(Photo via Instagram @thisisglamorous)
Exfoliation for the face + Body.
I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of the pre-soaked exfoliating peel pad for some gentle resurfacing action and skin-treating, pore-purifying goodness on-the-reg. Depending on the acid, strength, and purpose of the formula you grab, they're a convenient way to remove dead skin cells, brighten up complexions, treat or prevent blemishes, and lessen hyper-pigmentation and scarring. Here's the thing — these acids also work wonders for the skin on your body!
While you can buy liquid solutions to douse your own cotton rounds with — Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ($29) is a cult-favorite to use with a cotton round — having a pre-soaked option can save time, especially while traveling.
My dermatologist Dr. Neda Mehr of Pure Dermatology first got me hooked on them and I love using her line's 2-2 pads. (They might be available for purchase online now, but I will have to double-check.) In the meantime, the pads I've found that are the most similar to her preferred blend are the Replenix Acne Solutions Gly/Sal 2-2 Pads ($18). (They're normally $20 but Amazon has them on sale right now.)
(Photo via Instagram @thisisglamorous)
(Photo via Instagram @nipandfab)
The Different Acids
My BFF and Ulta-insider, Lucy, first gave me the scoop on the many different peel pads on the market, and I've done some experimenting of my own. Recently, I was using the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme ($10) at night and First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads ($30 for 60) during the day, just after applying my cleanser.
The reason for using two different brands was that I wanted to get the benefits of all the different acids they throw into the mix. Between the two, I was getting gentle doses of Salicylic acid, which is great for preventing and treating breakouts and deep pore cleansing, as well as Glycolic acid and Lactic Acids, which fight breakouts and brighten the complexion.
To break down the difference between the exfoliating acids, AHAs and BHAs, I love this chart from Beauty Editor:
(Photo via Beauty Editor)
As you can see, the different acids work differently. BHAs like Salicylic acid work all the way down to the pore lining, minimizing the internal sources of clogs. But even AHAs like Lactic and Glycolic acids have a valid place in your skincare regimen. They focus more on the outer layers of your dermis, but will provide a brightening effect and leave you with a glowing radiance. Plus, they're great for evening out surface-level hyper-pigmentation and scarring!
NOTE: Salicylic acid is not considered mommy-safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Texture and saturation
Here's the thing... I'm not actually a fan of the Nip + Fab pads I've been using! It's for a reason that is totally subjective but also valid for any consumer. Basically, I feel like the pads aren't saturated enough.
When you use your own cotton rounds with an exfoliating liquid, don't hold back from really dousing them. Part of why it's great to gently exfoliate at the beginning of your skincare regimen is that it primes your skin to receive the benefits of whatever you apply next!
So: the texture of the pad and the insufficient level of moisture have caused me to snub my Nip + Fab product. Please don't tell them!
Nope, definitely not wearing deodorant.
The Armpit Solution
Rather than waste perfectly good product that just wasn't my cup of tea, my brilliant friend Ali provided me with the solution! Just as the skin of your face is more receptive to products after you've primed it with some mellow resurfacing, other areas of your body can benefit in the same way.
In fact, the line Paula's Choice actually offers some fabulous exfoliating serums and lotions containing AHAs and BHAs specifically for the body, as does Renée Rouleau's celebrity-approved, luxury skincare line. They're especially great if you have "chicken skin" or actinic keratosis (little hard bumps that can be red or nude).
Ali's solution was even better — and weirder: Apply to your armpit to make your deodorant more effective!
It totally makes sense — especially if you're someone for whom deodorant is a major issue. I am super lucky in that I rarely need to wear deodorant, even to yoga, because I have this weird gene where your sweat doesn't really smell. But sometimes I feel like I still should still wear deodorant out of a courtesy to others, you know, especially during downward-facing dog or a full-bind.
So, I've been using my Nip + Fab pads on my armpits before applying deodorant this week. Hint: Let the area dry before you try to apply deodorant. Otherwise you'll make a slimy mess...
The Deodorant Decision
There is an important reason to choose your deodorant with care as there is a debate that is raging in green beauty right now. Turns out, the need for legislative reform that regulates the use of toxic chemicals is especially pertinent to the deodorant debate.
Right around your pits, your body is densely saturated with lymph nodes, which are critical to your detoxification and immune health and exist in a network throughout your entire body. They're responsible for your body's natural mechanisms for detox, hence the popularity of lymphatic drainage massages and lymph-stimulating practices like dry brushing.
Since I'm concerned with keeping my lymph-saturated pits healthy, I prefer to apply green beauty products to this area, and especially don't want to apply more harmful toxins and chemicals to my underarms.
The debate gets even more intense surrounding the use of antiperspirants, which block the sweat ducts and prevent sweating altogether. A number of holistic health experts will attest that blocking your sweat duct glands, thereby keeping toxins in, can be linked to long-term (negative) health outcomes.
One of the ways we filter out toxins is through our sweat, so applying duct-blocking products already hinders the important elimination of toxins. Turns out, antiperspirant products are also often applying more toxins to the area. Aluminum, one of the main ingredients in antiperspirants is even found in breast cancer tumors. Unless you're buying a deodorant that specifically says it is "Aluminum Free," it's in there.
Goop sums it up, explaining that Aluminum, fragrance, and synthetic antibacterial compounds all pose health risks that consumers are becoming increasingly unwilling to take.
I think of it this way: Sweat is a major form of detoxification. It's not just salt that comes out in your sweat, but it's also all the toxins your body is trying to get rid of! So when you grab a toxic, antiperspirant deodorant, you aren't just preventing detox from happening — you're also facilitating some serious re-toxing to a body area that is critical to your immune health.
Natural, Non-Toxic Deodorants to Shop
(Photo via Instagram @freedomdeodorant)
(1) Freedom Deodorant - Bergamot Mint ($17): The number 1 selling aluminum-free deodorant. It's normally $18 for the full-size, but I found it on Amazon for $17 at that link. They also come in adorable mini-sizes if you want to try it out first, Freedom Deodorant 5-Pack Travel Minis ($8 each of $29 for all).
(Photo via Instagram @toms_of_maine)
(2) Tom's of Maine Long-Lasting Lavender Natural Deodorant Stick ($4): I even have my boyfriend, Tom, hooked on this stuff!
(Photo via Instagram @agentnateur)
(3)Agent Nateur Holi(stick) No. 3 Deodorant ($21): You can get it at Nordstrom for points, so why not? Plus I love holistic everything. This collaborative edition rose deodorant by Shiva Rose — an amazing, luxe line with a crystal-infused (link) eye-cream — is worth a try: Agent Nateur holi(rose) No. 4 Deodorant ($26).
Consider adopting a health-promoting swap by opting-in on a non-toxic deodorant. If you're worried that you're going to be stinky, you can try using a peel pad on your underarm area before applying your stick of deodorant. It'll cleanse the area of bacteria, prevent duct clogs and thereby facilitate detox, and will make your deodorant product work even better.
Have you made the switch to a non-toxic deodorant? Tell me in the comments below!
I am using affiliate links in this post. Shop them to show me some love :)