You probably already know you should be exfoliating regularly to achieve and keep a healthy glow, but with so many options and logistics involved it can seem all too daunting. If your skin has been on the drier, dull and lackluster side lately, then it's definitely time to drop that Apricot scrub and check out our exfoliation run down to avoid making mistakes and get your revived glow on properly!
What Is Exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the removal process of dead skin cells on the outer most layer of the skin. Exfoliation is an important process as the skin naturally produces dead skin cells every 25-45 days usually depending on age. As we age this process slows down. Exfoliation helps by removing dead skin cells thereby sending a message to the body to produce new skin cells or “daughter cells”. A lack of exfoliation means an accumulation of dead skin that can clog pores and give the skin a dull and even “grayish” color.
Every type of exfoliation may not work for every skin type, it’s important to consider your skin type before choosing an exfoliation method:
Sensitive skin may sting or burn after product use
Normal skin is clear and not sensitive
Dry skin is flaky, itchy or rough
Oily skin is shiny and greasy
Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others
There are two main methods for at-home exfoliation — mechanical and chemical — and the method you choose should be guided by your skin type. Mechanical exfoliation uses a tool, such as a brush or sponge, or a scrub to physically remove dead skin cells via crushed shells, seeds, oil beads or plastic beads. Chemical exfoliation uses chemicals, such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, or enzymes to work deeper to loosen the cellular "glue" and dissolve away dead skin cells.
Choose your Weapon | Pro- Tips
- If using a physical facial scrub, make sure the exfoliating beads are natural (not plastic), small and spherical in order not to cause micro-lacerations or scarring. Seeds, shells, sugar, salt and other non-spherical exfoliants are best left for body scrubs as they are too abrasive for delicate facial skin.
- Active acneic skin can sometimes become irritated by using a rotary brush due to inflamed skin tearing and spreading bacteria. Therefore, enzymes and/or alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids such as those found in chemical peels are better alternatives when active breakouts are present.
- Mature skin is too sensitive for harsh exfoliation (dense head rotary brush). Best to manually exfoliate.
- Over exfoliation is possible and can cause irritation and dry skin. Usual recommendation is 1-3 times a week, depending on skin type. Normally the oilier the skin the greater need for more frequent exfoliation. However, sometimes too much exfoliation can actually exacerbate and increase oil production. If this may be the case, try reducing exfoliation to only once weekly and see if your oil production decreases.
- A combination of physical (Jojoba Beads) and chemical (AHA's etc.) exfoliating products work best for most skin types. The physical scrub helping to remove surface dead skin cells and the chemical mixture working deeper and increasing cellular turnover. Alternate these throughout the week.
- Remember to use a toner, serum and moisturizer after as well as a mineral based sunscreen to re-balance, re-hydrate and protect freshly exfoliated skin.
Not sure where to start? Try one of our natural exfoliation products for revealing your hidden glow!
If you aren’t sure what skin type you have, or if you have questions about exfoliating, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can evaluate your skin and help you decide if exfoliation is beneficial for you. Enjoy your new and refreshed skin!
- How To Safely Exfoliate At Home by www.aad.org
- What Does It Mean To Exfoliate? Why You Should and How To Start by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst (2018)