Title:
Exfoliation Devices and Methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exfoliation product as disclosed herein has a body formed of a flexible material and configured to have an exposed exterior surface. At least one or multiple sealed interior spaces are disposed within the body. An exposed scrubbing material is located on at least a portion of the exterior surface of the body and has mechanical exfoliating capability. The sealed interior spaces are filled with a flowable material that can submit to an applied pressure and conform to a shape of a body part applying the pressure upon the exterior surface of the exfoliation device and can maintain the conformed shape while resisting the applied pressure.



Inventors:
Williams, Ella J. (Gary, IN, US)
Application Number:
12/054036
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
03/24/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/606
International Classes:
A47K7/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
RACHUBA, MAURINA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ELLA J. WILLIAMS (GARY, IN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A filled exfoliation product comprising: a body formed of a flexible material and having an exposed exterior surface; at least one sealed interior space disposed within the body; an exposed scrubbing material located on at least a portion of the exterior surface and that has mechanical exfoliating capability; and a flowable material within the sealed space that can conform to a shape of a body part applying pressure upon the exterior surface of the exfoliation device and can maintain the conformed shape while resisting the applied pressure.

2. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the body is a mat comprising: a bottom layer of a non-rigid material having a bottom surface and an upper surface; and a top layer of a non-rigid material having a top surface and a lower surface, wherein the space is defined between the lower surface of the top layer and the upper surface of the bottom layer, and wherein the exposed scrubbing material is on at least part of the top surface of the top layer.

3. An exfoliation product according to claim 2, wherein the bottom layer and the top layer are formed of the same material.

4. An exfoliation product according to claim 2, wherein the bottom layer and the top layer are joined to one another at least around a perimeter of the product.

5. An exfoliation product according to claim 2, wherein the top layer is reinforced with a top reinforcing material layer to strengthen the non-rigid material.

6. An exfoliation product according to claim 2, wherein the bottom layer is reinforced with a bottom reinforcing material layer to strengthen the non-rigid material, and wherein the top and bottom reinforcing material layers are embedded in the non-rigid material of the top and bottom layers, respectively.

7. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the exposed scrubbing material is a mechanical exfoliation grit material.

8. An exfoliation product according to claim 7, wherein the exfoliation grit material includes multiple distinct grit regions on different portions of the exterior surface.

9. An exfoliation product according to claim 8, wherein one of the multiple distinct grit regions has a different grit than another of the multiple distinct grit regions.

10. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the exfoliation product is an appliqué with a bottom layer having a bottom surface and wherein the bottom surface includes an adhesion feature to adhere the appliqué to a surface.

11. An exfoliation product according to claim 10, wherein the adhesion feature permits removal from and subsequent reattachment to the surface.

12. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the exfoliation product is a mat having non-round a perimeter shape.

13. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the flowable material is a liquid gel material, a memory foam material, or a polyester foam material.

14. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the flowable material is a solid granular material, a pliable substance, or a movable substance.

15. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the body is in the shape of a ball and the exterior surface of the ball includes at least two distinct grit regions carried on different portions of the exterior surface, each of the grit regions having different abrasive grit characteristics.

16. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the body is an elongate strap with a pair of opposite ends, and wherein a handle with a grip is positioned on each of the ends of the strap.

17. An exfoliation product according to claim 16, wherein the strap includes two opposed sides and each of the opposed sides has a different grit than the other of the opposed sides.

18. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, further comprising: a foot tub having a bottom and an upstanding side wall extending up from a perimeter of the bottom, wherein the body is an elongate strip configured to extend across and releasably adhere to the bottom of the tub.

19. An exfoliation product according to claim 1, wherein the at least one sealed interior space includes a plurality of separate sealed chambers independent of one another within the interior of the body.

20. A skin exfoliation mat comprising: a mat body formed of a flexible material and having a top surface, a bottom surface, and a perimeter; a sealed interior space disposed within the mat body between the top and bottom surfaces; an exposed scrubbing material on at least a portion of the top surface that has mechanical exfoliating capability; and a movable material disposed within the sealed space that is capable of conforming to a shape of a body part in contact with and pressing against the top surface of the mat body and that can maintain the conformed shape and resist an applied pressure against the top surface.

21. A skin exfoliation mat according to claim 20, wherein the mat includes a raised lip extending upward from the top surface adjacent at least part of the exposed abrasive material.

22. A skin exfoliation mat according to claim 21, wherein the raised lip is positioned near and around at least a portion of the mat perimeter.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION DATA

This patent is related to and claims priority benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/896,689 entitled “Exfoliation Devices and Methods,” which was filed on Mar. 23, 2007, and which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Disclosure

The present disclosure is generally directed to exfoliation products, and more particularly to exfoliation mats, appliqués, and other products for exfoliating one's feet or other more difficult to reach extremities, wherein the products are filled with a material that can assist in the device conforming to the shape of the user's foot or other extremity.

2. Description of Related Art

Individuals often wish to massage or exfoliate epidermal layers from the bottoms of their feet or other body extremities. However, some individuals may have difficulty in reaching these extremities because of a physical limitation, whether because they suffer from a disability, are injured, are elderly, have become overweight, or the like. A number of products are known that can assist such a person in washing or scrubbing the bottoms of their feet or other extremities. These products typically are equipped with brush bristles that project or extend from an object. Some of these types of objects have an elongate handle to assist in reaching the difficult areas. Some of these types of products are instead designed so that the person can stand on the object and brush their feet against the bristles.

A number of these known products are suitable for use in a shower or bath environment. The user can either stand or sit while rubbing their feet on the bristles of the device to clean their feet bottoms. Brush bristles sometimes are not sufficiently effective to exfoliate dead skin layers, and particularly from parts of the body where such layers can become thicker and even form calluses. These types of devices tend to trap dead skin and moisture at the base of the bristles. This can cause odor to emanate from the device and trap germs on the device.

A number of known sheet or mat-like products exist that include or incorporate an exfoliating abrasive surface on a top side of the sheet of mat. U.S. Pat. No. 4,712,552 discloses a number of examples of single layer or multi-layer sheets of material with an abrasive surface on one side. U.S. published application No. 2007/0022527 discloses a mat wherein a portion of the top surface can include an exfoliating abrasive surface, such as pumice stone material. These types of products and other similar known products offer either a resilient foot contacting surface that flexes and deforms easily upon pressure applied by a users foot, reducing the effectiveness of the exfoliation process or a substantially non-deformable abrasive surface that is not capable of conforming at all to the contours of a users foot or other extremity. Thus, in order for a user to sufficiently exfoliate using a product with a resilient and highly flexible material requires the user to press down with their foot or extremity relatively hard on the surface of the product until the product surface bottoms out against a hard, non-deformable material. Alternatively, the non-deformable abrasive product requires a user to manipulate and roll their foot or other extremity significantly to adequately exfoliate different areas on the contoured surface of the extremity.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following description in conjunction with the drawing figures, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of one example of an exfoliation device incorporated into a bath mat and constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a cross section taken along line II-II of the exfoliation device in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of an alternative example of an exfoliation device in the form of a bath mat and constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a top plan view of an alternative example of an exfoliation device in the form of a bath mat and constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows a side elevation of the bath mat in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 shows a cross section taken along line VI-VI of the bath mat in FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 shows another alternative example of an exfoliation device in the form of a mat or appliqué and in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 8 shows a rear end view of the mat or appliqué in FIG. 7.

FIGS. 9-13 show various alternative exfoliation device shapes and configurations constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 14 shows a perspective view of another example of an exfoliation device in the form of a buffing strap constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 15 shows a cross section of the buffing strap taken along line XV-XV in FIG. 14.

FIG. 16 shows another example of an exfoliation device in the form of a ball constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 17 shows another example of an exfoliation ball similar to that in FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 shows another example of an exfoliation device in the form of a circular tube constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 19 shows an end view of the device in FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 shows another example of an exfoliation device in the form of an oval tube constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 21 shows an end view of the oval tube in FIG. 20.

FIG. 22 shows yet another example of an exfoliation device in the form of a mat or buffing strip constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 23 shows a cross section of the mat strip taken along line XXIII-XXIII in FIG. 22.

FIG. 24 shows a cross section of a soaking tub constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

The previously mentioned known devices are not suitable for deep massage or exfoliation. The bristles of some of these known devices are not highly suitable for applying sufficient and consistent pressure to the bottoms of a person's feet or other extremity. The bristles often will collapse, split, break away, or permanently deform over time. Sometimes, the damaged bristles will have exposed sharp or jagged tips or surfaces that can cause discomfort, scratch, or even injure a user. The bristles can trap germs and cause odor as well. Other known devices and products do not sufficiently withstand or resist the downward force applied by the user to accomplish massage or exfoliation. Some other of these devices may not be capable of any deformation to conform to the shape of a body part in contact with the device surface.

Various exfoliation devices and methods are disclosed and described herein in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. The disclosed devices and methods solve or improve upon one or more of the above-noted and other problems and disadvantages of these known products. A number of the disclosed devices can be used as a hands-free device and can render it much easier for a user to exfoliate the bottom of their feet or other extremity while at the same time reducing stress on the body. A number of the exfoliation devices disclosed herein can be mounted to or placed on a surface in a tub or shower area. A number of the disclosed devices can be utilized comfortably while standing up in a shower or while sitting down in a bath tub or the like, allowing the user to exfoliate at their leisure.

The disclosed devices can employ one or more surfaces having different, user selectable abrasive grades or grits on the same device. The user can select the surface on the device that has the desired abrasion characteristics for a particular usage. A number of exfoliation device examples are also disclosed herein that can have a desired decorative appearance and yet offer an exfoliation surface with one or more abrasive grades or grits. The disclosed exfoliation devices can be more durable than known exfoliation devices and can increase the lasting nature of a given procedure because of their ability to more deeply exfoliate during use. Additionally, the disclosed exfoliation products or devices can be rinsed clean easily, thoroughly, and immediately after use or can be machine washed to accomplish same.

Turning now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows one example of an exfoliation device 20 constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. In the disclosed example of FIG. 1, the exfoliation device 20 is configured in the form of a bath mat that is attachable two or can rest on a surface in a bathing area such as a tub or shower. In this example, the bath mat 20 includes a conventional mat portion 22 and an exfoliation portion 24 situated at one end 26 of the mat portion 22. The mat portion 22 can be of sufficient length and width to be attachable to or fit within a standard tub or shower. In this example, the mat portion 22 can be formed of any suitable known material, such as rubber, polypropylene, polyethylene, or the like, as is known in the art, and can include a plurality of holes 28 for passing water through the mat portion. The mat portion 22 can attach with suction cups, friction, or any other suitable means, or can simply rest on a surface without physical attachment.

In the disclosed example, the mat portion 22 has a generally flat configuration. In this example, the exfoliation portion 24 is configured as a raised tubular exfoliation bump positioned at one end of the mat. As depicted in FIG. 2, the raised tubular bump or exfoliation portion 24 is an enclosed structure with an exterior material layer enclosing an interior space. In this example, the exfoliation portion 24 is formed having an upper layer 30 of the material and a lower layer 32 of the material. The upper layer 30 includes a top surface 34 and a lower surface 36. A lower layer 32 includes an upper surface 38 and the bottom surface 40. In the disclosed example the bottom surface 40 faces downward while the top surface 34 faces upward and is exposed. An interior cavity is formed between the lower surface 36 and the upper surface 38 of the two layers 30 and 32 in this example. The two layers 30 and 32 can be joined to one another and the opposed ends 42 and 44 of the exfoliation portion 24 can be closed off in any suitable manner in order to create a sealed space.

The exterior material layer, and particularly the upper layer 30, should be made of a relatively resilient and flexible material. The material should also be durable and capable of withstanding repeated application of pressure upon the surface 34 and repeated exposure to hot water and the like. The material of the exfoliation portion 24 can also thus be formed from rubber, polypropylene, polyethylene, or the like as is known in the art.

The interior sealed space of the exfoliation portion 24 can be filled with a relatively high viscosity or dense but movable or flowable filler material 50. The material properties of the filler material 50 should be such that the exfoliation device can allow the surface to conform to a user's foot or other body extremity placed on and applying pressure to the surface of the exfoliation portion 24. The material 50 should also be capable of resisting the applied pressure on the surface, or at least assisting the exfoliation portion layer in resisting the applied pressure. Once pressure upon the device is removed, the filler material may be such that it is sufficiently dense or of sufficiently high viscosity so as not to immediately flow to another shape but instead maintain the conformed shape for a period of time after release of the surface pressure. However, materials may be available that are suitable for the intended use but that immediately return to a non-conformed shape upon release of the applied pressure.

In one example, the filler material 50 can be a dense, relatively high viscosity material such as a gel or other suitable liquid or semi-liquid substance. In another example, the filler material 50 can be a material identified as an elastic solid material capable of deformation upon application of pressure from a user's body. In a further example, the filler material 50 can be in the form of small, densely packed solid particles. In yet another example, the filler material 50 can be a type of relatively high density memory foam or polyester foam material. The filler material 50 of the exfoliation portion 24 can vary and yet fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, sand, glass beads, pellets, putty, clay, high viscosity gels, dense liquids, high viscosity liquids, putty- or caulk-like substances, elastic solids, gelatinous materials, or the like can be provided in the interior.

As will become evident to those having ordinary skill in the art upon reading this disclosure, the filler material 50 should be capable of performing upon application of pressure from user's body in the material layer of the exfoliation portion. The filler material 50 should also be capable of maintaining its deformed shape for a time after release of the pressure on the surface of the exfoliation portion 24. Depending upon the nature of the filler material 50, the method or manufacturing process used to fill the space can vary considerably. In the case of relatively high viscosity liquids, gels, or putties, or in the case of foams or other similar substance, the filler material could be injected into the sealed space. The injection opening could be plugged manually or automatically plugged or closed off during the manufacturing process. In another example, one end or edge of the body can be left open. The space can then be filled with a desired filler material 50 and then that edge can be closed or otherwise sealed.

At least the surface top surface 34 of the exfoliation portion 24 disclosed in FIG. 1 is provided in this example with an abrasive surface or layer 52. In the disclosed example, the abrasive surface 52 should be suitable for mechanical exfoliation or removal of dead skin from the bottom of one's foot or other extremity. In one example not shown, the abrasive layer 52 can cover a substantial majority of the exterior surface of the strip, other than the bottom surface, and have a consistent abrasive grade or grit. In another example shown in FIG. 1, the abrasive surface can be provided having two or more segments or regions 52a, 52b, 52c, etc., each having a different abrasion grade or grit characteristic. In such an example, the user can select the appropriate abrasive grade for their particular purpose during each use. In yet another example as shown in FIG. 3, an abrasive layer 52″ can have a gradual change in abrasive grade over the surface area of the layer. The grit or grade can change laterally across, longitudinally along (or both) the surface or surfaces of the exfoliation portion 24.

As with the filler material 50, the abrasive layer 52 used to form the abrasive surface and the means in which that material is applied or attached to the surface or surfaces of the exfoliation portion 24 can vary within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Additionally, the surface or surfaces of the exfoliation portion 24 to which the abrasive layer 52 is applied can vary. Depending upon the shape and configuration of the exfoliation portion 24, the abrasive layer 52 need not only be applied to an exposed top surface, but can also be applied to a front or back curved surface, side edges, ends, or the like of the exfoliation portion. The abrasive layer 52 can be in-molded into the surface material or can be applied to a carrier layer that is attached to or in-molded onto the exterior surface of the filled or raised exfoliation portion. The material used to create the abrasive layer 52 can also vary considerably. In one example, the grit material can be ground up stone, such as pumice, or the like. Other materials can also certainly be utilized, such as sand or silica, aluminum oxide granules, ground up walnut shells, apricot pits, or the like. However, the grit material is preferably of a nature so as to be flexible during use to conform to the changing shape of the device and yet provide significant abrasive characteristics in order to be suitable for exfoliation purposes.

In the example of FIG. 1, the exfoliation portion 24 can be integrally formed as a part of the mat portion 22 and from the same material as the mat portion. The interior space of the exfoliation portion 24 can then be filled or injected, surface treated with abrasive material, and sealed. Alternatively, the exfoliation portion 24 can be separately manufactured and be removable from and attachable to the mat portion 22 as shown in the alternative example of FIG. 3. The bath mat 20 can be provided of a generally traditional construction suitable for placement on a bath or basin surface. An edge or other location on the bath mat can be provided with the connection device 54 for connecting or otherwise attaching the exfoliation portion 24 to the mat portion 22 for use only when desired. The exfoliation portion 24 in this example can thus be removed from the bath mat portion 22 when it is not needed. In one example, the exfoliation device or bath mat 20 can include a separate exfoliation portion 24 and mat portion 22 that can both be provided with cooperating connection device components. The connection device can be snaps, buttons, hook and loop fastener material strips, linear interlocking strips or zipper-like elements, adhesive strips suitable for wet or dry usage, or the like. The connection device 54 need only be suitable for attaching and releasing the exfoliation portion 24 from the mat portion 22. Other examples of connection devices 54 certainly can fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

In one example, the exfoliation portion can be a generally flatter mat structure (see FIGS. 4-6) that is attachable or removable to or from a surface or edge of the bath mat portion. In another example as shown in FIGS. 1-3, the exfoliation device can be a flatter bodied structure, such as a tube, roll, or the like. Any such exfoliation portions can be constructed as disclosed herein and that either can attach to a surface or edge of a bath mat portion or are integrally formed as a part of a bath mat portion. The length, width, shape, contour, and vertical depth of the exfoliation portion of the bath mats shown and described herein can vary within the scope of the invention.

With that in mind, FIGS. 4-6 show another example of an exfoliation device 60 that also includes a bath mat portion 62 similar to the bath mat portion 22 described above. In this example, the exfoliation device 60 also includes an exfoliation portion 64 that can either be integrally formed as a part of or removably attached to the bath mat portion 62. In this example, the exfoliation portion 64, as noted above, as a flatter more mat-like construction. However, FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate that the exfoliation portion 64 is generally similar and construction to the previously described exfoliation portion 24. Specifically, the exfoliation portion 64 is also an enclosed structure with an exterior material layer enclosing an interior space. In this example, the portion 64 has an upper layer 66 and a lower layer 68 of the material. The upper layer 66 has a top surface 70 in the lower surface 72. The lower layer 68 has an upper surface 74 and a bottom surface 76. As in the previous example, the bottom surface 76 faces downward while the top surface 70 faces upward and is exposed. An interior cavity is formed between the lower surface 72 and of the upper surface 74 of the two layers 66 and 68. As in the prior example, the interior cavity can be filled with a filler material 50 with the same characteristics as described above.

In this example, the exfoliation portion 64 has a perimeter 78 and is configured to resemble a recognizable object, and in this particular example, a flower petal or sea shell like object. Thus, the exfoliation portion 64 in this example includes a plurality of petal regions 80a, 80b, 80c, 80d, 80e, etc. In the example of FIGS. 4-6, each petal region object can have an abrasive layer or surface 52 having a different abrasive surface grade or grit, if desired. Thus a user can select a particular region to perform a desired exfoliation function on the bottom of their foot or other bodily extremity.

As best illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, a portion of the perimeter 78 can include a raised bead, a lip, rib 82, or the like. As indeed it can be formed as a second portion of the upper layer 66 in this example, or can alternatively be formed in other suitable ways. Also, a surface 84 of the perimeter bead 82, and particularly one that faces and is adjacent to the abrasive layers are surfaces 52, can also include an abrasive surface 52. The combination of the abrasive surface 52 on the surface 84 and the location and height of the bead 82 can assist a user when sitting to apply pressure against the back of their heel. This can allow substantial exfoliation to the back and side surfaces of the users he'll and not just the bottom of the foot. Also, this feature can allow a person, when standing, to exfoliate underneath and between their toes, as well as on the sides of their foot and toes.

As will become evident to those having ordinary skill in the art upon reading this disclosure, the disclosed exfoliation devices, and particularly the exfoliation portions, can be utilized and configured as separate components eliminating the bath mat portions described above. Exfoliating mats can be produced as stand-alone items. Smaller exfoliating appliqués can also be produced as stand-alone items. The disclosed exfoliation devices can be configured so as to be useful in professional salon or pedicure services and thus can be disposable or have disposable components. Additionally, many different shapes and variations of exfoliation devices can be configured and yet fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. The perimeter shape of the disclosed exfoliation devices and/or portions can vary and be configured to resemble virtually any desired object. The devices and portions can also be configured to have an aesthetically pleasing configuration as desired. Each of these appliqués, mats, devices, and exfoliation portions can be configured as described above and include the filler material 50 on an interior of the object and include one or more abrasive surfaces or layers 52 on an exterior of the object.

FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate one example of a decorative appliqué 90 configured to resemble a fish. In this example, the appliqué 90 can have a bottom surface 92 with an adhesive or other attachment mechanism that is configured to adhere the appliqué 92 to a surface, such as a tub surface. The appliqué can be applied in an environment and meet a dual purpose. One of the purposes can be for enhancing the aesthetic appearance of the environment in which the appliqué 90 is used. The other purpose is, obviously within the spirit and scope of the invention, for use as an exfoliation device. The configuration and shape of the appliqué can vary considerably and yet fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. In the disclosed example, the appliqué includes a number of surface features and contours which define a plurality of regions 94a, 94b, 94c, etc. on the exposed surface of the appliqué 90. As before, these regions can employ an abrasive layer or surface 52 as desired. These surfaces can also have a different grit, the same grit, and the like, also as desired.

FIGS. 9-13 illustrate additional examples of product shapes that can employ the teachings of the present invention. FIGS. 9-11 illustrate to alternative exfoliation mat devices constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate a generally rectangular mat 110 constructed similar to the exfoliation portion 64 described previously. Specifically, the mat 110 has a top surface 112, a bottom surface 114, and an interior cavity around a not shown) that is filled with the filler material. In this example, the mat 110 includes a plurality of abrasive surface regions on the top surface 112. A mat 110 has a pair of spaced apart foot-shaped abrasive regions 116 having the same abrasive grit and a central region 118 of different abrasive grit than the foot-shaped regions 116. FIG. 11 shows a mat 120 with spaced apart strips 122 of abrasive material on a top surface 124. In this example, each of the strips 122 can have a different abrasive grit selectable by a user. Many other configurations and constructions are possible that would fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. In addition, the bottom surfaces of these mats can also employ a non-slip or other type of attachment mechanism so that the mats can be utilized in a tub or shower area and can remain in place during use.

FIG. 12 shows a round exfoliation mat 100 with a number of abrasive regions 102a, 102b, 102c, 102d on the top surface of the mat. As with the prior examples, the regions having different grades or grits and the mat 100 can be filled with a filler material 50. FIG. 13 shows a half circle shaped mat 104 with otherwise similar features in comparison to the mat 100. Each of the mats 100 and 104 can have a filled thickness and construction otherwise similar to the exfoliation portion 64 of the device 60 as described above, for example. Certainly other shapes and configurations are possible within the spirit and scope of the present invention. The size, shape, configuration, and thickness of the various alternative products can vary and yet perform as intended.

Another example of an exfoliation device in the form of a buffing strap 130 is shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. In this example, the disclosed strap 130 has an elongate body 132 with a pair of opposed ends 134. A handle or loop 134 is respectively attached to each end 134 of the body 132. Each handle 136 has a grip 138 that can be grasped and held by a user and an outer surface 140 of the body can be placed under the user's foot, between their toes, or against another surface of a bodily extremity. The handles 136 can be manipulated by the user to slide the surface 140 laterally back and forth across the bottom of their foot in a reciprocating motion to exfoliate or massage the bottom and sides of the user's foot, between the user's toes, and the like.

In one example, the exterior surface 140 of the body 132 can include one or more abrasive surface regions as previously described that are configured to exfoliate or remove dead skin from the user's foot. In the example shown, the surface 140 on one side of the body 132 has a first abrasive region 142 and the surface on the other side of the body has a second abrasive region 144 having a different abrasive characteristic than the first region 142. A user can orient the strap 130 to expose the selected region 142 or 144 to their skin, as desired. In another example, one or more surface regions (not shown) on the body can be provided with raised or contoured surface features that can massage the bottom of a user's foot. In a further example, both such surface features can be provided on the exterior surface of the body. In one such example, one side of the body can employ a foot massage surface contour and the other side of the body can employ a skin abrasion or exfoliation type surface. As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art, the surface characteristics of the body can vary within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

The body 132 of the exfoliation device or strap 130 shown in FIGS. 14 and 15 can in cross section be a circular cylinder, an elliptical cylinder, a generally flat or oval cylinder, or other shape. In one example, the body can be filled with a filler material 50 as described above. The filler material 50 can assist in massaging the foot or other bodily extremity while also assisting the surface of the strap 130 to conform to the contour of the user's extremity as described previously. The filler material 50 in the strap 130 should be flexible allowing the strap to be bent or curved around the user's foot or other extremity during use.

The various exposed regions 142, 144, or other surfaces on the body 132 can each be formed or treated with the appropriate abrasive and/or massage surface characteristics as desired. The handles 136 can also vary in configuration and construction. The handles can be rope, plastic, rubber, or other material that are adhered, sewn, removably attached, or integrally molded or formed of the same material as the body. In an alternative example of the invention, the handles 136 and grips 138 can be removable from the body and the body can be utilized in a different exfoliating manner. In one example, the strap 130 without the handles 136 can be configured for placement in a foot tub as disclosed and described below. In another example, the body 132 without the handles 136 can be utilized as a foot manipulatable exfoliation device, also as described below.

The body 132 can be formed of any suitable, flexible material or combination of materials, such as rubber, fabric, or the like. As with all of the disclosed devices, the strap body 132 can be formed of a waterproof material for shower or bath use. The body can also be configured from a material or materials so as to be machine washable. Alternatively, the body can be configured from materials so as to be suitable only for dry use or for use in both wet and dry environments. Additionally, the body can be filled with a suitable dense but movable filler material 50 to assist in buffing greater surface area as the body conforms to the user's foot during use. As with the mats and appliqués discussed previously, the length, size, and shape of the strap 132 can vary within the spirit and scope of the present invention and is not intended to be limited only the shape and configuration shown in the illustrated example.

FIGS. 16-21 illustrate additional alternative examples of exfoliation devices in accordance with the invention. In these examples, a body is provided that can be moved and manipulated by the user's foot to achieve efficient exfoliation and comfort. FIG. 16 shows a ball 150 that has an exterior surface 152 with a variety of different abrasive grade or grit regions 154, 156, and 158. The interior of the ball can be filled with a suitable filler material 50 as described previously. The user can roll and move the ball 150 to expose a selected surface region. They then can knead the ball 150 with their foot to remove dead skin cells. The ball 150 can be polyester filled, foam filled, open or closed cell foam with no filler, or filled with any other suitable materials, such as any of those noted previously. The ball can also be formed having a waterproof skin or outer layer for tub or bath use. The ball 150 can be manufactured in any suitable manner to fill the body and add the abrasive surface texture or regions 154, 156, 158, etc. During use, the surface of the ball will conform to the user's foot and will resist pressure applied by the user's foot, as a result of the filler material 50, to provide a more efficient exfoliation procedure.

FIG. 17 shows a similar ball 160 with different abrasive grade regions 154, 156, and 158, but with a stem 162 and a flat bottom 164 on the stem. The bottom 164 of the stem 162 can have an adhesive layer 166 or some other mechanism for attaching the ball 160 to a surface. The ball 162 can be manipulated about the stem 162, but the adhesive layer 166 or other mechanism will hold the ball in place so that a user can more easily apply great pressure with their feet without having to keep the ball from rolling.

FIGS. 18-21 illustrate still further examples of movable or rollable products similar to the ball of FIG. 16, but with non-spherical shapes. FIGS. 18 and 19 show a tube or cylinder 170 that can be rolled to expose a desired surface region 154, 156, 158 for exfoliation. FIGS. 20 and 21 show an oval tube or pad 172 that can be flipped using one's feet to expose either side of the pad. The two sides of the pad can also be provided with various regions 154, 156, and 158 having different surface characteristics or abrasive grades or grits. In each of these examples, the user can sit in a chair, roll the product to expose the desired surface on the product, hold the product in place with one foot, and/or knead the product with one foot or the other to exfoliate their feet. As with ball 150, each of the similar devices 160, 170, and 172 can also be formed of any suitable material or material combination and be filled with a suitable filler material 50.

FIGS. 22 and 23 show yet another example of an exfoliation device in accordance with the invention. In this example, the device is in the form of a mat strip 180 that can be attachable to a surface in a bathing area such as a soaking tub, bathtub, or shower. In one example, the strip 180 can be provided of sufficient length to be attachable to a foot soaking tub 182 as shown in FIG. 22. In the disclosed example, the buffing strip 180 has a bottom side 184 with an adhesive material 186 or other attachment mechanism on the bottom side. The adhesive material 186 can be any suitable adhesive such as a pressure sensitive adhesive, a removable paper strip adhesive, a reusable adhesive, or the like. Alternatively, the adhesive material can be replaced by any other suitable connecting mechanism such as suction cups, hooks, snaps, or the like. The tub 182 can be provided with a portion of the connecting mechanism, if desired. The strip 180 can be applied to a desired surface and retained in place by the adhesive or other mechanism. The strip can be configured for repeated use, or can be configured for use in a professional salon environment and be disposable after use for and by a single customer.

The disclosed strip 180 also includes an interior filled with a filler material 50 as described previously. The strip 180 also has an exposed exterior surface with a top side 190 that has one or more abrasive surface characteristics thereon. The exterior surface of the exfoliation strip, including the top side 190, can be provided with a single grit abrasive layer 192 as shown, or with a multi-grit or multi-grade abrasive surface similar to that previously described. The abrasive material on the exterior surface can also vary in this example, as long as it is capable of exfoliation. A user can place there foot on the appropriate surface location and knead their foot on the strip 180 to impart removal of dead skin cells. Again, the length, width, and vertical depth of the strip can vary. In one example, the strip can be about two inches in depth to yield good deformation and foot contour conformity. The material used to form the strip can also vary. In one example, the material should be waterproof so that the strip can be utilized in a soaking tub, bath tub, or shower area.

In the disclosed example, the tub 182 has a bottom 194 and a perimeter side wall 196 extending up from the bottom. The strip 180 can be laid across the bottom 194 and extended up the opposed interior surfaces of the side wall 196. Though not shown, the grit or abrasive material 192 on the strip 180 can extend to the parts of the strip 198 on the side walls 196 of the tub 182 such that a user can exfoliate the sides of the their foot or heel during soaking. In this example, the tub 182 can be filled with water and a user can soak and exfoliate their feet simultaneously. The filler material 50 in the strip 180 will assist in providing an efficient, thorough, and deep exfoliation procedure.

FIG. 24 shows a section through an alternative example of a foot soaking tub 200 constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. In this example, the tub has a bottom 202 and a side wall 204 extending up from a perimeter of the bottom. The bottom 202 in this example includes one or more elevated foot support surfaces 206 that is angled or inclined relative to the plane of the bottom 202. The foot support surface 206 in this example has a filled exfoliation layer 208. The layer 208 is filled with a filler material 50 as previously described. The layer 208 also has a top surface with an exfoliating abrasive layer 210 exposed thereon, also as previously described. In this example, a user can fill the tub, place their feet on the one or more inclined support surfaces 206, and soak and/or exfoliate the bottoms of their feet. The abrasive layer 210 can extend up parts of the side wall 204 so that a user can exfoliate the sides of the feet, if desired. The layer 210 in this example can also be configured as a durable, reusable surface or as disposable layer.

As will be evident to those having ordinary skill in the art, the various exfoliation devices, mats, appliqués, and the like that are disclosed and described herein can offer surface characteristics with varying or alternate different abrasive grips can vary in configuration and construction and yet fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. For those examples of the invention, the intent is to provide a device that allows the user to select the particular abrasive surface grit to achieve a desired result. The surface selected can be from an array of two or more different abrasive surfaces offered or presented on a surface of the exfoliation device. Similarly, the examples disclosed herein can offer a gradually changing abrasive grit surface that allows a user to select a portion of the surface that will achieve a desired exfoliation goal whether the abrasion characteristics desired are fine, medium, course, or other surface abrasion. Clearly, any of the disclosed devices, appliqués, mats, or the like can also include a surface grit layer with only a single consistent abrasive grit characteristic. Any type of surface grit arrangement disclosed herein can be utilized on any of the devices disclosed herein.

Returning again to FIG. 6 for example, any one of the devices disclosed herein can include a plurality of separately sealed cavities or spaces within the body of the device. In the example of FIG. 6, each of the petals or panel regions 80 has an entirely independent sealed space within the region. In one example, these independent sealed spaces can be formed by pinching off the upper and lower layers 66 and 68 where desired to separate spaces within the cavity. In such an embodiment, a user can apply pressure to one of the regions without affecting the shape or usage of any of the other regions. Employing smaller independent regions may also enhance the resistance to apply pressure upon a given region. The smaller the space, the less room for the filler material 52 flow away from the applied pressure.

During use, a user can place there foot on the appropriate surface location and knead their foot on the device against the surface to impart removal of dead skin cells. Pressure placed on the exterior surface of the devices disclosed herein will result in the filler material 50, and thus the surface in contact with the user's bodily extremity, conforming to the shape of the extremity. The high viscosity or high density of the filler material will move and conform to the shape of the extremity, but will resist the pressure applied by the user. Thus, the filler material will result in a consistent exfoliating treatment over the entire surface of the extremity in contact with the abrasive surface on the disclosed devices. For example, if the user presses their foot against a surface of one of the disclosed devices, they can move or knead their foot against the exterior surface while the abrasive surface and filler material resist the applied pressure.

Although certain exfoliation products have been shown and described herein in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure, the scope of coverage of this patent is not limited thereto. On the contrary, this patent covers all embodiments of the teachings of the disclosure that fairly fall within the scope of permissible equivalents.