Fresh start ... exfoliating can be cathartic. Photo: Miodrag GAJIC
Beauty experts recommend exfoliating your skin once a week, but I am guilty of overusing these magnificent scrubs in the slightly misguided belief that exfoliation is the cure for many of life's ills.
If I've been tired and emotional the night before, for example, come morning, it's time to shake off the dust and exfoliate. Similarly, if I accidentally catch an episode of Channel Nine's 20 to 1: Greatest Logies Moments I know the solution: exfoliate. And if I engage in a creepy conversation at the bus stop with a 70-year-old self-confessed bachelor whose fly is undone? Exfoliate. How about lingering too long in a bargain-basement clothing shop where a thudding remix of Usher's greatest hits is turned up to full volume? Well, it's straight home to exfoliate. But not before nabbing a couple of ill-fitting maxi skirts and a polyester jumpsuit - all for the rock-bottom price of $35.99. Seriously, you can't get cheaper!
Before I know it, I've exfoliated my skin into oblivion. The act of aggressively cleansing away whatever makes me feel either physically or psychologically soiled is obviously an appealing one. I mean, who hasn't rocked back and forth in the foetal position in the privacy of their own shower cubicle after an intensely regretful moment? It's cathartic, isn't it?
But it's not the sole reason for my burgeoning addiction. The thing is, I'm a sucker for the scents -among them, marshmallow, coconut and cranberry - and the velvety feel of my skin après exfoliation.
But even if you don't commonly indulge, it's during the golden days of summer that the exfoliant can still earn an upgrade from an occasional-use item to a regular one. This is due in large part to the application of fake tan. If you exfoliate before application with a salt- or sugar-based scrub, it can double the life expectancy of your sunless tan. Scrubbing your body also removes dead skin cells and is therefore the easiest way to avoid one of fake tanning's greatest perils, the "dirty elbows and ankles" look.
Of course, the danger of over-exfoliation, apart from red, raw skin, is that it increases the production of your skin's oils, creating a vicious cycle. Oh, I've been there! One solution to this quagmire is the Aurora Spa Rituals Lavender & Patchouli Calming Body Kit. Because, rather than employing the tough love of granules, you pour the oil on and exfoliate with the mitt.
You can also use the oil afterward as a moisturiser, which is what you should do after you step out of the shower every time you exfoliate, anyway. That is, if you know what's good for you, which I'm not entirely sure I do. But I certainly know what's bad for me! And how to rid myself of it!
Mor Marshmallow Sugar Body Scrub, $40, mor.com.au.