No wonder. After all, nothing can make you feel better and more self-confident than having clear skin.
Between the cleansing and the moisturizing, there is a key step that most people tend to forget. Enter exfoliation to centre stage.
Home exfoliation is a great way to combat signs of ageing, get rid of acne scars, and so much more. Keep on reading for our full breakdown on what exfoliation entails, and how to safely do it at home.
What Is Exfoliation?
In the simplest of terms, exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from your outer layer of skin.
Our skin tries to shed its old and dead skin cells on its own naturally. However, sometimes it needs a bit of help, especially the older we get and the slower or processes of regeneration occurs.
Yet, it's crucial to do it correctly. Otherwise, you might risk over-exfoliating and causing damage to your skin barrier.
As it were, your skin barrier protects you from all the harmful UV rays, pollution, and free radicals that can harm your skin. When you over-exfoliate, you strip this natural protective barrier away from your skin.
That's why it's key to understand the different types of exfoliation and how to do it correctly.
Types of Home Exfoliation
There are two main types of home exfoliation, and those are mechanical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation.
Mechanical exfoliation uses tools, like a brush or sponge, or a homemade scrub to physically remove dead skin cells.
On the other hand, chemical exfoliations will use chemicals to gently dissolve dead skin cells.
1. Physical Exfoliators
Whenever you think about exfoliating, this is what you tend to envision. It's the technique of using grainy scrubs or exfoliating brushes to remove your dead skin cells and boost your blood circulation for clear and dewy-looking skin.
Regardless of the popularity of physical exfoliators, you'll have to keep a couple of things in mind.
First, whether your skin type can handle it and the frequency of exfoliating.
For instance, if you have sensitive skin or rosacea, then physically exfoliating might be too abrasive for your skin. In addition, make sure you're not physically exfoliating your face more than once a week.
2. Chemical Exfoliators
We know that when you start hearing about exfoliating acids or chemical exfoliators you might start picturing harsh acids. However, they're actually the gentler exfoliating option for all skin types.
The way chemical exfoliators work is by using gentle acids to dissolve the binding material (the glue, shall we say) that holds your dead cells to your live cells. This results in a brighter, smoother, and even-looking skin.
Furthermore, with chemical exfoliators, there are mainly two types of acids that you can choose. There is alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). Both of these can do different things depending on your skin type.
AHA: For Normal, Dry, Sensitive and Redness-Prone Skin
In the case of Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), they're water-soluble. This allows them to exfoliate your skin, whilst drawing in moisture to keep your face hydrated and moisturized.
They're well-known for their ability to "unglue" dead cells, which can give you brighter and smoother skin, without causing irritation or dryness.
Moreover, you'll find that AHAs will come in a variety of forms, like lactic acid, mandelic acid, glycolic acid, and tartaric acid.
The gentlest acid out of the bunch would be lactic acid. Thus, if you suffer from sensitive skin or simply just starting to use chemical exfoliants, then start with lactic acid.
You can apply is three times a week, preferably at night time. Just make sure that you wait ten minutes before applying your moisturizer so that it's fully absorbed by your skin.
BHA: Oily or Acne-Prone Skin
When it comes to Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), they're oil-soluble. It gives them the ability to break down oil-clogged pores to treat blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.
In addition, they're anti-inflammatory. This allows them to help mitigate some of the mild irritation that can be caused by the acids themselves.
If you've been suffering from acne, you're already quite familiar with the most common BHA, and that is salicylic acid. It's one of the most popular active ingredients in acne spot treatment products.
When it comes to skin that suffers from severe acne and is already quite desensitized to acids, you can use your BHA interchangeably with AHAs. Yet, be aware that when used together, this combo can be quite drying to your face.
Therefore, make sure that you're starting gradually and waiting for a couple of weeks to see how your skin will react to your new additions to your skincare routine.
How to Prevent Skin Damage While Exfoliating
There are a couple of tips that can help you prevent causing any damage to your skin due to exfoliation, as well as ensure that you're getting the full benefits from the process.
First, make sure to read the ingredients list of the skincare products you already have, and definitely the ones you're currently using.
For example, there are some medications and other over-the-counter products that might be causing you sensitivities. Adding strong chemical exfoliants to the mix might dry out your skin a bit too much, or even cause acne breakouts.
Second, you'll need to use a great moisturiser that's well-suited to your skin type. By applying your moisturizing ingredients right after exfoliating, you're adding protection to your skin barrier as well as hydrating your skin.
Ready to Have Great Skin?
Having consistently-clear skin is more of a journey than a goal. It's one of the greatest ways of self-care and it can have an immense effect on your mental wellbeing and your confidence levels.
Now that you know all about home exfoliation, its types, and how to pick the right one for you, you're already well situated to having great skin.
Yet, there is still so much more to learn about how your skin works, and how to take care of it as you age. Make sure to check out our blog for all the skin tips and advice you could possibly need.