The average human sheds around 30,000 dead skin cells a day. This process of shedding is the body’s natural cell replenishing process, without which, we would be covered in layers and layers of dead skin cells.
Exfoliation is an act which aids in removing the outermost layer of dead skin cells which often leaves our skin looking dull and dry. Naturally, our skin eventually sheds this layer, but a scrub or exfoliant will help to clear it faster, leaving your skin feeling lighter, brighter and more youthful.
However, it is important to choose the right type of exfoliant for your skin type to protect your skin from harsh chemicals and overall damage.
What are the benefits of exfoliating your skin?
- prevents acne
- cleanses face
- unclogs pores
- provides nutrients to skin
- reduces signs of ageing
- helps to even out skin tone
- boost circulation
The main benefit of exfoliating is that it helps to brighten your complexion, whilst improving the appearance of your skin. A crucial benefit to exfoliation includes its property of preventing the clogging of pores, acne spots and black and white heads.
Another important aspect to exfoliating is that it helps stimulate the synthesis of collagen, which in turn helps to improve the skin’s texture– keeping the skin plump, tight and young.
Different types of exfoliation techniques?
There are 2 most common ways to exfoliate your skin at home are: mechanical and chemical exfoliation
- Mechanical exfoliation, or physical exfoliation, uses a tool– a brush, sponge or scrub, to physically remove dead skin cells
- Chemical exfoliation, which gently dissolves dead skin cells using chemicals such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic and citric acids, or beta hydroxy acids (BHA) such as salicylic acid.
One of the above two methods may be used depending on your skin type and skin sensitivities.
Make sure not to exfoliate your skin when you have any cuts or open wounds, or even rashes and sunburn. An important thing to remember is that exfoliation, when done right– should not hurt.
If you experience pain or scarring etc, visit your dermatologist and get advice on whether the product is right for your skin type and discuss alternative methods of exfoliation to ensure you get the best possible results, while protecting your skin.
What are the typical ingredients found in exfoliating products?
The best exfoliating ingredients are gentle ingredients that softly exfoliate your skin without disrupting your skin health. While the best exfoliating ingredients will vary depending on skin type, listed below are a few of the recommended ingredients:
- Glycolic Acid (AHA)
- Lactic Acid (AHA)
- Salicylic Acid (BHA)
- Fruit Enzymes
- Bamboo Extract
- Jojoba Beads
Can you exfoliate your face?
The skin on our face is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Experts say that the best time to exfoliate your face or any body part is in a warm, steamy shower or bath. The warmth of the shower softens the skins and helps to open your pores. This aids in the process of exfoliation and the removal of dead skin cells.
Tips for exfoliating your face:
- Wash your face in warm water and apply a gentle cleanser.
- After washing off the cleanser and while your face is still damp, take a pea-sized amount of your preferred exfoliant (make sure it’s suitable to be used on the face) and place a small dot on your forehead, both cheeks and chin.
- In gentle, circular motions begin to scrub the skin on your face, making sure not to scrub too hard. After about 30 seconds have gone by, use warm water to rinse it off.
- Applying your skin type-specific moisturisers and serums after exfoliation is important to lock in moisture to help the cells regenerate.
How often should you exfoliate?
The younger, healthier skin we want is under the skin we have. You must listen to your skin as to how often you need to exfoliate. Up to once or twice a week is more than enough for physical exfoliation. If you prefer chemical exfoliation, maybe once a week or once in two weeks—depending on your skin type and as per the instructions on the product.
What happens to your skin if you over-exfoliate?
If we over-exfoliate our skin, we will be scrubbing away the healthy cells beneath the dry cells, which are naturally meant to fall off. This will lead to long-lasting skin damage. Thereby making it super important to follow instructions well, and to only exfoliate when necessary.
Great caution must be taken—especially with chemical exfoliants to not damage the skin and to ensure that only the layer of dead skin cells are being scrubbed off.
What do you need to look out for when purchasing exfoliating products?
- ingredients - ingredients play a key factor when deciding on exfoliants. Make sure to check the list of ingredients to make sure you are not allergic to anything and that it is suitable to your skin type.
- quality of products - always do your research on particular products. Check reviews and descriptions of the brands and always try to opt for a known and well-liked brand.
- try local brands too
- check expiry dates - skin care products, especially those with chemicals must be used before the date of expiration.
- check if the product was stored properly - products need to be stored in the right conditions, specially products containing chemicals.
- check packaging - directions of use and frequency will be noted on each package. It’s prudent to follow these instructions and in the case of chemical exfoliants—skin test on a small patch of your skin whilst monitoring for any side effects before using the product on your body.
- examine for allergens and harmful ingredients
Incorporating exfoliation into your weekly skincare routine is a vital step on your journey to healthier, younger and glowing skin.
However, it’s important to make sure you do your research into each product (including the frequency of using the exfoliant) and make sure the ingredients are agreeable to your skin type.
Once this vital step is out of the way– you’ll soon realise that the skin you’ve been dreaming of is only one scrub away!