Exfoliation is one of the biggest beauty buzzwords- you’ll find it everywhere across magazine articles on skincare, on product packaging, and on the treatment list at your favorite spa. But exactly what does exfoliating do?
Types of exfoliation
There are two types of exfoliation. The first is chemical exfoliation, which uses acid to dissolve dirt and dead skin. There are mild chemical exfoliants available to use on your own, but this type of exfoliation is often done by an aesthetician or dermatologist. The second type of exfoliation is physical exfoliation, which uses small particles (similar to sand) to remove the top layer of dirt and debris from your skin.
Where and what
The goal of both types of exfoliation is to remove the top layer, consisting of dead skin cells and dirt, to expose the fresh, radiant layer of skin underneath. While exfoliation is often associated with a facial routine, it can be done anywhere on the body. Removing the top layer gets rid of impurities, which helps to unclog filled pores and provides that ‘clear skin’ feeling. After exfoliation, skin appears to glow more, and the appearance of acne is minimized.
Exfoliation should be a frequent part of your skincare routine. Not only does it open the pores, but it also removes the barrier to them, which allows products such as moisturizers and serums to sink in deeper and give you the maximum benefit. Your complexion will feel extra silky and smooth as a result, and you’ll get the most bang for your buck with your beauty products!
It may sound scary to think about removing the top layer of your skin, but what that actually does is encourage the skin cells to regenerate so that you get new, healthy skin as often as possible. This also combats the process of aging, because fresh skin looks more youthful than the accumulation of rough, dead skin cells that you’ll acquire if you don’t exfoliate.
Bye skin problems
By exfoliating, you stimulate the collagen cells in your skin, which reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, steady exfoliation can reduce the dark spots by reducing the problematic pigment. The same is also true of acne scars. Think of exfoliant as a magical paintbrush which is able to wipe away problem areas you don’t like.
Each person is different, and what works for one person will be too much or too little for another. A general rule of thumb is that if you’re using a chemical exfoliant, start with once or twice a week and see how your skin reacts.
If you’re using a physical exfoliant, you can plan to use it once every other day or around three-four times a week for the maximum benefit. If it’s a very light exfoliant, you can even use it daily after cleansing your face. If you notice your skin getting too dry or irritated, cut back on exfoliating a little bit.
Start with a pea-sized dollop of product and slowly rub it in circles across your skin. Once you’ve sufficiently massaged it into your complexion, gently wash it off. You can use this all over your body, and it’s especially useful when preparing for a big night out so that your legs and arms are extra soft.
You can see both short-term and long-term effects of exfoliation. Starting from your first session, you’ll notice your skin having a healthy glow and a tighter look. In the long term, exfoliation will help correct uneven skintones and blemishes. It’s a must-add step to your beauty regime no matter which way you think about it!