Exfoliation—What’s It All About?
There are all kinds of ways to achieve the complexion you want, be it sunscreen, masks, serums or moisturizers. But one of the simplest things you can do for your skin without spending much money is to exfoliate regularly. Exfoliation is the removal of the topmost layer of dead skin cells, and with the right technique and products, exfoliating can give your skincare routine the boost it needs.
Think of the outermost layer of your skin as a blanket that gets built up over a period of a day or two. It’s an important part of your skin, but eventually the blanket gets stuffy and not-so-fresh. That’s when you need to take it off for a wash and let your skin breathe.
Exfoliation is crucial to the circulation of your skin. After all, skin is an organ with oxygenated blood flowing through it at all times, and a layer of dead organ cells can get in the way of that circulation, leaving it feeling dull and vulnerable to wrinkling and blemishes. Not only that, but if you wear foundation regularly, unexfoliated skin can make the makeup apply patchy and uneven, like paint on a bumpy, dirty canvas. Toner, essences and moisturizer also penetrate the skin much more effectively when it’s clear of dead cells. Regular exfoliation will keep your skin healthy, smooth and ready for your artistry.
How Do I Exfoliate?
Before you go scrubbing away at your face, you should learn your skin type! Different skin types may need different exfoliation techniques. You should also learn some basics of exfoliation products and habits to make sure you’re doing it safely.
There are two basic types of exfoliation—mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation relies on old-fashioned friction to scrub off the dead skin cells, and chemical exfoliation disintegrates the skin cells and makes them fall away.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, you shouldn’t exfoliate mechanically. The scrubbing motion can irritate and damage your skin. Instead, try a chemical exfoliant with AHA or BHA acids that will be gentler while still taking care of those pesky dead cells. Your dermatologist may also offer you a chemical peel, which is applied like a mask and washed off.
If you have oily skin, though, mechanical exfoliation might be perfect for you. The buildup on oily skin may take more elbow grease to fully remove than a chemical exfoliant would give you. There’s no reason to go overboard; just a regular thorough rubdown with a clean washcloth, glove, sponge or brush should do the trick. You may also want to try a face scrub, which has pellets of material that catch dead skin cells and pull them away with ease.
If your skin is normal or combination, you can really try any of the above and see what works for you. Just remember not to over-exfoliate. Twice a week should be plenty to start you out, and any more might damage your skin.
Whatever method you’re using, use it in moderation! Don’t scrub too hard, don’t leave a chemical peel on for too long, and always listen to your skin. If it’s red and irritated after your routine, try switching it up. And after you’re exfoliated, make sure to apply your usual moisturizer to soothe your face so you’re ready for the day.
A word of caution—some exfoliants may do more harm than good. Skincare enthusiasts have spoken out against cult-favorite St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub for its use of walnut shell powder. The powder contains tiny but sharp pieces of walnut shell that have been known to cause microtears, abrasion and lasting skin damage. Doctors also warn against scrubs with salt or sugar. Basically, anything in a scrub that’s not a nice round bead shape probably shouldn’t go on your face.
So now that you’ve been primed on exfoliation, check out our stock of skincare here at Keshoume! After your skin is scrubbed smooth, you’ll want to finish out the rest of your skincare routine, and we’ve got plenty of quality products to round it out, morning and night!
Rowan Thompson - November 30, 2020
Chertoff, Jane. “Everything You Need to Know About Exfoliating Your Skin Safely.” Healthline.com, 18 Nov. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-exfoliate.
Ryu, Annie. “How to Properly Exfoliate Your Skin.” Dermstore Blog, Dermstore Blog, 10 Oct. 2019, https://www.dermstore.com/blog/how-to-exfoliate-skin/.
Yarbrough, Jessica. “7 Trendy Skin Products to Never Put on Your Face.” Healthline.com, 16 June 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/products-not-to-use-on-face.