An exfoliant removes dead skin cells from the surface of skin.
Why is this important?
Accumulated dead skin cells can cause skin concerns such as breakouts, clogged pores, dull skin and discolouration. Regular use of an exfoliant clears away these dead skin cells to reveal healthy, radiant skin.
Every day, your skin cells renew themselves, and dead cells are shed from skin. This natural shedding process can slow down or stop altogether due to sun damage, dry skin, oily skin, genetics or various skin disorders that can cause a build up of dead skin cells or affect how cells move through the pore lining. It could lead to dull, flaky skin, clogged pores, pigmentation spots or breakouts. An exfoliant removes unhealthy, dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. In addition, it may improve the production of collagen and stimulate the skin's ability to retain moisture.
How does an exfoliant work?
An exfoliant helps reactivate the natural exfoliation of the skin. It gently removes skin cells in order to expose healthy, new skin. Clogged pores and pigmentation spots (so-called age spots) will become less visible. An exfoliant also helps to fight wrinkles, prevent breakouts, mitigate skin discolouration after breakouts and repair sun damage. After exfoliation, a dull complexion will appear radiant and younger-looking.
What is physical exfoliation?
Pretty straightforward exfoliation with the use of small grains or beads. But not all physical exfoliants are created equally. In the case of your typical drugstore scrub, peep the ingredients list to make sure that none of the exfoliating agents are too large.
Facial scrubs do work really well and show instant results, but they do need to be handled carefully and gently. Avoid large exfoliators such as fruit pits and nut shells as these can be too sharp and jagged and cause damage to the skin.
Despite what people think, they aren’t as effective or as gentle as chemical exfoliation.
How to use a physical exfoliant
Most experts advise that you exfoliate two to three times per week, however, it completely depends on your own skin and how it can handle it.
When using a physical exfoliant, start by washing your face with your regular cleanser. Then, take a quarter-size amount of your face scrub and apply it all over the face and neck, using circular motions, avoiding the eye area. Gently massage the product onto the skin for as long as your specific product recommends, usually from 30 seconds to a full minute. Then, rinse off with warm water and our Reusable Facial Sponges. Follow with a hydrating mask, serum or cream.
What is chemical exfoliation?
Chemical exfoliants remove dead skin cells with the use of chemicals to aid in cell turnover. Peels are chemical exfoliants, and are not only great for smoothing but also for brightening. The glow effect!
AHAs (glycolic acid) work on the skin’s surface and are water soluble. They are generally preferred for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin, due to their ability to enhance natural moisturising factors within skin. They’ve also been proven to be effective in reducing the visible signs of sun damage.
BHA (salicylic acid) works on skin’s surface and inside the pore; it’s oil soluble, so it’s most often preferred for normal to oily skin prone to breakouts and enlarged pores. BHA also has natural skin-calming properties, so it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin.
How to use AHA’s and BHA’s
After using a facial cleanser and toner, always use a product that contains AHA or BHA. Depending on its texture (lotion or liquid), apply the exfoliant with either a cotton pad or your fingers. You can apply it gently around the eyes, but avoid the eyelids. Unlike a scrub, you don't have to rinse an exfoliant. There's also no need to wait until the exfoliant has been absorbed by the skin. You can immediately continue with the next step in your skincare routine. Always finish with an SPF30 when using chemical exfoliants, this is so important to protect your skin.
The most important thing to remember is to make sure you use the right exfoliant for your skin. Some skins can be too sensitive for the chemical exfoliant, so the best thing is the patch test an area first.
You know your exfoliating too much when your start to see redness, dryness, increased sensitivity, flaking, breakouts. so when this happens you need to back off on the exfoliator or choose a more gentler exfoliant!