Hello and welcome back to the basics of skincare where we talk about the most simple steps of your skincare routine and break them down for you so that you can building your perfect skincare routine. Today we’ll be talking about how to properly exfoliate your skin.
When talking about exfoliation, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely one of those DIY face scrubs that are all over Pinterest. They’re usually made with sugar, coffee grounds or walnuts. Please don’t use those. Today we are going to learn about the best type of exfoliation. And why it’s a crucial step in your skincare routine.
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.
Why dead skin cells are a problem?
Every single month, we create brand-new skin cells that come to the surface, it’s the reason why we stay youthful. Young skin looks clear, but our body has a tough time shedding itself of those dead (older) skin cells. So to give our skin a little push and help with that process, we need to exfoliate.
Why is it necessary to exfoliate your face?
It is important to exfoliate your skin because when it comes to skincare we often have major concerns to deal with like acne, dark spots, scarring or fine lines etc. A lot of these problems seem like they can’t be solved by the typical skincare routine (cleanse and moisturize) which is usually the case.
When you exfoliate you have to use sunscreen. It may seem like a pain but it’s the most important part of the skincare routine. When you exfoliate, your skin is more sensitive to the sun which means that it will get damaged much easier.
*cough* more dark spots and fine lines *cough*
In addition, if you’re trying to get rid of dark spots or scars on your face through exfoliation, not wearing sunscreen will only make those problems worse. So make sure you have a good sunscreen in your collection. If you want to find a really good simple cheap one I personally recommend The CeraVe % Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. It’s lightweight, absorbs easily and you can find it at pretty much any drugstore.
Types of exfoliation
There are two main types of exfoliation:
- First physical exfoliation: DO NOT USE IT, I will explain why;
- The second form is chemical exfoliation
1. Physical exfoliation
Let’s start with physical exfoliation. It refers to facial scrubs, anything that’s abrasive or gritty that you rub across your face to make your skin feel really smooth afterwards.
I personally do not, in general, recommend physical exfoliation for your face. Especially when you are just getting into skincare and figuring out what works best for your skin. Simply because it’s really hard to know when you are removing just the right amount of dead skin cells, and when you are overdoing it and potentially causing damage to your skin.
However, if you insist on using a physical scrub. I would say use it once a week. Gently rub it across your face. Rinsing it off by splashing your face so you don’t rub it in even more and potentially cause damage. If you notice that your skin starts to burn or just feel sore stop right away. That is a sign of irritation.
Now onto chemical exfoliation, my favorite type of exfoliation. It really embodies all of the benefits that I was talking about earlier, minus the potential damage associated with facial scrubs.
Let’s break it down!
The name may seem intimidating but it just describes the way the exfoliation works. Through using gentle acids (aka chemicals), you can gently dissolve the dead skin cells off the surface of your skin.
I think this method is a lot better than physical exfoliation because the chemicals work at a steady rate. And while you may not see dramatic results instantly, over a long term you’re gonna see so much better results without the possible sensitivity or damage.
There are varying levels of intensity when talking about chemical exfoliants:
The first that I usually recommend is salicylic acid. It goes deep into the pores and unclogs them by pushing out any impurities. Usually people want to start exfoliating their faces because of how their pores look. Or because they are struggling with acne or breakouts. Salicylic acid is great for that, and is relatively gentle in the world of exfoliating acids.
For a salicylic acid product I personally recommend the Paulas Choice-SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant this one is amazing for unclogging pores and making your skin look smooth. It’s just an amazing product, and let’s just say that there’s a reason for its popularity.
If you’re feeling more confident and want to get a little more intense, I recommend trying out lactic acid. It’s still an “entry level” acid and very gentle, but just a tad bit more intense. I personally like the The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + Ha 2% it can be mixed with a moisturizer or a toner when put onto the skin or can be used on its own, depending on your personal preference.
Now if your skin seems to like lactic acid (you’re not seeing any redness or irritation) then I would suggest moving on to glycolic acid. It’s more intense and really works to dissolve even the smallest dead skin cells.
Glycolic acid is great, but you should be careful about what percentage it’s at, because at a higher percentage it may freak out sensitive skin. So be careful! I personally love the Krave Beauty Kale-lalu-yAHA, it works so well and isn’t too intense percentage wise.
Multi acid complex
The final most intense type of exfoliation you can try for your face is a multi acid complex. It means that multiple types of exfoliating acids are put into one product that work to really dissolve very quickly the dead skin cells off of your face.
For a leave on product, I personally like the use of the Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power toner. This one is formulated with both lactic and glycolic acids. It’s very powerful and very intense. So I only recommend it to people who are pretty familiar with exfoliation or as a mask.
I also love The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA 30% + BHA 2%. This viral hit (that has been all over Tiktok) is so amazing. In 10 minutes it dissolves all the dead skin cells off the face and just make your skin look so glowy.
How to chemically exfoliate your skin?
I’m sure you’ve been wondering. For every product it is different. Usually it will have instructions on the back. So we are going to focus on how to make sure you’re exfoliating correctly and not doing anything wrong.
When it comes to any type of exfoliant I recommend starting off slowly. Start by using the product once a week. Then work your way up to a maximum of once every other day. I personally don’t recommend exfoliating your face every single day. Unless it’s with a very gentle exfoliant. You want to make sure to give your skin a break when it needs it.
When you exfoliate, how do you know if your skin is responding positively or negatively.
So you’ve been exfoliating for a while now. If you start noticing redness, irritation, soreness or pain, your skin is not responding well and you should probably take a break.
However if you notice that your skin is starting to look more fresh, healthy and glowy. Then you know it’s working really well for your skin. Especially if dark spots, scars and fine lines are disappearing.
If you are scared about having a negative reaction to a product, patch test it. It is one of the best skincare techniques to make sure that products are safe for you.
That was a lot of information!! If you have more questions feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
See you next Friday!
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