Exfoliation is one of the cornerstones of a good skincare routine. Yes, it technically does little more than support your skin’s natural ability to regenerate itself, but at the same time it makes up for defects in the process. Your skin isn’t really the best at shedding itself evenly to keep itself healthy. Dead skin cells get caught in your natural oils regularly and end up contributing to the mix of oils and grime that can plug your pores. Exfoliating regularly helps prevent this and keeps you from breaking out regularly. You need to know how to exfoliate properly though to ensure that you don’t accidentally cause issues. It really isn’t quite as simple as just using an exfoliating product regularly. There is a certain frequency that is healthy and going above it will actually damage your skin. With that in mind, let’s talk about important factors to consider when you’re planning to exfoliate your skin.
Getting the frequency of exfoliation right is one of the important elements to learning how to do it right. Remember that exfoliating your skin means you’re removing the uppermost, dead layers of skin one layer at a time. You can end up permanently damaging your skin by exfoliating too often, but exfoliating too little opens up an increased chance for breakouts. Fortunately, it isn’t that hard to pin down a decent pattern for exfoliating. Most of us will need to exfoliate roughly once or twice a week with a decent gap between the two days. This gives the skin time to recover. The trick to figuring our your personal requirements for exfoliating is determining how far your skin varies from “average”. Oily skin, for instance, requires more frequent exfoliating that can end up being three times a week to keep the skin healthy. Dry skin, by contrast, typically only needs to be exfoliated once every two weeks as it tends to be more sensitive to the process.
Another point to consider when trying to figure out how to exfoliate the right way is the kind of product that you’re using. Exfoliating products tend to fall into two broad categories: physical and chemical. Despite the names, all exfoliating products are acting on your skin physically, but physical exfoliating products tend to be things like scrubs or brushes that use direct force to exfoliate. Scrubs are typically good for the body as the skin is thick enough to support their use. This is especially true when it comes to all salt scrubs and many sugar scrubs. You can find some fine grained sugar scrubs for the face, but in general, you’ll want to stick more natural scrubs for the best results. Chemical exfoliating products are ones that include acidic active ingredient like glycolic acid that gently dissolve dead skin cells and grime. These are good for sensitive skin as they minimize the physical stress put on the skin. The only exception to this rule is a powder scrub that is potentially even better for sensitive skin.
This is something some of us skip out on if we’re not thinking about it. You need to make the time to moisture after you’ve exfoliated. Remember that exfoliating is working to remove dead skin cells and other bits of grime from your skin. It is also stripping your skin of its natural oils in the immediate aftermath of exfoliation. Your skin uses those oils and the dead skin cells to protect your skin from sun damage and other forms of damage from micro-debris. That makes investing in helping to protect your skin while your defenses build back up is important. Moisturizing is one of the best things you can do as it will seal in the available moisture on your skin at the same time that it adds a barrier. You’ll also want to consider using a sunscreen as your moisturizer in this case to maximize your skin’s protection. Taking the time to do this will let you finish exfoliation right and keep your skin healthy.
While exfoliating is an important step in skincare, it is also important that we exfoliate right. Exfoliating the wrong way can lead to irritated skin or permanent damage that will make taking care of our skin harder. It isn’t difficult to avoid this problem though if you learn how to exfoliate. Try to remember these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a proper exfoliating technique.