Exfoliating her skin how many times?

I have decided to answer this way the many challenges you therapists send me wanting some help.  Please remember, the answers or suggestions I make are based on my experiences but are not intended to diagnose or cure.  They will help but I’m not a doctor, okay?  So, without further ado, here’s this week’s therapist’s challenge:

Hi Jennine,
I have a question for you.  I have a friend that has a skin problem and she needs to exfoliate 2 times a day. She asked me to make an exfoliant blend (soap) for her – I made one that is great but I have a problem with the exfoliant bean that I use, (I use crushed almond) but with time it becomes soft,  I was wondering what you are using in your exfoliant for the body?
thanks, a Quebec therapist
Well, therapist, If she’s exfoliating more than once per week, your friend is doing major damage to her skin and lymphatics. I’m guessing she has some sort of peeling/flakey skin?  What she should be using is something to counter the inflammatory response which is causing the problem.
I would like to remind everyone that our skin is our protector and, under normal conditions, takes about 28 days to have a completely new layer to be on the outside. When a person does a “gentle” exfoliation once per week, they keep the lymphatic circulation in good condition as well as stimulating the blood vessels.   It is possible to over exfoliate, which dries and irritates the skin. The face is the part of the body most sensitive to exfoliation. Hence, provided that exfoliating causes the skin to dry out, it is very important to moisturize it, because dry skin can lead to wrinkle development.
If you are using an exfoliant that has sharp particles like crushed nut shells such as almond, walnut or apricot kernels or even pumice, there is a risk of stripping most of the layers of the epidermis and opening the pathway for infection.  Ground louffa or oatmeal is much more preferable for the face.
My recommendation for the therapist’s friend is as follows. Make a water type of blend using the following:
  • 60 ml (2 oz) purified water
  • 60 ml (2 oz) vegetable based gel such as aloe (avoid artificial colors and fragrances)
  • 20 drops St. John’s Wort
  • 10 drops Frankincense
  • 12 drops Melissa
  • 16 drops Yarrow
  • 12 drops Roman Chamomile (this is optional)
  • 15 ml baking soda/citric acid mix
  • 1/2 tsp organic honey
In a small container, mix the honey and the gel blending well. In a small beaker, put your soda/citric acid mix and then add the St. John’s Wort and the essential oils.  Stir well until thoroughly mixed.  SLOWLY add the water stirring after each bit.  (Remember, this stuff is going to be fizzing all crazy). Once you’ve gotten all the water mixed in (and it’s no longer fizzing), stir in the gel.  Pour into a bottle.  Use by squeezing a small amount onto a cotton pad (100% cotton absolutely no polyester please) and gently stroking across the skin.
My reasoning: St. John’s Wort (topical application) counters inflammation and any microscopic parasites that often attach themselves to irritated skin areas, the Frankincense, Melissa and Yarrow are anti-inflammatories and antihistamines as well as stimulating proper cellular production.  They are also great at countering stress and stabilizing the auto immune.  The honey does very similar things but in a different way.
If your friend insists on exfoliating, cut her back to once per day and, ultimately, once per week.  Make her soap or cleanser using ground oatmeal which has a long history of soothing irritated skin.