Learning to care for your skin appropriately with a good skincare routine is its own rite of passage in beauty. It means that we’ve learned how to properly apply the lessons we’ve picked up and improved how healthy our skin is on average. All this learning involves picking up the techniques required for a good routine and the appropriate way to pick products to avoid problems. One of the tricks we pick up is exfoliation. This technique involves using a scrub or chemical product to help remove the outermost layers of our skin that are composed of dead skin cells. This helps to improve both the clarity and health of our skin by keeping it clean, but sometimes it seems like it might go a little far. That’s why it is important that we acknowledge that improperly exfoliating can and will hurt your skin if you’re not careful. Fortunately, you can do things to avoid this problem.
Facing the Frequency
How frequently you exfoliate plays a major role in how your skin reacts to exfoliation. As we highlighted, the process is about removing some of the outermost layers of your skin. All the dead skin cells can get in the way and cause problems by clumping with your skin’s natural oils, but you need those layers. Exfoliating properly will remove only some of the layers of dead skin. Repeatedly exfoliating your skin will remove further layers until you hit the soft, raw, and new skin underneath those layers of dead skin. That’s what the dead skin is protecting. Exfoliating strives to walk the fine line between removing enough of the outer layers to improve clarity and color without actually hurting the skin. Most of us only need to exfoliate once or twice a week at most with people with sensitive skin perhaps needing to only exfoliate once every two weeks or so. Exfoliating too often will hurt your skin.
Understanding what is in your products is highly useful when it comes to understanding both the nature of the exfoliating product and how potent it is. Potency plays a distinct role in how often you can exfoliate and the amount of work that the product will get done. Powder scrubs tend to be made of things such as finely powdered rice and other ingredients that physically abrade the surface of the skin to remove the layers or skin while chemical exfoliating products use acids like salicylic acid to dissolve the dead skin cells and oils that can plague our skin. Each has a variable effect on the skin simply by exposure. Rice powder scrubs, for instance, are comparatively gentle on the skin, but the physical abrasion can still be rough on people with sensitive skin. Salicylic acid can hurt sensitive skin as well, but the damage is frequently from drying the skin out too much. Learning to figure out what products your skin will tolerate is what prevents exfoliating from damaging your skin.
Skin Type Is Important
Frequency and the potency of ingredients are important, but what makes them important is your skin type. Each type tends to respond well to some forms of exfoliating product while responding badly to another. As you might guess from before, salicylic acid focused products aren’t the best choice for someone with dry skin. You’ll be compounding an already existing problem at that point. Glycolic acid, a slightly less potent ingredient, or a rice powder scrub can be effective instead. Salicylic acid tends to shine in instances where oil control is needed as well. It makes it a perfect ingredient for people with oily or acne prone skin as a result. People with so-called “normal skin” have the freedom to experiment and will generally be able to use things like glycolic acid and other less extreme products easily. It is important to note that salt and rough sugar scrubs are a no-no when it comes to facial skin for everyone to avoid the slow buildup of invisible skin damage Talk to your dermatologist if you’re uncertain on how your skin type will influence how healthy certain kinds of exfoliation will be for your skin.
Exfoliation may be incredibly useful as a technique, but doing it poorly can damage your skin. This damage will either be directly from the method of exfoliation, doing it too often, or simply the effects of particular forms of exfoliation. Learning to judge these factors for yourself will help you avoid damaging your skin even when exfoliating regularly and keep your skin healthy regardless of your age.