- What Is Exfoliation
- Difference Between Physical and Chemical Exfoliation
- How Often Should You Exfoliate
- Professional Exfoliation
What Is Exfoliation
You know those dead skin cells and dirt buildup on your skin? Exfoliating removes that. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin with either a chemical exfoliant or a mechanical exfoliating tool. Our skin naturally sheds every 30 days so that new skin cells can immerge. However, some dead skin cells do not shed completely causing them to clog on your pores and trap oil that may cause acne.
Therefore, exfoliating is an especially important part of your skincare routine. There are plenty of misconceptions about exfoliation and a lingering fear that was injected into our thinking that it will make your skin peel, thin, and do lots of damage. However, it can only do damage if done too much (as too much of everything is no good) and if done incorrectly.
Exfoliating has many skin benefits that are often overlooked by many. Still unsure if it’s for you? Read on to find out.
8 Reasons Why Exfoliating Is Essential
Reason #1: It Unclog Your Pores
Exfoliating removes dead skin cells that can cause clogged pores. Doing so will remove dirt, pollution, and excess oil buildup from the skin.
Reason #2: Prevent Acne
By removing surface dirt and debris, you will be able to ward off breakouts by unclogging your pores. If you are already dealing with acne, exfoliation can also help you remove excess oil and dead skin that is blocking your pores.
Reason #3: Help Following Product Penetrate Skin Deeper
Think of this step as a pre-treatment to whatever you put on next. Exfoliating helps your other skincare products absorb more quickly and more fully, leading to better results overall. You can even follow exfoliating with an anti-aging serum or moisturizer for added benefits.
Reason #4: Can Even Out Your Skin Tone
Chemical exfoliation can help you get rid of any unevenness — whether it is dark spots that are left over from past blemishes or just the pinkish hue that some people get after they have been in the sun.
Reason #5: Boost Circulation And Remove Toxins
Think of this step as a little facial massage that helps boost the blood flow in your skin — which can increase elasticity and reduce dark circles around eyes. It can also help flush out any built-up dirt, debris and oils that result from eating, drinking, living life and more.
Reason #6: Increases Cell Turnover
You read that right — exfoliation can help you shed dead skin cells (again, leaving room for brand-new ones to be created) but it is also speeding up the rate at which your old cells get replaced with new ones. This is good news for those with dull, dry, or normal skin — as well as those who want to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Reason #7: Stimulates Collagen Production
When you are exfoliating, think about it like polishing a piece of furniture — and just as furniture polish helps restore wood's natural luster, glycolic acid does the same for our skin by stimulating collagen production.
Reason #8: Pre-Tan Ritual
Even if you are not into self-tanners, you will want to slough off dead skin cells before going out in the sun — it just makes sense! And here is a little secret: It will help prevent the new one from streaking or transferring onto your clothes.
Difference Between Physical and Chemical Exfoliation
Physical exfoliation is a type of skin treatment involving the removal of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. This method of exfoliation can be performed through manual or mechanical means.
Manual methods include using hands, fingers, sponges, brushes, and washcloths to rub or scrub the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of the epidermis that consists of dead cells) off the skin's surface.
Mechanical exfoliation, as its name suggests, uses mechanical means such as scrubs and microdermabrasion machines to remove surface layers of dead skin.
Here are some examples of mechanical tools to exfoliate:
- Body Brush or Scrubber
Recommended Face and Body Scrubs
- Turmeric Scrub
- Probiotic Scrub
- Himalayan Salt Scrub
- Arabica Coffee Scrub
- Charcoal Scrub
- Super Food Scrub
Physical exfoliation has many benefits, including increased penetration of topical ingredients (such as sunscreens) and skin lightening agents. It also enables dead cells to be easily washed away using soap and water, making it very convenient for people who want to perform daily cleansing routines. The most common side effect is redness, which usually lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. This product's target are people who have skin concerns - acne or scarring.
Chemical exfoliation is a method of exfoliating and removing dead skin cells by using acids. This method has gained popularity in recent years. People are more aware now of the importance of skincare and social media and influencers have helped in removing the stigma that acids are harmful to your skin.
There are different kinds of acids, and they have different roles in keeping our skin healthy and glowing. Here are some of the chemical exfoliants that are often used in skincare:
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Alpha hydroxy acids or AHA is a water-soluble chemical exfoliant that exfoliates the surface of the skin. It is usually used for anti-aging, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. Some of the examples of this acid are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are oil-soluble exfoliant that goes deep into the pores and is often used for acne-related concerns and are more suitable for combination or oily skin. Some BHA acids are salicylic acid, beta hydroxybutanoic acid, and trethocanic acid.
Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A and play a significant role in stimulating collagen production. The primary role of retinoids is to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help in fading dark spots.
How Often Should You Exfoliate
Most dermatologists recommend exfoliating your face 2-3 times per week and your body every day. If you have a pre-existing skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, or other skin condition, you might want to consult with your dermatologist first to know the best exfoliation method and how frequently you need it.
While the most popular type of exfoliation can be done at home, there are also types of exfoliations that you can get done by a professional. Getting this will depend on your skincare needs and you should book a consultation to check if these procedures will fit your needs:
- Chemical peel (Professionals use a higher concentration and stronger acids)
Don’t know where to find the best dermatologist? Click here to check out this guide on how you can find the right dermatologist
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- Everything You Need to Know About the Skincare Adjustment Period
- Dry Brushing 101: Everything You Need To Know For Healthy Glowing Skin