Exfoliation is one of the basic skincare steps you’ve been doing for yonks. You know it’s important, but are you actually doing it correctly?
The thing is, though, exfoliation isn’t just about scrubbing all the dead skin off your face – there’s a little bit more to it. And it’s not a one-size fits all kind of thing.
Everyone’s skin is different, and for people with certain skin concerns, exfoliation done incorrectly can really compromise the health of your skin.
That’s why it’s important to know the best way to exfoliate for your skin type, and the best products suited to your specific needs.
We’ve pulled together a list of some of the definite don’ts of exfoliating, and what you should do instead.
While exfoliating can help slough off dead skin and pore-clogging gunk and give us radiant, smooth skin, there is such thing as exfoliating too much. And it can cause some serious havoc on the skin.
Your skin cells are there to protect your skin from environmental damage. As we get older, the dead skin cells take longer to slough off, meaning your skin can appear lacklustre and dull. If you use the correct amount of exfoliation (whether it be through acids or physical exfoliation), it will help break down oil, debris and dead surface skin cells, while still leave enough for your skin to be healthy and radiant.
However, if you over exfoliate your skin and go too hard, you can end up removing too many layers.
To put things into perspective, your skin basically has a natural renewal cycle of approximately 28 days – so, exfoliating your skin too much means you’ll expose some of those fresh new skin cells sitting beneath the top layer of your skin.
Why is this bad? Well, these fresh skin cells aren’t ready to be at the top - you’re basically stripping the skin’s moisture barrier and risking things like redness, inflammation and irritation.
For starters, if you’re exfoliating your skin every day you might want to pull back. It’s just not necessary and is no more effective than doing it once or twice a week.
Constantly exfoliating your skin can actually be pretty detrimental (as mentioned above) and can result in a slew of different issues. So, it’s therefore not recommended. Instead, stick to exfoliating no more than once or twice a week. Because even if the exfoliant is gentle, it is best to not over do it.
While giving your skin a good scrub may feel good, it’s certainly not doing your skin any favours – a gentle approach is always best.
If you’re going in too hard with something quite abrasive, you can really end up messing up your skin, creating irritation and potentially flaring up existing skin issues like acne, rosacea and the likes.
When it comes to exfoliation, all you’re really doing is giving your skin a gentle nudge – your skin will do the rest on its own.
It’s also important to know that there are two different kinds of exfoliants: physical and chemical. Chemical exfoliants contain active ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic and lactic) and beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid).
The exfoliation process that best suits you will depend on your individual skin type – so it’s important to consider any skin concerns you might have when choosing a method.
Both of these products feature salicylic acid in concentrations that won’t irritate or disrupt the skin, providing gentle exfoliation to help keep pores clear and impurities at bay.
For normal to dry skin types, we recommend a physical exfoliant such as Skin Virtue’s Pure Exfoliating Mask.
Unlike other abrasive facial scrubs on the market, our Pure Exfoliating Mask is extremely gentle and soothing. It features barrier restoring properties that help protect the skin while still removing dead surface cells and boosting circulation.
If you’re looking for other options, Skin Virtue’s Pure Radiance Glow Serum is a glycolic exfoliator that is suitable for all skin types.
This kind of product is recommended for those who need a stronger exfoliator that will remove dead surface skin cells and impurities from the skin, encouraging cell renewal and increasing the skin metabolism.
In terms of professional in-clinic treatments, chemical peels such as Skin Virtue’s Ultra AHA Clinical PRO Peel are designed to eliminate dead skin cells and gently activate the skin’s renewal system – delivering a whole host of benefits for plump, nourished, clear and glowing skin.
It’s not only how you exfoliate your skin but what you do afterwards, too.
While all of Skin Virtue’s exfoliating products provide deep and long-lasting hydration (you won’t get that tight, drying feeling like you do with other products), it’s still beneficial to follow this step with a moisturiser.
It might sound obvious, but moisturiser is essential for boosting the protective abilities of the skin barrier, helping keep your skin hydrated and well-nourished.
So, don’t skimp on moisturiser!
Are you guilty of any of the above mistakes?
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By Gary Williams, Bio