How I discovered the little-known exfoliating Turkish bath mitt is a tale I’m fond of…
When visiting Istanbul, Turkey 12 years ago, I entered a hamam, or Turkish bath, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus strait.
And it was there that I encountered an entirely new dimension of exfoliation, unknown to me from my time in the West.
I’d been to saunas before. But what really surprised me about the hamam experience was being approached by a sturdy female attendant in the middle of my visit…
This woman clearly knew what she was doing, as she lifted up one of my arms and brusquely swiped it down several times with a rough glove.
She did the same thing to my other arm, then to my back, chest, legs… and then moved immediately on to the next… customer…
Imagine my shock when I looked down to see myself covered with literally rolls and rolls of dead skin!
The unneeded upper layers of skin practically rained off me, like a bad paint job peeling off a building.
I was morbidly fascinated.
How was it… that I didn’t know this?
That I didn’t know that I needed to be that exfoliated. That I had this much detritus built up on the surface of my skin…
Months and years went by, but somewhere deep down, I just couldn’t forget that experience.
I didn’t want it to be just a one time thing in my life!
I didn’t want to walk around resigned to gross, rough layers of dead skin clogging my pores.
But I also couldn’t make it back to Turkey any time soon…
Discovering “The Glove”
How could I get that glove? Surely, it must have a name…..
It seemed like a crazy, genius idea of mine in the moment. But then again – in this globalized world I figured that I could find nearly anything I was looking for online.
Through some fairly quick research I tracked down the name of the glove, which I now know is called a “kese”.
And I learned it’s actually not a glove but a rough mitt.
A kese can be woven out of a variety of materials, including horsehair, tree bark, and cocoon silk.
At the end of the day, what it does is simple exfoliation – allowing your pores to “breathe.”
But when I got the kese home, read the instructions and started using it in my bathroom… it was just like I experienced in Turkey. The in-the-moment results were dramatic, spectacular…
And I still use it today.
It’s honestly so interesting to watch all this gray “debris” come off my body….
I’ve never seen skin come off me in 2 inch long rolls with a salt or sugar scrub…
And, yes, my skin is always smooth and soft afterward, as the kese reveals the next layer of new, younger skin.
I’ve always had a recurring issue with light bumps on the back of my arms – and the mitt takes them right off!
Other claimed benefits are: increased circulation, including lymphatic circulation, and prevention and lessening of cellulite, prevention of certain types of bumps, acne, and blackheads.
How to Use the Exfoliating Turkish Bath Mitt
Most sellers online recommend that you use it no more than once a week.
The mitt is abrasive and can lead to raw skin if there’s not enough of a dead skin layer to take off, or if you use it too often, or too aggressively.
You want to start with a light pressure, on skin that’s been exposed to water for around 15 minutes.
It’s recommended NOT to use soap. Why, you may ask?
Well, soap makes things too slippery, and this interferes with the traction the kese needs to do its job.
You want your skin softened, loosened up, and ready to slough off. Which means that after a steam bath is a perfect time to use the kese too.
Tips for Buying a Kese Online
A kese is usually not expensive. At the time of this writing (2017), it can be gotten for under $10 each.
And once you have it — it lasts several years! (at least mine have).
Most places online estimate a 3-5 year lifespan, if you wash and let the kese dry properly each time.
I’ve recently read online that you can boil them after each use… But please check with your manufacturer to confirm that this is true for YOUR particular kese!
I ordered mine each time from an Ebay seller in Turkey. And it came in a prompt fashion with no duty fees.
I’ve only ever ordered 1 or 2 kese at a time, from Turkey to New York each time.
To me the kese is yet another brilliantly simple technology we can use from a culture that’s figured something out we in the West haven’t!
To me, it’s a good feeling to know I’m doing this for myself, and my best level of health.
It’s also neat to feel like I’m taking the best knowledge of other cultures around the world, and learning something from them.
And there you have it – my experience with the legendary exfoliating Turkish bath mitt!
Oh, and by the way… If you’d like to keep learning more about simple hacks for boosting your health and well-being, sign up for my email list!