Said glove is inexplicably called The Italy Towel, despite its Korean origins. It has over 600 reviews on Amazon that are as glowing as the skin they are purported to reveal. But is this little “glove” really the holy grail exfoliator that I’ve heard it is?
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Why should I even want to exfoliate? Doesn’t my skin know what it’s doing? What’s the benefit of sloughing layers off of it?
Well, it’s true that skin more or less takes care of itself. Considering it is mostly healthy and hydrated, skin operates on a 28-day cycle where softer, live cells at the bottom layer of the epidermis harden up and work their way up to the surface where they eventually die. When they flake off, the new cells underneath can shine through. This process goes on all the time whether we’re aware of it or not, but certain things (like dehydration, sun damage, skin disorders, age) can slow it down. When this process slows down, skin takes on a dull appearance and you can start to see an uneven tone. Dead skin cells can start building up, too, creating a barrier that will stop lotion and other moisturizers from fully getting absorbed. Horror of horrors.
Exfoliation—whether physical (aka mechanical) or chemical—encourages those dull, dead and dying skin cells to keep it moving while also promoting the newer, nicer baby skin cells to bring their A Game. But not all exfoliators are created equal. Most scrubs on the market are made with uneven, jagged particles that basically make them into basically sandpaper in a tub. I’ll admit—in my youth I thought these were the end-all, be-all. But as I’ve gotten older and actually found myself NEEDING to exfoliate, they leave much to be desired. When it comes to my face, I prefer gentle chemical exfoliation (personally I swear by my AHA 30% + BHA 2% peeling solution from The Ordinary), but there’s no way I’m slathering that all over my elbows, knees, legs, and arms to get glowing skin in time for summer.
So I turned to this mit that I read about on Vogue, and NY Magazine’s The Cut. Surprisingly, I was able to find these cloths, called jjimjilbang at Korean spas, on Amazon for under $5. I read review after review after testimonial after testimonial of people who swear these things took a pound of dirt and grime off their bodies. That after a session with these, their tubs were coated in disgusting little pills of dead skin.
The most effective area I found on these were my elbows. They took off all my winter scaliness with minimum effort. Honestly, I think these are worth the cost just for how quickly they handled them.I wanted this experience more than anything else. I hit “buy” and once my little mits came in the mail I practically ripped the package open. I only wanted to use these on my body, so I hopped in the shower and waited a little, per other users’ suggestions. I scrubbed, and I scrubbed, and I scrubbed, but alas, I only experienced a minimum of pilling, sloughed-off skin.
As for life-changing, megawatt-glowy skin? Eh. I’m going to give this exfoliating glove another go after a longer soak in the tub, but I’m only cautiously optimistic. I would say these cloths are good for someone with truly rough spots they’re looking to buff off, otherwise I’m not sure the constant scrubbing is worth it. Oh and one more thing: Wash these SUPER regularly (or throw them out after a scrub down), particularly if you’re acne prone, because bacteria might be good for your gut, but it’s not the best for squeaky clean pores!
A few more ways to naturally support healthy, glowing skin:
- Sip this for smooth, supple, silky skin
- Natural anti-aging skincare
- A Vitamin C serum to brighten and firm (for under $50)
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