies and faces with it. There must be some atavis­tic in­stinct to shed our skins faster than na­ture usu­ally goes about it.

For the record, left alone, it takes ap­prox­i­mately 28 days to pro­duce babysoft new skin cells that grad­u­ally dry out and even­tu­ally flake off, to be re­placed by a new layer. Ex­cept that, as we age, that sys­tem slows down. This is pretty cru­cial to the whole beauty ma­trix: ra­di­ant skin is the foun­da­tion of beauty. By ra­di­ant, we gen­er­ally mean healthy look­ing, smooth, toned and a bit dewy look­ing (ie not dry, not ex­ces­sively shiny, but that juicy half­way point usu­ally re­ferred to as glow­ing). If we can achieve all that, then we re­ally don’t need to worry too much about lines and wrin­kles. Ra­di­ant skin is beau­ti­ful, re­gard­less.

If dead cells stick around, in­ter­fer­ing with the way the light hits our skin, re­sult­ing in that stub­bornly un-glowy look, it’s age­ing.

The beauty in­dus­try, be­ing the beauty in­dus­try, has come up with scores of ‘so­lu­tions’ over the decades, rang­ing from harsh as­trin­gents and plas­tic-filled ex­fo­lia­tors to der­mabra­sion (which gen­er­ally uses an elec­tric ro­tat­ing de­vice), lasers, lights and chem­i­cal peels that re­quire vary­ing amounts of ‘down­time’.

Th­ese have their place if you re­quire treat­ment for pig­men­ta­tion and scar­ring, but if you’re just af­ter a lit­tle glow, hon­estly, leave them alone, or use spar­ingly be­cause ex­fo­lia­tors can scratch and dry skin. Lasers and chem­i­cal peels, mean­while, in the wrong hands (and even some of the ‘right’ ones) may give ini­tially ex­cit­ing re­sults – look! All th­ese sweet baby cells – but will ul­ti­mately thin the skin.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t ex­fo­li­ate. ‘You can get thick se­ba­ceous skin on your nose, and it’s ben­e­fi­cial to slough it off,’ says Dr Roz­ina Ali, a bio­chemist and plas­tic sur­geon. ‘But we prob­a­bly don’t need to ex­fo­li­ate fore­heads, where skin is very thin – and cer­tainly not near your eyes.’ Any method, she says, should be ap­proached with cau­tion.

There’s a lovely recipe in Skin Food by So­phie Thomp­son (£12.99, Oc­to­pus: a good present for fans of chem­i­cal-free beauty) that uses 15 drops of lime es­sen­tial oil (or your favourite es­sen­tial oil), two tbsp of co­conut oil, four tbsp of caster or gran­u­lated sugar and two tbsp of fresh pome­gran­ate seeds (whizzed for 15 sec­onds in a blen­der) for two serv­ings of an ex­fo­lia­tor for dead win­ter skin.

But all we need are a cou­ple of fa­cial brushes – not to be con­fused with the tougher, larger body brushes you can buy ev­ery­where. Skin brushes are small, round and gen­tle, de­signed to be used dry, and, if you buy them from Alexan­dra Soveral, made from sus­tain­able olive wood and goat hair, a by-prod­uct of the meat in­dus­try (£28, alexan­drasoveral. com) – prefer­able to those teeny abra­sive balls that clog up the oceans. Soveral uses hers ev­ery day, sweep­ing up­wards from her chin across her cheeks and fore­head and even – ul­tra-gen­tly – across the eye area, to en­cour­age lym­phatic drainage, stim­u­late cir­cu­la­tion, and send those dry, past-it skin par­ti­cles on their way. She’s such a good ad­vert, I’ve fol­lowed her lead. Et voilà! Del­i­cately glow­ing skin.

The Soveral fa­cial brush

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