Every day, our skin is exposed to various environmental factors including allergens, dust, chemicals, the ingredients in our skin care products and make up essentials. It’s important for us to care for and cleanse our skin to renew and regenerate fresh, clean skin by exfoliating.
But what does exfoliation do? Why do we need it? And how do we properly exfoliate without creating a larger problem?
Let’s dive in.
WHAT IS EXFOLIATION?
Just like a snake sheds its skin, a human’s skin naturally sheds dead skin cells and fresh, new skin pushes its way to the top. Exfoliators help to remove those dead skin cells to clear the way for the new skin.
TYPES OF EXFOLIATORS
There are three types of exfoliators: Chemical, Mechanical, and Physical
Chemical exfoliants use either an acid or enzyme-based formulation to dissolve the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together. If you have a lot of build-up, this particular type is really effective for cleaning out the cells. When you think of acids or enzymes you may think of chemical peels. Basically, peels help to create a necessary “wound” in order for your reviving cells to come to the rescue, produce more collagen and elastin, and allow for your skin to rejuvenate.
Mechanical exfoliants may use abrasion such as a professional tool like the Clarisonic brush meant for faces and décolletages or facials creams with exfoliating beads help to provide abrasion and buff away dead skin.
Physical exfoliants may include ground pumice, almonds, walnuts, or oatmeal. Many of these are found naturally, and may be used carefully on the face, but are more often found for body exfoliation.
Just like paint that sits too long on a wall, it begins to deteriorate over time causing it to peel. Now, paint doesn’t renew and regenerate beautiful new cells, but you get the point. If you don’t exfoliate the dead cells, over time, you’ll have clogged pores, build-up, and sometimes, even further damage is created resulting in a visit to the dermatologist.
BODY EXFOLIANTS ARE DIFFERENT
As you might have guessed, the skin on your body is massively different from that of the skin on your face. The skin on your hands, feet, elbows, arms…basically anything south of your neck – can handle more than your face can in terms of exfoliation. That’s why particular products are created for facial exfoliation versus body exfoliation.
For the skin on your body, you can use products that have gentle exfoliation properties all the way up to those that have more abrasive buffing. For instance, if you have sensitive skin, select a soap or scrub whose properties are made for sensitive skin exfoliation such as the Indulge Pure Originals Oatmeal Soap. With gentle soap and the incorporation of organic oatmeal and colloidal oatmeal, your skin will be cleansed and exfoliated gently with sensitive skin in mind.
Another great option is the Loofah Soap. Made with the natural loofah built right into the soap, you can cleanse and softly exfoliate daily. Both men and women love this option – plus it smells so light and fresh and clean!
For those that have hardy skin and can take a good scrub, check out the Mint Pumice Scrub Soap. Made with a mild soap, ground pumice, and a fresh mint scent, this soap sloughs off that dead skin and leaves your skin feeling clean, soft, and smooth.
Exfoliating with a soap eliminates the need to use multiple products. Cleanse and exfoliate with one bar.
THE RIGHT WAY TO ADD EXFOLIATION INTO YOUR SKIN CARE ROUTINE
If you’ve never exfoliated your skin before, it’s best to start 1 – 2 times per week. It’s extremely important to monitor how your skin is feeling and performing. If you have very sensitive skin, begin exfoliating one time per week and gradually increase that. Unless otherwise directed, you shouldn’t need to exfoliate more than three times per week.