Exfoliating your skin is one of the basic techniques in skin care. It is the process of removing excess layers of dead skin, clumps of oil, and debris from your skin with a rough or chemical ingredient. We do it because our skin does it best to take care of itself, but its natural shedding process isn’t perfect. Allowing things to operate at an entirely natural level means having to deal with duller skin and more breakouts than most of us want to fuss with at any given point in our lives. There are a lot of exfoliating ingredients available on the market that are popular, but some of them are now falling out of favor due to a growing environmental consciousness. If you’ve uncertain of the kind of exfoliating product to use, then consider reading further to learn about common ones. It will give you a rough idea of what each ingredient is used for primarily as well as what skin types tend to benefit the most in some cases.
Sugar and Salt
Scrubs are one of the most common kinds of exfoliating ingredients. They utilize a physically abrasive ingredient held in a gel or lotion of skin healthy ingredients. The rougher elements exfoliate the skin while the others soothe and nourish it by taking advantage of the newly cleaned areas. Sugar and salt are two of the most common exfoliating ingredients simply because they are easy and well understood. They do need to be used in separate circumstances though. Salt scrubs should almost exclusively be used on your body as opposed to facial skin. This is due to the fact that the salt crystals have particularly rough and sharp edges prone to giving the softer facial skin microscopic cuts that do it no favors. Instead, a sugar scrub using more refined form of sugar is typically soft enough to use on the face, but you should still be mindful when using it. Additionally, physical scrubs in general may not be the best option for anyone with sensitive skin as they can all irritate the skin more than you’d like. That’s why chemical exfoliating ingredients are so useful.
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids
Chemical exfoliating ingredients operate differently than the physical scouring of salt and sugar scrubs. Instead, the compounds actually dissolve dead skin, oils, and other debris. You apply them and allow the compound to rest on your skin for as long as directed before rinsing it off. Most of us will typically feel a light tingling when using a product with an active exfoliating ingredient. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are the most common options when it comes to chemical exfoliating ingredients. Glycolic and citric acid are both common options that you’ll see in ingredient lists. However, they have a stronger relative: salicylic acid. As a beta hydroxy acid, salicylic acid is actually stronger and typically used in acne and oil control products. While AHAs are generally a good option for anyone with sensitive skin when used in the appropriate concentration, salicylic acid are usually preferred by oily, acne prone and combination skin types.
You’ve probably used a microbead product before whether you knew it or not. These are a form of artificial scrub. True to their name, microbeads are incredibly small beads of a plastic suspended in the typical kinds of compounds used for a scrub. The catch is that they are rapidly falling out of popularity and even being banned around the globe. This is because microbeads are actually proving to be incredibly hazardous to the environment over the long run. Products are used multiple times per day and all those beads get rinsed down into waste water. That water, in turn, can end up in local water sources through various means. It eventually reaches the ocean. The concentration of microbeads in aquatic environments has risen to levels dangerous both to wildlife and humans due to overuse of the products. As a result, you likely want to change out any microbead products you have if only for the practical reason that they may not be available in the near future.
Exfoliating ingredients take many forms. We’ve discussed them in some of the broadest ways possible for a quick overview of the topic. In truth, there are scrubs that can be easily used with sensitive skin that are actually better for the skin than particular chemical exfoliating ingredients. All these little exceptions make up the finer details of skincare though as opposed to being part of an introduction. The general group coverage we’ve provided should be enough for you to figure out what kinds of exfoliating ingredients will work well for you, but finding out those finer details that let you find the best product is in your hands. Don’t worry though. All you need to do is listen to your skin and you’ll find the right product with minimal fuss.