It’s finally not frying in New York City. I’m thinking about (okay, fawning about) transitioning my closet from tanks and cutoffs to turtlenecks and sweaters to match dropping temps, and yet, for the first time in awhile, I’m worried about my body’s skin. So, as the season of covering up commences, I cue up Alanis Morissette’s ’90s hit “Ironic” and then search my bathroom cabinet for my Italy towel—the best, the only way—to properly exfoliate from head to toe. And it’s only $4.
Chilled-out temps and plummeting humidity levels call for a changing of the guard in one’s body-care routine. While summer is all about protection (please tell me you shelled out for the SPF 50), fall and winter are more targeted toward rehabbing dry, dead skin cells that like to park it all over your bod. Maybe it’s just me, but in summer, the body oils and the lightweight serums seem to help my skin barrier do its thing, but in winter, I need all the help.
Dermatologists tell me that happy winter skin first begins with exfoliation, because our skin cells turn over on a cycle: Every 28 days new ones are born and old ones die, and process that keeps happening forever and ever amen. Sometimes though, these skin cells are straight-up clingy and need a little help detaching from the body. “As dead cells accumulate on the surface of the skin, the skin and may appear dull,” explains Joshua Zeichner, MD a New York City dermatologist. “Regular exfoliation along with your moisturizer may even help moisturizers work better by enhancing penetration into the skin.”
While there are plenty of ways to do this via both chemical exfoliants that tap glycolic acid and physical exfoliants that utilize a grain, there’s only one Italy towel (which sure, is technically a physical exfoliant). A hallmark of K-beauty, the magic lies in the texture of the towel, which is able to lift away dead skin cells, mimicking the effects of a traditional Korean body scrub, for noticeable results in just one go.
As I sweep the Italy cloth over the surface of my skin, the dead cells ball up and pill off like nothing I’ve ever seen before—or rather like nothing I’ve ever seen before on a human.
Here’s the gist: I start by drawing myself a warm bath, where I soak for 15 minutes. This helps to soften the skin and make those dead skin cells easier to lift up (my current favorite bath addition is Ahava Lavender Dead Sea Bath Salt, $22, BTW, but just avoid any milky or oily additions as they can interfere with your results). Since the goal is to have wet skin that’s free of products, once my skins softens, I drain my bath and rinse off in the shower to make sure no soap is left. Then, I go over every surface of skin, starting with my arms and moving downward in long sweeps with the lime-green wash cloth.
As I do this, skin balls up and pills off like nothing I’ve ever seen before—or rather like nothing I’ve ever seen before on a human. Because like a snake shedding its skin, I feel like I’m molting. While the Italy towel works wonders on my limbs, stomach, and back, it’s important to note that it should be used mindfully—as in like once a week—and swapping out for a new one after ever few uses. Also, avoid tender areas—because because the cloth means business.
Out of the tub, I rehydrate skin with Kahina Giving Body Oil in Fez, $98, to strengthen the skin barrier and keep the scaly reptile skin away….I only like to feel like a reptile in the shower.
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