Superficial grooming

Superficial grooming only concerns the top of the epidermis, where the cells are dead.
Superficial grooming examples.

Superficial grooming is the natural way to remove the crust of dead skin cells that develops at the top of your epidermis.
No masks, abrasives or treatments can compare with your sensitive nails to accomplish this delicate operation.
If the cells aren't dislodged, they pile up and form a coat that thickens all your life, making your skin look dull, unattractive and old-looking.

Pressure or superficial grooming?

The goal of pressure grooming is to unfold the skin.
While the objective of superficial grooming is to remove dead skin cells from the top of the epidermis.

95% pressure grooming, 5% superficial grooming

Superficial grooming covers only a few aspects of your needs and should not represent more than 5% of your grooming activities.
Your skin is deeply folded and only pressure strokes can open up and flatten the folds.
However, for your nails and fingertips, your skin is immensely vast; it's your body's largest organ.
Superficial grooming lets you cover large areas quickly and detect areas that need pressure grooming.
You will find that you get faster results when you group up to four fingers together and use both hands.

Basic superficial grooming information

The auto-renewing epidermis

Every day, at the bottom of your epidermis, millions of new skin cells are produced, through mitosis or cell division.
These cells get flattened and hardened as they get pushed up the epidermis by new ones.
The process, called desquamation, takes close to a month.
When they reach the corneal layer, the top of your skin, the cells are dead.

Desquamation functioning erratically

At that point, the dead skin scales are supposed to detach themselves, cell by cell, flake by flake.

Epidermis renewal, when it works.

Regrettably, the process gives imperfect results and dead skin cells pile up and harden here and there.
Your skin thickens and ages, your folds deepen.

Superficial grooming completes the desquamation

The top of the corneal layer of the epidermis (the one that you see) has to be removed using superficial grooming techniques.

Epidermis to be groomed off with superficial grooming
Dead cells to be groomed away from the top of the corneal layer.

Scraping your skin with your nails, with light to moderate pressure, rakes off the dead cells from the surface.
The cells that you remove are those that show your age and make you less attractive.

Four-finger superficial grooming

Four-finger superficial grooming strokes

Grouping four fingers together to superficially groom your skin goes four times faster than using single-finger strokes (see below).

How to perform four-finger superficial grooming

Superficial grooming nail position
Put all four nails in line.

•1 Align your nails, except the thumb, so that their extremities line up and that they put relatively equal pressure on the skin.

Superficial grooming nail rake
The nail rake.

•2 Rake your skin with a back and forth motion.

Superficial grooming stroke

Only apply a gentle to moderate pressure on your epidermis, mostly during the pulling phase of your gesture.
Vary the pressure depending on the type of skin you meet.
Only pass a few times over a given sector of skin.
Move your grooming hand so that you continuously work on a different area.

Don't confuse with scratching

Though this stroke resembles scratching, it is much slower and you apply less pressure on your skin.

Difference between superficial grooming and scratching

Single-finger superficial grooming

For precise work

Use single-finger superficial grooming strokes on delicate or hard to reach places.

Some parts of your body are too uneven, small or hard to reach to permit four-finger grooming; so use only one.
Using one single finger is more reliable and safe, mostly when working on delicate or damaged skin.

How to perform single-finger superficial grooming

Rake your skin with your nail, while moving your hand to cover all the area you want to groom.
Put very little pressure on your nail; its passage on the skin should be just enough to dislodge dead skin cells.

Single-finger grooming
Use any finger you want.

You generally use the finger you feel the most comfortable with, but sometimes, another finger may be stronger or better angled to do the job.
Though it makes sense to stay longer in problematic places, you might damage the skin if you groom the same sector for too long.
Groom every inch of your body.
The skin under your feet is very sensitive and ticklish. You may prefer using pressure grooming techniques in that area.

Two-handed superficial grooming

Getting the job done

Two-handed superficial grooming strokes examples.
Some are symmetrical, some are not, but all are synchronized.

You can double the speed of your grooming by using both hands.
Any area large enough to fit two grooming hands side-by-side is a good candidate.

Synchronized two-handed grooming

You'll get better results by placing your hands close together and moving them back and forth jointly as a synchronized pair.

Symmetrical two-handed grooming

Since your body is symmetrical, it makes sense to groom similar locations on both sides at the same time. 

The central vertical fold on the human body
Your body is symmetrical.
The center fold divides it into two halves

Symmetry occurs when you groom the same places on each side of your body simultaneously.
Groom your left side with your left hand, while grooming your right side with your right hand, except for your arms.

Grooming both sides of the vertical central fold
You can use symmetrical two-handed strokes for both superficial and pressure grooming.

Resort to symmetrical two-handed grooming as much as you can, because it's very effective and easy to execute.

Extended strokes in unconfined areas

In large, open expanses of skin, where your nails can glide unhindered, you can lengthen your superficial grooming strokes.
Instead of using a short back and forth motion, extend the distance your nails travel by several inches.

You can extend your strokes on long body parts.

Superficial grooming recommendations

Grooming your whole body superficially

Grooming superficially from head to toes is a challenging endeavor.
You can spend several hours doing it if you have enough free time, but for most of us living a regular life, the task has to be done quickly.
Some will prefer grooming their body section by section, when they feel the need to do so.
In the end though, some areas may be practically forgotten and left ungroomed.
My recommendation is that you carry out speedy whole-body superficial grooming sessions.
In order to cover such a large surface, you will have to use broad covering techniques, such as four-finger and two-handed grooming.
Afterwards, you will feel your skin tingle with pleasure for several minutes.

Superficial grooming; a daily skin treatment

Grooming your skin superficially should become an activity that you perform often.
Reducing the thickness of your corneal layer is a long-term undertaking and it needs to be continuously redone.

Since this work is time consuming, try to;
Groom while doing something else,
Find specific times in your daily schedule,
Use two-handed and extended strokes.

Grooming someone else superficially

I advise against grooming another person using pressure grooming techniques, but superficial work is OK.
Some portions of the body allow for simultaneous grooming by both performers, but many areas will demand that you take turns.
Make sure the grooming time remains equal for both participants.

Cleaning your nails

While grooming superficially, you rake up dead cells from the top of your epidermis and it only takes a few minutes before the space between your nails and fingertips fills up with the skin you've removed.
This unsightly goo will bear the same color as your tan.
It accumulates and, at some point, it starts hindering the effectiveness of your grooming.
Even if your nails look disgusting, I've not encountered any hygienic or health problem linked to this condition.
The only solution is to periodically visit the nearest sink to wash off the grub.

Searching for pressure grooming candidates

As you pass your nails over every part of your body while grooming superficially, you will encounter cutaneous problems in many areas.
You may find bumps, holes, folds and all kinds of skin deformations.
In some places, you'll discover pain.
You can switch to pressure grooming and take care of them right away or you can make a mental note of those areas so that you can attend to them later.

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