**As usual, please seek the advice of a skincare professional to asses your particular skin needs.**
Why should you exfoliate? What does it do and how do you do it? In this post, I’m giving a beginners guide to exfoliation and why it matters .We all know the that the basics of a good skincare routine are cleansing, toning and moisturizing. A good cleanser can remove oil, dirt and makeup and improves your skin’s complexion, toner helps in removing any excess dirt not caught by your cleanser, refreshes the skin and helps minimize the look of pores. Moisturizing adds back any lost oil to your skin after cleansing and toning. These are the main components of taking care of the surface of the skin. But to me, the major key in a skincare routine is exfoliation.
Why Should You Exfoliate Your Skin?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. Exfoliation is especially important for me with maturing skin. As you age, your skin cell turnover becomes a little slower, normally skin cells overturn themselves about every 30 days or so. However, without exfoliating, the skin can begin to look dull, pores can become clogged and skin can become dry and flaky, accentuating any fine lines and wrinkles.
Some of the benefits of exfoliation are:
- Reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles
- Fades age spots and dark marks from acne scars and hyper-pigmentation
- Helps to unclog the pores
- Helps other products such as moisturizers and serums absorb into the skin
Types of Exfoliation
There are two main types of exfoliation, chemical and mechanical.
Mechanical exfoliation involves using products with hard substances, such as a body or facial cleanser with microbeads. Exfoliating mechanically (physically) is simply putting the product on your fingertips and rubbing the product into your skin on a circular motion, careful to avoid the areas around your eyes.
Chemical exfoliation is using enzymes and acids (AHA, BHA) to remove dead skin. According to Paula’s Choice, the definitions of the different acids are as follows:
AHA: Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Reduces sun damage, and improves smoothness. Two of the most popular AHA’s are glycolic acid (derived from sugars) and lactic acid (derived from milk), these are typically considered light chemical peels.
BHA: Targets blemishes and works to unclog pores. Popular BHA acids include salicylic acid, which is a popular treatment for acne.
How to Choose the Right Exfoliator
How do you choose the right exfoliating method for your skin?
Speaking as someone with aging skin, I find that chemical exfoliants work better for me. I use the Glycolic Acid toner from The Ordinary 2-3 times a week. This helps in keeping my skin from looking dull and stripping my skin of too much moisture.
For oily skin types,I would try exfoliators with AHA or BHA and follow up with a good moisturizer. Your skin type is a little more forgiving and won’t strip as much allowing you to exfoliate more often.
Dry skin types, we need a little extra care with exfoliation and should also lean towards ones with AHA & BHA and also some mechanical exfoliants with moisturizing properties such as jojoba beads.
For sensitive skin, you want to stay away from any harsh mechanical exfoliants that would further aggravate or inflame your skin. Try a lactic acid that will exfoliate gently with little to no irritation.
*As usual, please seek the advice of a skin care professional for a detailed assessment of your skin’s needs.
If you incorporate your exfoliation in your morning routine, no matter what your skincare type, always add a sunscreen afterwards. Start slowly when incorporating exfoliating into your routine, no more than 1-2 times a week, careful not to overdue it.
If you notice your skin is lacking that glow, your fine lines are showing up and showing out or your pores are clogged, exfoliation may be the key piece to giving your skin just what it needs.
Let me know in the comments how you exfoliate and what you are using.
Cheers to happy and glowing skin.