Exfoliate. It is something that often comes up when discussing skin care regime, but is it really something to add to your routine? The answer is a definite YES, no matter your skin type. Regular exfoliation benefits every skin type, from oily to dry, and there are numerous reasons to jump on board the exfoliation train. Here are the 5 most compelling:
- Diminish Acne and Blemishes: Exfoliating removes dry skin cells that build up and create a barrier that traps oil and causes breakouts. It also unclogs pores, which gets rid of blackheads and prevents future breakouts. By exfoliating, you are encouraging new, healthy skin cells to grow, removing the red marks left behind by blemishes and acne.
- Even Skin Tone: As already discussed, exfoliating removes the dead skin, paving the way for new, healthy skin to appear. This is not only a benefit to help heal from unsightly blemishes; it also helps with any kind of hyperpigmentation that may form due to age, pregnancy, hormonal changes, or just genetics. Exfoliating will break up the pigmented cells. Then, as you get rid of old, dead skin, the discoloration will fade over time, giving your whole face a more even skin tone. The lack of dead skin cells will also lead to brighter, more radiant skin.
- Moisturize dry skin: Dry skin happens because of the build up of old, dead skin cells, so moisturizer alone won’t help because the skin on the surface is already dead. Once you remove the dead skin via exfoliating, then your moisturizer can work on the new, live cells that have been hiding underneath. Exfoliating speeds up the skin’s natural renewal process, which will bring new, moisture rich cells to the surface in addition to helping your moisturizer work better.
- Smooth Skin: When you exfoliate, your skin surface will be instantly smoother because it is the dry cells that make skin seem rough. Additionally, the new cells that have been growing and hiding underneath the rough, dead skin are smooth. An added bonus is that, as discussed, your moisturizer will be able to work better, also helping to make skin smooth and luminous.
- Youthful Skin: The dullness that comes with age is actually the build up of dead cells. The skin has a natural process of renewal, but as you age it slows down. Exfoliating will boost this process and get rid of the dull, dead skin. By boosting the renewal process through exfoliation, your skin remains youthful and rejuvenated, and fine lines and wrinkles are also lessened. Additionally, like moisturizer, exfoliating helps anti-aging products penetrate deeper.
So, now that you know you need to exfoliate, how and when should you do it? There are two kinds of exfoliation: manual and chemical. Manual exfoliation is when you use a rough scrub, like a sugar scrub, and a loofah or some other rough tool that physically brush off dead cells. Chemical exfoliation, which sounds harsh, can be quite natural and just means you are relying on a product containing ingredients that will dissolve the dead skin without rubbing. If you opt for the manual, make sure that the granules in your product are smooth and round, especially if you are using it on your face. Good options are jojoba beads, and stay away from walnut shells, which can be jagged. Also, be gentle and use a light touch. For chemical options, the best ingredients include alpha or beta hydroxy acids, but if you have sensitive skin look for fruit-derived enzymes. Exfoliating once a week is sufficient, and doing it at night is best because you are giving your skin a chance to regenerate while you sleep. Moisturize right after exfoliating, and your skin will get the extra benefits of a good moisturizer on fresh, new cells.
So, do you need to exfoliate? The answer is yes! Not believe me, there is a self-test. Take a piece of tape and apply it to your forehead. Rub it a bit, and remove. See all those dead skin cells? Just think of the damage they can do. Fix it by purchasing a good exfoliate, and make it part of your weekly routine.