Exfoliation is so easy and so good for your skin if done right, you ought to include it in your routine if you haven't, already. Here's how to do it right, without spending additional time or money.
Keeping things simple, we will only talk about facial exfoliation here. We will cover body scrubs in a later post. Here's what we will cover:
- Why exfoliate?
- How to exfoliate?
- Precautions to take
- Product suggestions
5 benefits, and reasons why:
Deeper cleansing: The physical scrub action lifts dirt, oil, grime and dead skin from microscopic crevices and from the pores on our skin. Blocked pores = acne, blackheads. A simple face wash can never match the physical action of a scrub.
Surface preparation: Like how an artist first prepares the canvas before painting, exfoliation prepares your face to spread and absorb moisturizers, creams and sunscreens better, enhancing their benefit
Surface polishing: Exfoliation provides an instant "buffing" effect for your skin. Obviously this is not permanent, but then who doesn't like instant rewards?
Younger skin: Practised within limits, exfoliation keeps skin renewed and younger. The clearing up of the skin and the rush of blood to the face promotes fresh cell growth
Advanced benefits: Chemical peels can go deeper (literally) and help resolve sun damage, pigmentation and scarring issues. Mild chemical exfoliants like lactic acid and glycolic acid as part of formulations are good for regular use, but DO NOT TRY advanced chemical peels at home. We've seen serious issues that can only be tackled under clinical conditions
How to exfoliate?
The how is as important as the what, in exfoliation. Here's how to get the best exfoliation experience:
- Use exfoliating face scrub or face wash once a day, preferably in the evening when you are back home. Use a normal, mild face wash in the morning.
- We are not cleaning floor tiles here! Always, always, choose mild exfoliants that are soft and/or can dissolve while you wash your face. It's best to avoid nut powders, shell powders, tough plastic and other abrasives that can actually scratch your skin. Remember that natural does not always mean good. Some of the kernel powders we've seen are quite sharp - and really not required for facial skin.
- Mild chemical peels such as products containing small amounts of lactic acid, glycolic acid (AHAs) or salicylic acid (BHA) can be used as part of the daily skin care regimen. Stay away from anything more potent unless under dermatological guidance.
Always follow-up exfoliation with a moisturizer. It's the best treatment you can give to your skin. Also, exposed skin can be prone to dryness.
- If you have acne, be gentle while scrubbing your face. Inflamed skin can make things worse for acne
Exfoliation is one of those good things where too much can be quite bad. Follow these precautions:
- Once a day is more than enough. If you are not exposed to dirt, or have dry skin, 3-4 times a week is also good enough. Oily skin types are better off using a mild scrub once a day.
- As mentioned before, avoid hard particles or potent chemical peels. Take it easy
- Do not try to scrub away acne physically. It makes the problem worse.
- Do not apply makeup immediately after exfoliation. Use a moisturizer, settle things down, and then proceed to apply make-up, after an hour or so
- Along with your face, use exfoliants on your neck as well. Else the difference will start to show after a few washes.
- Never use body scrubs on your face
: you can exfoliate too much, so watch out!
There's lots of scrub products out there, choose one that suits you and that you would like using daily. Here's a list of stuff that we recommend:
- Face washes with scrubs in them - elegant, fuss-free way to exfoliate. Remember to avoid scratchy stuff. Choose products with softer scrubs, like cellulose, jojoba beads and polyethylene (note: we don't support polyethylene beads because they are insoluble and end up polluting water bodies where they finally end up)
- Cleansing lotion with scrubs in them: not a whole lot of such products out there, but this is a great way to get going with exfoliation
- Pure scrubs: non-lathering cream-scrubs that only exfoliate. Good if you want to exfoliate once in a while.
- Scrub cloths: not yet widely available in India, but an easy, mild way of exfoliating.
- Skin cleaning brushes: a great way to exfoliate in a systematic manner, but again, not widely available in India.
- Products with chemical peels in them: look for glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid or salicylic acid in the ingredient list
If you are looking for specific problem solution (e.g., hyperpigmentation), consult a qualified dermatologist before trying stuff on yourself.
That's it, then. Let us know if you found this post useful. (Gently) scrub away & Be Good!