How to Exfoliate Your Legs (And Homemade Recipes)

At a Glance

  • It’s beneficial to exfoliate your legs as part of your regular beauty routine.
  • Exfoliation helps remove old skin cells, dirt and debris naturally present on the skin surface.
  • Regular exfoliation can help avoid ingrown hairs commonly associated with hair removal, and help get those pins looking gorgeous!

Who doesn’t want radiant-looking legs to show off at the beach, or at the next party? Especially during the winter season when our precious pins are tucked away out of sight for the most part, we need to take care not to neglect them.

Having a regular leg care routine isn’t just about de-fuzzing; it’s about maintaining the quality of your skin, and keeping it smooth, healthy and hydrated ready for that next guest appearance!

Exfoliating your legs is one important part of skin care for the legs. Here we discover more about exfoliating, what it does for the skin, and how to do it right!

What Is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation is a method used in skin care that uses a mildly abrasive substance in conjunction with a liquid to reduce friction. There are many different exfoliating scrubs available on the market, and they’re also very easy to make from kitchen store cupboard ingredients.

The mixture is applied to the skin and massaged in. This stimulates blood circulation to the skin, helping to improve nourishment and the removal of waste products.

Exfoliation also sloughs off the top layer of worn out skin cells, leaving fresh, new skin visible.

Exfoliation can also be done using chemicals to remove the top layer of skin cells; these are more commonly used on the face. This is probably best done under the care of a board-certified dermatologist.

While there are chemical peels and products available for home use, they can damage the skin if used incorrectly.

How Regularly Should We Exfoliate?

This is about getting the right balance. Too little exfoliation will leave the skin on your legs looking dull, while going overboard can leave skin rubbed a bit too raw.

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Janet Prystowsky warns against too much exfoliation during winter months. At this time, we need to focus on moisturizing the skin really well, and keep it from drying out.

So during winter, moisturize a lot, exfoliate a little—once a month is plenty for most people.

In general, people with thicker, more oily skin may need to exfoliate more often than those with more delicate, drier skin. Most people exfoliate once or twice a week, others may find they need to exfoliate their legs more often.

How to Exfoliate Your Legs

Make sure you have some uninterrupted time and everything to hand. Many people like to exfoliate before they have a shower or bath. If you want to shave, it’s best to exfoliate first, then shave.

  1. Wash your legs as usual with a mild cleanser and warm water. Leave your legs damp, but turn off the water.
  2. Apply some of the exfoliating scrub with your hands. Work in a small area at a time, and move in gentle, circular movements.
  3. There’s no need to press too firmly against the skin—just apply the grains to the skin and let them do the hard work for you! It can be a strange feeling of the grains working across the skin, but it shouldn’t be unpleasant.
  4. Continue until your skin feels smooth and soft. This should only take a few minutes.
  5. After washing off the exfoliating scrub shave your legs, if that’s the plan, dry gently and moisturize your legs well with a good-quality, fragrance-free moisturizer.

Homemade Exfoliating Scrubs

This is something I really love to do at home; it’s easy, I can make just as much as I need fresh each time, and I usually have the ingredients in the house already. Here are some ideas:

Lemon Mint Sherbet

Mix 2 tablespoons of regular white table sugar with enough lemon juice and mint oil in equal amounts to mix into a rough paste. Apply to damp skin over the bathtub or an old towel.

Coffee, Honey?

Mix enough fresh ground coffee grains with honey to make a stiff paste. Apply liberally in short, sweeping, circular motions.

Scrub a Dub Dub

For problem areas like knees and heels, add some table salt to olive oil and mix to a grainy paste. Apply to damp skin in circular movements.

Precautions for Exfoliating

Experts from the American Academy of Dermatology say before exfoliating, it’s important to know your skin type, and advise a consultation with a qualified professional.

People with skin conditions like herpes and warts should consult a board-registered dermatologist before embarking on any skin care routine, including exfoliation.

When buying over the counter chemical exfoliation products, buy only from reputable companies, and use products containing no more than 10 percent glycolic acid or 2 percent salicylic acid.


Exfoliation is a satisfying addition to any skin care routine. It helps to keep skin looking and feeling fresh by removing much of the old skin cells and dirt, exposing the new fresh skin cells underneath.

Exfoliation can help to cleanse the skin of waste products and reduce the risk of problems such as ingrown hairs and blocked pores.

It’s important to be careful not to overdo exfoliation, especially in winter months when our skin usually needs more hydration than anything else. The process of exfoliation is very simple—usually for the legs, a slightly abrasive paste is gently rubbed against the skin to clear and cleanse it.

There are many different options when it comes to buying exfoliating scrubs, but you can also make your own at home, which adds to the fun because you can create all kinds of different recipes, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Whatever you choose, giving your legs a good firm but gentle exfoliation from time to time really helps, along with lots of moisturizing, to get those beautiful stems gleaming and sparkling!

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