Exfoliation removes dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, which allows new skin cells to thrive, and also promotes collagen production.
Exfoliating provides a lot of benefits including: evening out your complexion, giving you glowing youthful skin, allowing better absorption of other skincare products and unclogging your pores.
Here’s a rundown on exfoliation:
- There are TWO kinds of exfoliation: Physical and Chemical
- Physical: This kind of exfoliation is a manual removal of dead skin cells by using face scrubs that have tiny rough particles. This can include sugar scrubs, coffee scrubs or peeling gels. Physical exfoliators can cause micro-tears in the skin, so be wary and gentle.
- Chemical: Don’t let the word ‘chemical’ scare you because in fact, chemical exfoliating can be better and more gentle compared to physical exfoliating. Chemical exfoliants strip away the dead skin cells by breaking the bond between them.
Chemical exfoliants are commonly AHAs (lactic and glycolic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid).
Which one should you choose?
Chemical exfoliators are often recommended because it’s much safer. However, you should always listen to your skin and choose whatever works best for you. Regardless of what kind you use, you should never over-exfoliate and exfoliate properly.
How to exfoliate exfoliate properly:
- Start slow: The benefits are enticing, but make sure that you’re letting your skin adjust to exfoliants. Whether you’re using physical or chemical exfoliants, it’s important that you introduce exfoliating slowly, (about 1-2 times a week). Then you can increase application once tolerance goes up.
If you have sensitive skin, it is highly recommended that you only up to 2 times a week.
- Don’t over exfoliate: Despite your increased tolerance to exfoliants, it’s never a good idea to over exfoliate. Exfoliating more than 3 times a week can aggravate the skin, stripping away your skin’s natural protective barrier and it can cause your skin to become overly sensitive.
When to apply:
Apply your exfoliator after cleansing and before thicker serums and moisturizers.
Use a cotton pad or your palms, going all the way down to your neck and chest.
Allow a few minutes for the exfoliant to be absorbed by the skin before moving on to your next step.
Because exfoliants are very drying, ALWAYS apply a moisturizer and other hydrating products after exfoliating to avoid flaky and dry skin.
When exfoliating during the day, ALWAYS apply sunscreen as your last step.When should you skip or stop exfoliating:
- Skip: if you have other skincare products that are likely to sensitize the skin like: AHAs, BHAs and retinoids (anything else that contain acid). Spread out and schedule exfoliants on a different day when using acidic products to avoid irritation and skin damage.
Also skip when you’re experiencing sun burns or any flare ups.
- Stop: If you're constantly dry, irritated and red when exfoliating, you should stop. This is a sign of over-exfoliating or sensitivity to the product.