Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Skincare 101: Exfoliation

Exfoliation is a very important part of any good skincare routine.  If you do not exfoliate than you are leaving countless dead skin cells on your face to clog your pores, cause texture problems, enhance wrinkles, and make dark spots look darker.  If you want clear, glowing skin (and c'mon who doesn't?!) exfoliation is an absolute must.

There are many different options when it comes to exfoliating, which can make it a bit tricky.  There are also necessary rules to follow when exfoliating so that you don't overdo it and damage your skin.  In order to help you navigate all of this, today I am telling you everything you need to know about exfoliating.  Exfoliation is one of my favorite parts of skincare and I can confidently say that it has changed my skin for the better, I hope that after reading this you can say the same!

Exfoliating is a way to remove dead skin cells, debris, and more from the surface of your skin.  Dead skin cells build up on your skin making it look dull, sallow, and lackluster.  Additionally it can clog pores, make wrinkles more visible, and make pigmented spots more noticeable.  Exfoliation sloughs away dead skin and helps with all of the aforementioned problems it causes.

It is necessary to exfoliate to keep your skin looking great.  By removing the dead skin cells that have built up you not only improve the appearance of your skin, but allow products to penetrate skin better and work harder.  Exfoliating brightens skin, changes its texture, and gives it an overall "glow."  If you exfoliate your skin a few times a week you will help to keep dead skin cells at bay and prevent the issues they cause.

There are two types of exfoliation, physical and chemical.  Both have different benefits and I think that it's important to incorporate both into your routine.  Below I explain each type.

Physical exfoliation is what most people think of when they hear the word exfoliate.  To physically exfoliate you typically use a scrub with granule ingredients.  You use a physical exfoliator to to "scrub" your skin and the granules work to remove dead skin cells.  Granules typically used in scrubs include sugar, sea salt, walnut shells, nuts, jojoba beads, and more.  You can also use a facial brush or washcloth to physically exfoliate.  Basically any method in which you perform an action to remove dead skin is physical exfoliation.

Chemical exfoliation* uses chemicals to dissolve and break down dead skin cells to remove them from skin.  Ingredients that chemically exfoliate include alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, and enzymes found in fruits such as pineapples and papayas, among others.  Chemical exfoliators tend to be more gentle than physical ones and are great at unclogging pores.  Any method in which you use an acid or enzyme ingredients (without granules, a skin brush, etc.) to remove dead skin cells is chemical exfoliation.  

*Recently most professionals (dermatologists, estheticians, beauty editors, beauty magazine, etc.) are saying that chemical exfoliation is the best way to exfoliate because it is more gentle and effective.

The key to properly physically exfoliating the skin is to do it gently.  I know that when you have a scrub everyone's first instinct (including mine) is to aggressively scrub at your skin because that seems like it would be the most effective; however, you're actually doing more harm than good by doing this.  By harshly scrubbing your skin you can create micro tears in the skin and cause damage.  Instead you need to lightly massage a scrub onto damp skin in a circular motion to allow the product to do the work.  You also do the same with a face brush or wash cloth.

My advice for chemical exfoliants is to follow their directions to a T.  Each chemical exfoliant is used differently because of the ingredients it contains.  The most important thing is to not leave a chemical exfoliant on your face for longer than the instructions say because you could potentially damage your skin.  Chemical exfoliants are perfectly safe (and gentle), but only if used properly.

This depends on your individual skin and is something that you need to experiment with for the best results.  I recommend exfoliating two to three times a week to start and adjusting it from there (adding or subtracting a day).  You also do not want to exfoliate every day with a scrub or chemical exfoliant that has the sole purpose of exfoliating.  The exception to this is if you're using something like this, which the directions indicate are safe to use every day.

(Combines both chemical and physical exfoliation.)
If you have any questions about any of this please feel free to ask in the comments or email me.  I love talking about skincare so I would love to help you or answer any questions!

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  1. I love Tacha brand!! So many great picks here!

  2. Is it bad that I rarely (read: never) exfoliate? I do, sorta, when I self tan, which is rare. I'm not sure if this is considered exfoliating, but do you have any recommendations for a lip scrub?

  3. Thanks for the tips! I need to exfoliate more as well.

  4. I rarely exfoliate my skin but I think I need to!

  5. Such great information, lady! As much as I know I need to, I never exfoliate... and my skin hates me for it. Thanks for the reminder! :)

    Diary of a Debutante

  6. Exfoliating is so important! I love doing scrubs and then of course using lotion afterwards! Great tips on why to do it!



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