Tips for Exfoliating Your Skin

Exfoliation is a crucial step in any skincare routine.

While I would recommend it on a daily basis, exfoliating your skin once or twice a week can help reveal a more even, smoother, clearer complexion. Exfoliation can also help your skincare products to absorb better into the skin. Exfoliating products will remove dead skin cells from your skin surface and keep your skin looking fresher and brighter.

Exfoliating your skin routinely will reveal a fresh, glowing complexion, while improving the health of your skin.

Without exfoliation, dead skin cells will not be removed, and the skin will look dull, the pores will become clogged which can eventually lead to acne.

Exfoliation can be physical or chemical. Physical exfoliation manually removes dead skin cells and it is usually harsher on the skin. Chemical exfoliation makes it easier to wipe away the dead cells while providing additional benefits to the skin through acids. While there is no set rule against physical exfoliator, I personally prefer chemical exfoliators because of the active ingredients which can really make the difference for your skin.

The most common acids that we find in chemical exfoliation products are the AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) such as lactic acid or glycolic acid and the BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) such as salicylic acid.

Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid (AHA) is an effective exfoliating ingredient which can remove dead skin cells. This is one of my favourite acid ingredients because it has the smallest molecule of the acids, so it penetrates the skin easier and deeper than other types of acids. In addition, because it is an exfoliant and removes dead skin cells while penetrating a bit deeper into the skin, it also preps the skin for other skincare products to penetrate a bit deeper.

Glycolic acid also stimulates fibroblasts in the skin which helps improve the collagen production, ultimately reducing fine lines. It is usually found in skincare products that are formulated to reduce hyperpigmentation and fine lines given its properties that help even the skin tone. Glycolic acid works best for normal, combination or oily skin. I would not recommend it for sensitive or dry skin because it could be a bit harsh and irritate the skin. If you are new to glycolic acid, you can start introducing it in your skincare routine through a face wash which is the gentlest way to use it or a toner once a week and then start building it up to more frequent usage once your skin becomes used to it.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid (BHA) is an exfoliant that works a bit differently from the glycolic acid. It is oil soluble, so it penetrates and unclogs the pores while exfoliating the skin at the same time. It is usually found in skincare formulated to address acne-prone skin, redness, and inflammation. In fact, most spot treatments will include some salicylic acid in their formula. It is a really a must have ingredient for people with clogged pores and oily or acne prone skin because it helps to stop sebum secretion. Because salicylic acid stops the sebum secretion, it tends to slightly dry out the skin. For this reason, I would not recommend it for people with dry skin or sensitive skin, unless you wish to use it rarely, as part of a facial treatment for instance.

EXFOLIATION TIPS

1. Use the right products:

The right products depend on your skin type and your skin concerns. For example, if you have very dry or sensitive skin, you probably should stay away from salicylic acid based products, or at least use them less frequently or use products with a lower concentration of salicylic acid. Below I created a list of my favourite exfoliating products for every skin type.

FACE WASH

TONER

SERUMS/TREATMENTS

SPOT TREATMENT

2. Always follow instructions

Sometimes the right product may not deliver the right results and that is usually because the product was not used correctly. One thing I noticed is that some people may tend to overuse some ingredients assuming they will deliver quicker or better results but overusing acids may backfire and cause redness, irritation and sensitivity. If you are using a chemical exfoliation product, always follow the instructions and do not leave it on for longer than recommended.

3. Know how much is too much

Exfoliation is a crucial step in every skincare routine. However, make sure you are not overdoing it. For example, some products such as face washes are fine to be used on a daily basis. With toners, I would recommend starting once or twice a week and then building it up to more frequently, even daily, once the skin builds its tolerance to the product. Any other chemical exfoliation products such as retexturing serums or chemical peels must be used as indicated on the label, even if it is only once a week. If you notice dry skin or redness, you are probably exfoliating too much. As a general rule, you should skip exfoliating at home after professional chemical peels, micro needling or microdermabrasion. Ideally you would speak to your skincare professional when it is safe to start exfoliating at home post treatment. I would strongly recommend you stop exfoliating when the skin is sunburned and during eczema episodes.

4. Moisturise

After exfoliating, make sure you thoroughly remove the product and any dead skin cells. As the dead skin cells are removed, all the skincare products that make up your routine following exfoliation will penetrate the skin a little bit deeper. It is important to not forget ending your routine with a moisturiser to help your skin regain and retain moisture.

5. Never forget sun protection

This should be a given. Probably the most important step you can make in taking care of your skin is to use sun protection rigorously. It should come as no surprise that after you exfoliate your skin and remove the dead skin cells you must take extra steps to protect the epidermis – such as using SPF50. Even if you generally use a SPF 20-40, I strongly recommend switching to SPF50 to offer the maximum protection for your skin.

If you are not sure what exfoliants are most suitable for your skin, contact us . My team team of professional therapists and I will be happy to assist you and recommend you the right products for introducing exfoliating ingredients in your skincare routine.

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