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Exfoliating gloves are gloves that are meant to be worn in the shower or bath, and used to remove dead skin cells. They are often made of mesh or textured, rough fabric. Bathers wear the gloves on their hands, then rub their hands across their bodies to gently slough off dead cells, as well as to freshen skin. Most gloves work best when used with bath gels or sudsy soaps.
When cosmetologists and beauty specialists talk about exfoliation, they are referring to the process of removing the skin’s top layer. Skin is the body’s outermost point of defense, and as such it is often exposed to harsh environmental conditions including sunlight, extreme cold, dirt, and sweat. The skin constantly regenerates, but dead skin cells typically sit on this top layer until they either fall off naturally, or are removed.
Using exfoliating gloves is one way to help improve the skin’s health and overall condition. The gloves look like normal hand gloves, but they are not intended to keep the hands warm. Rather, they are designed to enable quick and easy all-over exfoliation.
Bathers put the gloves on, get them wet, then put a small amount of bath gel or soap on the palms. Rubbing the hands together creates a rich lather, which bathers rub into the skin all over their bodies. The roughness of the gloves provides a gentle exfoliation, while the soap washes the lifted debris away.
Most exfoliating gloves are made out of rough textured material, often mesh. Even a product that is marketed as “gentle exfoliating gloves” will have some grit to it. Texture is needed to rid the skin of rough spots. One of the benefits of using exfoliating gloves is that the user can control the pressure and intensity of the exfoliating massage.
Exfoliating gloves are one of many types of exfoliators. They are often used in place of, or sometimes in addition to, other exfoliating products, particularly a loofah, pumice stone, or exfoliating brush. All of these tools provide what is known as a shallow exfoliation. To be effective at maintaining glowing, healthy-looking skin, any of these must typically be used several times a week.
Mechanical or chemical exfoliation is a more professional alternative. These treatments are often performed in professional spas. So-called deep exfoliation penetrates the skin’s upper layer to more permanently remove dead or rough patches. The result is instantly clearer, firmer skin that typically lasts for a month or more. Deep exfoliation treatments are typically much more expensive than home solutions like bath gloves.