Looking to freshen up rough, drab winter skin? When ground into a fine powder, grains such as rice, oats, quinoa, and millet make for gentle cleansers that leave skin supremely smooth. Plus, cleansing grains’ mild sloughing action may aid in restoring skin’s glow. “Using exfoliators made with grains helps get rid of dead cells, which allows your skin to reflect the light better and makes it more radiant,” explains Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist and clinical associate professor at Tulane University.
Naturally rich in antioxidants, grains could also assist in keeping skin vibrant. Oats, for instance, might boost overall skin health by fighting inflammation (a key culprit in acne and sagging complexions), Farris says. In fact, research suggests that certain antioxidants found in oats may ease inflammation when applied to the skin.
Farris does advise against reaching for cleansing grains more than once or twice a week. “You have to be careful not to overdo it, since too much exfoliation can strip away surface oils to the point where your skin ends up dry and irritated,” she cautions.
Another reason to choose cleansing grains: they’re an eco-friendly alternative to scrubs made with plastic microbeads, which wash down drains and spill into waterways, threatening turtles, fish, and seagulls that ingest the bits of plastic.
Easy-Peasy Oatmeal Scrub: For a homemade grains-based facial slougher, DIY Face Masks and Scrubs author Stacy Karen recommends mixing 2 teaspoons ground oats, 1 teaspoon wheat germ or cornmeal, and 1 1/2 teaspoons water or cooled chamomile tea. After massaging the scrub onto your skin, wash off with warm water and a face cloth.
Zatik Cleansing Grain for Normal/Oily Skin ($10/2 oz.)