Methods of Exfoliation & How to Exfoliate for Your Skin Type
What Is Exfoliation?
Exfoliation is a process which involves removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin, known as the epidermis.
“But my body naturally sheds away dead skin cells, so why do I need to exfoliate, then?”
You may be thinking, “But my body naturally sheds away dead skin cells, so why do I need to exfoliate, then?” And you’re right! But it turns out, as you age, cellular turnover slows down and dead skin cells start to accumulate. Your skin begins to appear dull, and that’s when you realize your skin has suddenly lost its youthful glow.
So what can you do to help counteract the effects of aging?
Exfoliate. Exfoliation speeds up cellular turnover to reveal radiant new skin cells. This is why exfoliating should become part of your regular skin care routine!
Methods of Exfoliation
There are two main methods of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical.
Mechanical exfoliation utilizes physical methods of exfoliation such as:
- Cleansing brush. The bristles of the brush lift away dead skin cells with ease.
- Loofah sponge. The textured surface of an exfoliating sponge buffs your skin.
- Face cloth. The grain of the fabric gentle rubs away dead skin cells.
- Face Scrub. Tiny abrasive particles scour away dead skin cells.
Chemical exfoliation does just that; it exfoliates your skin through the use of chemicals (acids, retinol, enzymes).
There are 2 common active ingredients in chemical peels. They are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs).
- Alpha-hydroxy acid. AHAs are acids are derived from natural foods. Examples: glycolic acid (from sugar cane), lactic acid (from milk), tartaric acid (from grapes), citric acid (from lemons), malic acid (from apples).
- Beta-hydroxy acid. BHA is derived from the willow tree and is more commonly known as salicylic acid.
Choosing the Right Method of Exfoliation for Your Skin Type
Dry Skin/Sensitive Skin. If your skin is dry and/or sensitive, play it safe! You want to be more cautious so as to not irritate your skin. Use a wet face cloth to gently scrub your face. Or, opt for a mild chemical exfoliant such as lactic acid. Exfoliate one to two times per week, max!
Oily Skin/Acne Prone. If your skin is oily or prone to acne, salicylic acid should be your exfoliant of choice. It is lipid soluble; meaning it can penetrate your [oily] pores to unclog the debris of dead skin cells.
Aging Skin. Mature skin can benefit greatly from retinol. When retinol is absorbed into your skin, it is converted to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid speeds cellular turnover, boosts collagen production, lightens age spots, and is a potent antioxidant!
When You Should Stop Exfoliating
Yes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! When it comes to exfoliating, you don’t want to overdo it. If your skin is red, burning, or inflamed, it’s time to take a break! As a general rule, exfoliate once per week. If your skin can tolerate it, you can exfoliate up to two times per week.