Everyone knows the good ol’ cleanse – tone – moisturize mantra we all probably had to learn as early as the teenage years. However, there is another step that can also greatly improve the appearance of your skin that you don’t hear about as much – exfoliation!
This essential skin care method entails gently removing the outer, dead layers of the skin, either through physical or chemical means.
When your skin is purified of the old cells and other toxins that amass on its surface, it’s allowed to breathe and absorb all the nutrients faster and more thoroughly. This means that including this step in your beauty regimen can help improve your complexion in a number of different ways.
So, regardless of whether you are battling acne, aging skin or sullen complexion, stick around to find out how purifying your skin through exfoliation can help you achieve that beautiful, radiant complexion you’ve been aiming for.
It Will Boost Your Complexion
If you feel like your skin is looking less-than-ideal, but can’t really pinpoint the actual problems, then you’re probably experiencing the dreaded case of dull complexion.
This skin issue usually manifests itself in lackluster, grey-looking skin tone, more pronounced blemishes and uneven texture. Sometimes, no matter how many masks and moisturizers you’re putting on, you can’t seem to fix the appearance of your skin.
Luckily, exfoliation can be incredibly useful for addressing this particular skin issue.
This is because the underlying causes behind tired-looking complexion lie in the buildup of dead cells, excess sebum and other outside pollutants on the surface of our skin.
And to wake up the clear, healthy-looking skin that lurking from underneath, you’ll need to scrub off these unwanted layers of grime and gunk first.
When looking for the perfect exfoliation formula to perk up your complexion, you have several options:
- Mechanical exfoliants (gloves, towels, loofas)
- Formulas enriched with physical agents, such as beads, nut shells, etc.
- Chemical exfoliants (acids and retinoids)
The first two options are considered to be pretty abrasive, so you should tread lightly, especially if your skin is sensitive or prone to irritation.
Chemical exfoliants have been gaining more traction in the beauty world, mostly thanks to their gentle formulas that manage to break down old and dead cells without aggravating the skin.
The type of exfoliants you chose will largely depend on your specific skin problems and whether you’re prone to irritation.
And if you’re wondering how often you should be exfoliating your face, perhaps it’s a good idea to start slowly, especially if your skin isn’t used to it already. If you’ve opted for physical scrubs, you can start by applying it once a week, then double the usage if you see a positive reaction on your skin.
However, be mindful that there is such a thing as too much exfoliation – so best to listen to your skin and take a step back if it starts feeling overly dry or irritated.
It Will Help with Dry Skin
All skin types can benefit from regular exfoliation; however, this step might be especially useful for people who suffer from dry and dehydrated skin.
Symptoms that usually accompany parched cells include itchiness, flaky areas and dull, uneven texture of the skin.
This happens when there is an increased accumulation of dry cells on your skin’s surface, causing the dryness to manifest itself in rough, patchy areas.
Other than being generally unappealing, dry and flaky skin can be a real nuisance when it comes to applying makeup, as it can result in messy, cakey looking finish.
Luckily, instances of dry skin can be greatly reduced if you decide to include exfoliation into your regular routine.
By gently scrubbing the surface of your skin, you will assist it in shedding the rough patches and dead skin cells at a faster rate, unravelling the healthy, undamaged skin that’s hiding underneath.
Moreover, a thorough scrub will allow all the additional moisturizing products to penetrate deeper into your skin, boosting the overall hydration and contributing to a plumper, glowing complexion.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to exfoliating dry skin is that you don’t want to go for a product that will strip any more moisture than it needs to.
Gentle acids (such as lactic and glycolic) can be the ideal option for dry skin types.
For all their gentle properties, keep in mind that acids are still very potent on the skin and should always be followed up with rich, hydration-packed moisturizers to lock in the benefits and prevent loss of water.
You Will Minimize Signs of Premature Aging
As we grow older, our skin becomes less capable to fight off outside pollutants. Moreover, the production of collagen and elastin in skin cells gradually slows down.
This results in more pronounced signs of aging skin, such as fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
What’s more, all these issues become even more prominent when your skin is all clogged up.
Since mature skin tends to be more brittle and prone to damage, it’s crucial that you choose an exfoliating formula that is best suited for your complexion.
Avoid harsh physical scrubs that contain beads and other gritty agents, as they can cause tears in the skin and exacerbate the symptoms of damage.
Skin experiencing fine lines and other imperfections associated with aging processes can greatly benefit from gentle chemical exfoliants, such as the alpha hydroxy acids.
These powerful formulas have the ability to gradually break down the outer layers of the skin without causing added irritation or dryness.
With consistent use, they can contribute to a clearer complexion, less visible signs of aging and accelerated skin renewal.
Mature skin can especially benefit from lactic and glycolic acid, as they can promote cell turnover, while still remaining delicate on the skin.
Your acids can be applied after the toner and before the moisturizing products. You can load them up on a cotton round or place directly onto your skin.
Your Skin Care Will Be More Effective
When your skin is buried under dead cells and all other kinds of pollutants, its receptiveness to formulas that are supposed to help repair it minimizes.
That’s why skipping on exfoliation might be one of the reasons why you aren’t noticing positive effects of your daily skin care.
When you cleanse the outer layers of the skin from all the dead cells and other irritants, you increase its power of absorption, which can greatly improve the performance of your toners, serums, moisturizes and other beauty product.
And if you’re not quite sure which place exfoliation is supposed to occupy in your skin care, here are a few pointers to help you out.
Generally speaking, your exfoliating product should be applied after you’ve removed your makeup and thoroughly cleansed your skin.
Once you’re done, make sure to rinse the formula with cold water to remove any residue and tighten your pores.
Since exfoliating products, both chemical and physical, tend to be very potent, it’s important to restore the pH levels in your complexion after completing this step.
A good formula for achieving just that will be a hydrating toner, as it will help balance your skin and lock in the first level of moisture after you’ve stripped it from all the dirt and pollutants. It’s best to apply it when your skin is still damp after rinsing.
Once you’ve toned your skin, move onto your moisturizing products, i.e. serums, ampoules and facial creams.
You should also note that your skin is more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun after exfoliation – so make sure to shield it with a high-SPF sunscreen if you plan on going outside during daytime.
It Will Reduce Chances of Acne and Blackheads
People who are battling frequent spots and blackheads are well aware of the importance of keeping your skin clean of any potential irritants.
And to achieve this, sometimes you need to take it a step further from your favorite go-to cleanser.
An exfoliating product can help curb acne and blackheads by removing polluting agents and excess sebum from your pores in a more thorough way than your regular face wash.
And when your pores are squeaky-clean, you reduce chances of breakouts and other unpleasant skin-related surprises.
This group of acids, which includes salicylic and citric acid, is generally recommended for oily and acne-prone skin types, due to its immense pore-declogging powers and anti-bacterial properties.
You can ease into a BHA-infused routine by applying your exfoliants once or twice a week, then increasing the usage if you notice your complexion is benefiting from it.
As products containing beta hydroxy acids tend to be photosensitive, make sure to always apply a heavy-duty sunscreen after you’ve layered your exfoliants.
Alternatively, you can incorporate it into your PM routine and let it do its magic while you’re catching up on sleep.
Your Makeup Will Look Better
Don’t you hate it when foundation separates or, even worse, clings onto your dry patches?
Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that, other than contributing to a more youthful, healthier complexion, regular exfoliation can also have some more practical benefits.
For one, it can make your makeup go from just OK to perfectly polished.
By ridding your skin of the rough patches and flakiness, you will achieve a more refined, uniformed complexion – both when it comes to tone and texture.
This will help provide a clean canvas for your base product, and allow any foundation, concealer or powder to blend seamlessly into your skin.
Moreover, you won’t have a need for any pore-clogging primers and other prepping formulas, as your skin will do all the work for you.
Since getting into an elaborate exfoliating routine before proceeding to do your daily makeup look might be time-consuming for some, you might want to seek quicker, more convenient methods of refining your complexion.
A good one is simply to invest in a tub of exfoliating pads, a stack of cotton rounds soaked in a skin-exfoliating formula. Every morning prior to applying makeup, you can swipe one pad across your face, then move onto toners and moisturizers.
This fast and easy method will give you a polished look in a matter of seconds. What’s more, exfoliating pads are travel-friendly and can be whipped out to perfect your skin anywhere and anytime.
It Will Make Your Body Buttery Soft
Now that we’ve established how exfoliation can completely transform the skin on your face, shall we focus on the body?
Even if your skin care game is on point, it can be easy to forget that the biggest organ in your body needs a bit of TLC from the neck down, as well.
And to achieve soft, supple skin on your body, all you really need is two steps: exfoliation and moisturizing.
Skin on your body tends to be thicker and less sensitive, so you can get away with more potent scrubbing methods.
This can include brushes, loofas or body gels packed with natural, biodegradable exfoliants, such as sugar, salt, coffee or nut shells.
The best time to give your arms, legs and other parts of your body a good cleanse is during the shower, when your pores open up and allow you to remove all the grime that amasses throughout the day.
Once you’re out of the bath or shower, make sure to lather up on a body lotion, to prevent loss of moisture and maximize on your body’s improved absorption potentials.
If you choose to exfoliate your bod in the evening, don’t hesitate to go for a richer moisturizer, as you won’t have to worry about feeling overly greasy or sticky while your skin is being fed with the precious nutrients.
Hopefully, this list has managed to convince you into the powers of exfoliation. Whether you are looking to tackle a specific skin care concern or are just looking for a way to elevate your beauty routine, we are sure that little bit of exfoliation will do a world of good for your face and your body.