Exfoliating is a skin care method that may or may not help improve skin. Do we really need exfoliation? Why do we need it? How do we properly exfoliate?
What does it do?
The skin continually shedding skin cells and every time this occurs, smooth skin cells push their way up to the surface of the skin. But as people age, the rate at which the body sheds dead skin cells starts to slow down. This means that exfoliation is a process of physically or chemically removing dull and dead skin cells. In short, exfoliation helps increase the process of the skin, helping it to look youthful.
The physical exfoliators work against the top skin layers to remove those dull and dead skin cells through sloughing and rubbing. This method involve crystals, micro-fine granules and natural beads.
On the other hand, instead of removing dead cells, chemical exfoliants (chemicals here, we mean, simply a descriptive word for how the ingredients work) dissolve the intercellular glue that binds dead skin cells together. Thus, chemical exfoliators goes deeper into your skin and can be a better option for a skin type that has deep congestion, resistive, or cannot tolerate scrubbing.
Do we really need to exfoliate?
If so, why do we need to exfoliate our skin? We learn from skin experts that without proper exfoliation, dead skin cells can block pores, dark spots, rough skin texture, pronounced wrinkles, dryness, dullness, and other skin conditions.
Therefore, exfoliation makes sure that dead skin cells are removed, making the skin brighter, smoother and more refined.
What are the benefits of exfoliating the skin?
It unclogs the skin pores.
The major function of exfoliation is to sweep away dead skin cells from your face (and some parts of the body). Although, our bodies have the natural processed to remove dead skin cells, our face can accumulate so much dirt and debris, stopping the natural shedding process. Exfoliation helps shed the first and second layer of dead skin cells to allow your face to work more naturally. It helps relieve all types of congestion like whiteheads and blackheads.
It prevents acne and blemishes.
As exfoliation helps unclog pores, it also helps in preventing blemishes from popping up. Take note that exfoliators do not draw out blemishes as many people believe. On the other hand, exfoliating done once or twice every week helps remove excess oil and skin cells that clog the skin pores causing these blemishes. Hence, new breakouts are being halted even before they reach the surface of your skin.
However, too much exfoliation can also cause irritation that make blemishes worse. Depending on the type of skin that you have, just exfoliate a few times every week. Once or twice a week is good.
It helps even out your skin tone.
It helps rejuvenate and “re-energize” your new skin cells for a healthier younger looking skin! These new skin cells helps uneven skin tone, pigmentation, and post-breakout, red and dark spots. It’s relaxing and soothing.
It helps other skin care products to work efficiently.
Dermatologists agree that exfoliation helps moisturizers, serums, and other skin care products to penetrate deeper into the skin and work effectively. This is why exfoliation should be included in your skin care regime.
It improves the texture of the skin.
As we are aging, the natural ability of the skin to shed dead skin cells slows down. This causes more clogging, and clogging means more blemishes, uneven texture, and dark marks. As exfoliating removes dead skin cells and refreshes the new ones, it makes the skin look smoother and its texture improved. If you have dehydrated or dry skin, exfoliation is one of the excellent ways of treating skin flakes without using heavy and caked-on moisturizers.
But remember to apply a light serum after exfoliating to make sure that your new and younger skin does not dry out, particularly in the windy and cold weather.
How do you exfoliate your skin?
Again, how to exfoliate will depend on the type of skin that you have, skin problems and preferences. Remember, there are two types of exfoliation: the chemical and physical exfoliation. For both, you should always begin by cleansing and toning your skin.
If you are using a physical exfoliant, begin by washing your face with your favorite cleanser. Put a quarter-sized amount of your face scrub and apply it on your face in circular movement. Avoid the eye areas. Massage gently the product on your skin as directed. Generally, it should between 30 seconds to one full minute. Then wash off with warm water and pat gently with a clean towel. Follow this with your serum, cream, or hydrating mask.
With chemical exfoliant, wash your face with your favorite cleanser. If your exfoliant product comes with a pre-moistened pad or cloth, apply this on your whole face, including neck and the tops of your hands. Then, allow it for several minutes so that the exfoliant will be absorbed completely into your skin, before doing the next step of your skin care regime – which may be cream or treatment serum. Some chemical exfoliants are called “peels”. They are used like a mask application and need to be washed off after several minutes. Always read and understand the product label to make sure you are applying it correctly and properly.
Also, take note that exfoliating your face should only be made one to three times every week. Exfoliating very often or too hard may result in micro-tears on the surface of your skin and remove the protective layer of your skin. In case you have inflammatory acne, hypersensitive skin, or rosacea, it is advisable to consult with your dermatologist to know what exfoliant you should get and how often to apply it.
How often should we exfoliate our face?
If you are using physical scrubs, one to three times every week is good, depending on the product you are using and your skin’s sensitivity level.
Chemical exfoliants have more range of usage. Most often, they can be used 1 to 3 times every week for those with sensitive skin. They can also be applied every night for those with skin that is already used to chemical exfoliants and skin which is more resistive.
How do we choose exfoliant?
Exfoliating the skin may help improve the appearance of the skin but it is not good for all, especially if it is not done properly. It is really important to exfoliate properly to prevent damaging your skin, redness, and acne breakouts.
Since each type of exfoliation may not work for every type of skin, make sure that you know your skin type before selecting any exfoliation type:
- Normal skin is not sensitive and clear
- Dry skin is itchy, rough, and flaky
- Combination skin is dry in some spots and oily in other areas
- Oily skin is greasy and shiny
- Sensitive skin may burn or sting after use of skin care products
Mechanical exfoliation uses a tool like sponge, scrub, or a brush to remove dead cells, while chemical exfoliation uses chemicals like alpha and beta hydroxy acids to dissolve gently the dead cells.
Dermatologists recommend the following tips to prevent skin damage while using exfoliants:
- Review skin care products that you are already using, Some medications and over-the-counter products may make your skin more sensitive or peel, like prescription retinoid creams or those products that have retinol or benzoyl peroxide. Using these products to exfoliate may worsen dry skin and cause acne breakouts.
- Pick the exfoliation method that fits your skin type. Dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin may consider using a mild exfoliator and a washcloth. Mechanical exfoliation method may be too harsh or irritating to this type of skin. People with oily and thicker skin may use stronger chemical treatments or mechanical exfoliation method. However, try to avoid strong chemical or mechanical exfoliation for those with darker skin tone or if you notice dark areas on your skin after bug bits, burns, or acne breakouts. For other individuals with darker skin tones, stronger forms of exfoliation may cause dark spots on your skin.
- Always be gentle to your skin. If you are using a chemical exfoliator or scrub, apply the product, apply it using small, circular motions for about 30 seconds. Rinse off with lukewarm water (not hot). If you are using a sponge or brush, apply short light strokes, Avoid exfoliating if you have open wounds or cuts, or if your skin is sunburned.
- Follow it with moisturizer. Exfoliating may have drying effect to your skin. Apply moisturizer right after exfoliating to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
- Find the right time for you. How often you exfoliate will depend on your skin type and exfoliation method. Basically, the more aggressive the exfoliation is, the less often it has to be applied. Avoid over-exfoliating because this may cause irritated and red skin.
Here are 5 exfoliating products you may want to try. Read carefully how it works and it is also important to read their customer feedback and questions.
Asutra Dead Sea Salt Body Scrub Exfoliator
This exfoliating body scrub has more than 20 healing minerals from sea salt to make it an excellent exfoliator and skin polisher. This special blend of Dead Sea Salt, organic essential oils, and skin-friendly nutrients aims at fighting against blocked pores, blackheads, blemishes, and in-grown hairs. The Company offers a 100% money back guarantee. Made in USA.
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub
This brightening facial scrub is formulated for all types of skin. It contains sea kelp potent nutrients that helps soften skin and detos. Lemon peel and French green clay helps cleanse the skin, Madonna lily helps bring brightness to your skin. This refreshing facial scrub helps remove dead cells, softens, and impurities. The product is vegan and certified cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, Petrolatum-free, and without Formaldehyde.
Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub Tropical Mango
This shea sugar scrub is a premium deep moisturizer that helps smoothen and soften dry, cracked skin. It contains safflower seed oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, macadamia seed oil, and orange oil that acts as skin conditioners that helps prevent dryness, providing your skin a refined healthy glow. It also contains mango puree that helps smoothen your skin, giving a fresh fragrance for the senses. Paraben-free. Formaldehyde-free. Made in the USA with professional cosmetics team in a world-class beauty lab.
NeedCrystals Microdermabrasion Crystals
Microdermabrasion Crystals helps improve skin quality, smooth your skin for a clearer and radiant skin complexion.
- Cleans deep into pores making them less visible.
- Removes dead surface skin cells for a natural glow of skin.
- Gentle for all types of skin.
- Reduces the appearance of blemishes, blackheads, and even stretch marks.
- Leaves the skin smooth, disappearing fine lines, acne scars, and wrinkles.
M3 Naturals Himalayan Salt Scrub
This salt scrub is infused with collagen and stem cells that helps detoxify and rejuvenate your skin. It also exfoliate naturally by removing dead skin cells, excess oils and dirt, and other impurities in your skin.
- Treats acne. Himalayan salt is a natural antiseptic and good for disinfecting acne-prone skin.
- Exfoliates dead cells.
- Helps in absorbing excess oils from the skin.
- Contains lychee oil which is rich in antioxidants and a great source of vitamin C.