It’s a seriously powerful way to quickly improve the quality and appearance of your skin. Yet exfoliation is often far too low down on our beauty to-do list. So let’s change that right now.
Not only does exfoliating “clear away dead skin cells”, it can also leave you looking and feeling replenished and refreshed. But there’s even more to it than that. The real reasons for making it fixed part of your beauty regime is the science behind it. Exfoliation increases the flow of blood and lymph to your skin, and boosts cell turnover. This is what keeps your skin looking younger.
Now there are various techniques but the two main categories of face and body exfoliation can be summed up as mechanical or chemical.
Mechanical exfoliation simply means the use of various substances to physically buff or scrub the skin. Whereas chemical exfoliation, not surprisingly, uses chemical products instead.
You can go to a spa to get these treatments done for you, but you really can achieve the same results at home with just a little practice and the right products.
Below we’ll get to the actual process itself, but first let’s make sure we’re not under or overdoing it.
How Often Should You Exfoliate?
The most important thing to remember here is – the answer depends on your skin. We all have different skin types, and our skin changes with age. The climate of where we live is also a factor though – as heat and sun makes us produce more oils and (dare I say it..) sweat.
So once a week is a good starting guideline. But it’s never a daily thing!
If you have oily skin however then you will probably benefit from exfoliating more often. Those oils are there to protect our skin, so they will slow down the rate at which old skin cells are lost. But too oily and we can end up with dull looking skin because that process has slowed down too much. So if that’s you then you may want to move up to twice a week.
But if you have dry skin of course the opposite applies, and less often will give you better overall results. The same goes for sensitive skin. You want your skin to look fresh and feel silky smooth – if you end up with anything else then it’s either a problem with how often you are exfoliating, or the products you are using are too harsh.
When To Exfoliate?
It doesn’t really matter if you prefer to exfoliate morning or night. The how often (covered above) is more important. But if you’ve forgotten when you last did an exfoliation treatment, just have a close look at your skin – if you’re seeing dry or rough areas that’s a good indicator. Or if your skin is looking a bit lifeless. You’ll get to know the signs.
It’s important not to overdo it though. If you’re seeing very dry skin or signs of soreness or irritation, that’s definitely not the time to be exfoliating.
If you’re using self-tanning products or spray tans, then you want to exfoliate before you use them. This will greatly help you achieve a consistent color tone, and avoid that patchiness you often see. That’s because dead skin cells can’t darken properly from self-tan and will stop the product absorbing so well. And whilst spray tan will darken dead skin cells, they will drop soon and you’ll start to lose your color quicker.
So if you exfoliate before, your spray tan will last longer and your self-tanner will work better!
Some Tips On How To Exfoliate
How To Exfoliate
The first step to a full exfoliation is to give your body a quick light once over with a body brush or exfoliating gloves. Do this whilst still dry before you get into the shower.
Then wet yourself thoroughly once in the shower, before then applying your exfoliating cleanser using a sponge or mitten. [Note: don’t use any cleanser if you are using a product such as the Baiden Mitten or the Dermasuri Mitt as these products are specially designed to be used without]. I don’t recommend using a loofah as they can be very harsh and there are better products available for this purpose.
Gently rub across the skin in small circular movements, gradually working your way up from your feet to your face. Be extra mindful of what you are doing and be extra gentle around your face.
Then rinse off with warm water, before a final (if you can bear it) rinse with cold water. You can use a mild soap or shower gel to finish if you like but it isn’t really necessary.
And of course once you’re out of the shower you want to apply a body moisturizing lotion to protect those new glowing layers of healthy skin.
Finding The Best Products
There are so many products that can be used to exfoliate your face and body, each with varying sensitive ratings for skin. If you have very sensitive skin then it would be best to try a moisturizing cream exfoliant. A variety of these moisturizers, when placed on the skin, will form a thin layer atop the surface of the skin. Once this layer has dried it must be gently peeled off in order to remove the dead skin cells.
For those who don’t have sensitive skins you could try a granular moisturizing product. These types of moisturizers must be combined with water in order to dissolve the granules. They will then be applied to the skin in small circular motions before being washed away with warm water to remove all dead cells and leave a replenished appearance.
Personally I now prefer a specialist mitten instead of using these products. They give a good result, and hey, it’s one less bottle to buy.
Specific Products For Specific Areas
Be careful with some products. Products designed for ‘body’ use will tend to be much harsher than those specifically labelled as being for your face. In reality there’s no reason why you can’t use the same product for all over your body, so long as you find one that is gentle enough for facial use. You simply apply a little more pressue on the ‘tougher’ areas.
Using a lotion that is unsuitable for your skin type can cause damage to the skin itself. Incorrect exfoliation of the face can also cause the skin to dry out and drying of the skin, particularly sensitive skin, can result in unhealthy tone and wrinkles. It is vital that you do not exfoliate your face excessively as excessive exfoliation can also lead to bursting of blood vessels.
Exfoliation is a really important part of maintaining healthy skin. So if you haven’t added it to your toolbox yet, do give it a try, you will be surprised how effective (and cheap!) it can be.