Exfoliation can either help your skin look its best or dry and irritate it. It’s time to learn the do’s and don’ts of exfoliation to get the best results for your skin.
What is exfoliation and what does it do?
We all go through a natural process of healthy exfoliation. Our skin sheds millions of dead cells on a daily basis. Approximately every 27 days our skin regenerates itself by shedding the topmost layer. This top layer is the body’s protective barrier so you can imagine after 27 days that layer has been through a tough time and needs replacing with newer, stronger cells.
What types of exfoliation are there?
There are three types of exfoliation: natural, mechanical, and chemical. Natural is the usual cycle your body regularly goes through to ensure new cells are applied to the skin. Mechanical is the act of physically exfoliating the skin with an ingredient scrub or an abrasive device such as a brush or a sponge. Chemical is the use of a formula on the skin like an enzyme or an acid.
Should I exfoliate and how often?
Everyone can benefit from exfoliation. Your skin type will determine the type and what frequency works best for you. If you have oily or thick skin, you may benefit from more frequent, or even daily, exfoliation. If you have sensitive or thin skin, you may benefit from just one exfoliation session a week. Like with any skin care routine, it is crucial to not only listen to your body but to know what to do and what not to do in order to prevent any damage to your precious skin. If you are ever unsure, please consult your skin care professional!
What CAN I do?
- DO know your skin type. This will help you to accurately determine what type of exfoliation you should use as well as the frequency.
- DO listen to your skin and let it dictate how often or what type of exfoliation to use. If your skin is becoming irritated or dry then stop what you’re doing immediately and figure out what you’re doing wrong (too often? too hard? wrong exfoliation method?).
- DO exfoliate at night. This allows the skin to properly heal and regenerate itself. The body repairs itself while you are asleep, and by removing your dead skin before bedtime, you are allowing the new cells to regenerate more effectively.
- DO choose a gentle, soft brush or buffer when mechanically exfoliating your skin. Rough and stiff brushes can break, scrape, and damage the skin which can lead to broken blood vessels and unsightly marks.
- DO choose gentle chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are best for dry, normal, and aging skin because they are water soluble, prevent moisture loss, and help to brighten the skin. Good AHAs to look for are citric acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid (no more than 8%), and mandelic acid. Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are great for oily and acne-prone skin because they are tougher, oil soluble, and powerful enough to dig deep into the pores to remove stubborn dirt and debris. Good AHAs to look for are salicylic acid, benzoic acid, and butyric acid.
- DO patch test chemical exfoliants to make sure you won’t suffer from an allergic reaction.
What should I NOT do?
- DON’T over exfoliate. Skin that is over exfoliated will not heal properly and will not retain proper moisture which will lead to cracked, dry skin, redness, and early signs of aging. Pay attention to how your skin reacts during and after exfoliating to gauge how often exfoliation is necessary for your skin.
- DON’T use a hard bristled brush, cloth, or loofa to exfoliate. These can cause tears and damage to the skin.
- DON’T exfoliate irritated or dry skin. You’ll be causing more harm than good.
- DON’T use a scrub with uneven or tiny granules. Uneven granules can cut and damage the skin, while tiny granules can become lodged into pores and can cause blockage and infections.
- DON’T sunbathe after exfoliating as your skin will be more sensitive to UV rays.
Products we LOVE to exfoliate with: