The Essentials of Exfoliation
Exfoliation is the technique of removing the top layer of dead skin cells from your skin to encourage new skin cells to turnover and refresh the skin’s appearance. With so much information out there about proper exfoliation it's difficult to know what advice to follow. I've made it simple by answering some of your questions; Why should I exfoliate? How often should I exfoliate? & What is over exfoliating?
Why should I exfoliate?
When following any skin care regimen, one of the most important parts of the process is exfoliation. Exfoliating helps to gently remove the dead skins cells from the surface to allow new, hydrated skin cells to show through, and restore your skin’s natural clarity and brightness.
Your skin has a natural cycle like anything else; new skin cells are plump and hydrated, and as they start to age, they become less hydrated and dull. Without exfoliation, your skin’s appearance may become dry and dull. In addition to that, all that money you’ve spent on proper skin care you may as well go down the drain, because the products cannot reach the new cells while the dead ones are on top.
How often should I exfoliate?
Everyone’s skin is different, so unfortunately there is no one answer to this. However, one to two times per week is generally sufficient for most skin types.
In the beginning, I recommend using an exfoliator once a week for best results. Massage the exfoliator gently into the skin - never press too hard on the skin as this can cause damage and irritation. To further prevent harm to the skin, look for products with round beads.
Top Tip: I typically leave my exfoliator in the shower so I remember to use it!
What is over exfoliating?
You should exfoliate regularly, but don’t overdo it. There is such a thing as over exfoliating! If used every day, exfoliation may irritate your skin and leave it dry and red. You don’t have to scrub the skin to remove dead skin cells - you can include an exfoliating masque into your skincare routine twice a week to keep your complexion looking bright.
Your skin also needs time to balance, and exfoliating it too often can actually dry out your skin. This in turn, may lead to more breakouts, as your skin tries to overcompensate and produce more oils.
Don’t exfoliate irritated skin – if the skin is irritated or over-sensitive after exfoliation, stop exfoliating and allow the skin to return to it’s normal state before slowly re-introducing exfoliation.
The best explanation I ever received about exfoliation was metaphor that a Skin Therapist gave me when I went for my first facial. I was told my new skin was like a grape; hydrated, juicy and full of nutrients - it’s those cells we want to see and protect! As the skin ages, those grapes turn into raisins and lose their plump appearance. This means wrinkles - something we all want to avoid. Without proper care, raisins dry out further and become rough and hard, i.e. without exfoliation, your skin cells become rough, dry and dull.
This is why you need a good exfoliator; it removes the rough and dry surface (the raisin) and allows your products to reach the new skin cells (the grape). Regular exfoliation, with an exfoliator right for your skin type, will maintain a hydrated and glowing appearance and help prevent dry and dull skin.
By exfoliating properly and regularly, you'll begin to see the benefits to your skin - you'll look and feel radiant, reduce the signs of ageing and help your skin absorb your other favourite products. What are you waiting for? Get scrubbing (gently)!