We’ve all heard the good old saying “moderation is key.” When it comes to skincare, the same rules seem to apply. Whatever product or routine we’ve chosen to do, overdoing it is never a good idea.
Are you the type of person that exfoliates daily, using abrasive methods and products? Then this article is for you. We will explore all the different types of exfoliation and how each compares in terms of whether it’s actually good for the skin. Not to mention, all these discoveries will be accompanied by alternatives that you can use in order to ensure that you’re properly exfoliating your skin on a regular basis.
You will also learn whether there are some methods you should stay away from completely. So, if you’d like to put an end to all the exfoliating mistakes you might be making right now, just continue reading.
Exfoliation is an extremely important part of an effective skincare regime, for various reasons. By exfoliating properly, you’re removing all the dead skin cells from the surface. On top of that, exfoliation helps us to uncover the healthy layer of skin underneath, Exfoliating can help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving your skin looking youthful and dewy.
By exfoliating regularly, you’ll be making the products you use on your skin more effective. All of the products that you currently use in your skincare routine will be able to penetrate deeply into the skin and work better in general.
Before we get into giving a definite answer to today’s topic of discussion, we first need to learn about the types of exfoliators there are on the market and how you can learn to differentiate between all of them so that you get the proper treatment which your skin deserves.
There is a general division between exfoliators: physical and chemical.
Physical exfoliators contain harsh ingredients like beads, salt grains, and sugar. Their name explains it all – they contain physical ingredients that act as exfoliators. The trouble is, sometimes these can be a little too harsh on the skin.
You’d be surprised to hear that people use all kinds of ingredients to exfoliate their face. And you don’t need me to tell you why that’s not the best idea when it comes to the skin on your face, especially if you’re the type who has sensitive skin.
As far as chemical exfoliators are concerned, it’s a whole other story. Most of the time, chemical exfoliators contain acids that have the same effect as physical exfoliators – they remove dead skin cells and help the skin reveal a new and healthier layer underneath. Thus, chemical exfoliators are more acidic.
The most commonly used acids to exfoliate are AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), BHAs( otherwise known as salicylic acid) and lactic acid. The percentage of concentration in which these come in varies from product to product. This can make using chemical exfoliators slightly more complicated and confusing, especially for people who are new to exfoliating.
Physical scrubs can be dangerous to experiment with, for various reasons. Here are are the potential complications of including a physical scrub in your skincare regimen.
Sometimes, physical exfoliators are accompanied with rough surfaces such as cloths or special brushes which are designed to deepen the exfoliating practice. For everyone who has acne-prone skin out there, these methods of exfoliation might not be well suited for your skin type.
The acne-causing bacteria might transfer onto them, causing you new breakouts each time you use them. Therefore, if you do have acne-prone skin, it’s wise to pay attention to whether or not the product that you’re planning to use requires any kind of equipment. If it does, it might not be the best fit for you.
The term ‘micro-tear’ might sound terrifying, but it’s actually referring to the little tears you might experience by using face scrubs that have large beads like fruit pits.
Harsh face scrubs might cause micro-tears in your skin, which can damage your skin in the long run. In order to avoid this, make sure the face scrub you’ve chosen is dermatologically approved and doesn’t contain large beads that might permanently scar your face.
If you’re too aggressive with your face scrub, it might lead to some scary side-effects, like permanent skin damage. You can protect your skin from this in two ways: by paying attention to the products you’re choosing and by paying attention to the way you apply your face scrub.
Don’t use aggressive and fast motions when exfoliating your skin. Instead, be gentle when using face scrubs, especially physical ones.
The annoying answer to this problem is that – yes, face scrubs can be damaging to the skin. But whether or not they end up being bad for your skin will depend largely on the product which you’ve chosen.
How can you tell if a scrub will be damaging? Pay attention to the ingredients. If it contains any kinds of shells or pits or beads which look rather exotic, it might not be a good investment idea. Size matters, people. If the beads look too big to be going anywhere near your face, then that particular scrub will probably cause more damage to your skin than it’d help.
Another good tip to use when choosing exfoliators is rubbing a bit of the scrub on the back of your hand. You can find a tester and try it out in the store. If it feels scratchy and rough, don’t buy it.
Generally speaking, when it comes to the delicate skin on our faces, chemical exfoliants take the cake. Physical exfoliants can be a good option for a body scrub, but oftentimes they’re way too harsh on the face.
Have you decided that you might be the perfect fit for a chemical exfoliant? Great, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Ensuring that you know what to pay attention to will minimize the chances of you suffering from any side-effects.
Before you start using any product or treatment, purchase an SPF product that will protect you from the sun. Make sure it’s one that protects from both UVA and UVB rays and it’s at least SPF 30. Sun protection is one of the most important steps in using any type of acid, yet it’s so often overlooked. Make sure you make this step a priority.
Whichever product you end up using, a patch test is a must! It’s basically when you try out a product on a small area of your face and seeing how it reacts to it before moving onto your entire face.
Start slow, with a low percentage of the chosen acid. Use the exfoliant up to two times a week. Once some time passes by, you can increase the number of times you use the exfoliant. This will provide your skin with an adequate amount of time to get used to the product.
If we still haven’t discouraged you from trying out a physical exfoliant, here are some of the things to keep in mind so that you can have a painless and a side-effect free experience.
First things first, follow the instructions on the product carefully. Since there are so many products out there on the market, it’s impossible for me to guess the instructions to all of them.
If they contain really abrasive microbeads, pay close attention to the motions you use in order to exfoliate. Being too harsh with your hands and movements can lead to cuts, bleeding and general damage to the skin. Use gentle motions and light pressure when rubbing it onto the skin. Stay away from scrubs that contain large beads, these generally aren’t a good idea for anyone. The same rule applies for exfoliating tools.
The most important rule when using both physical and chemical exfoliants which you need to keep in mind is not to overdo it. Over-exfoliation comes with all kinds of negative side-effects which can damage your skin in the long run.
A general rule of thumb is to keep your exfoliating practice to once or twice per week. This way, you’ll be getting the proper exfoliation without having to risk any irritation, redness or even acne.
Another mistake people make is skipping moisturizing. Don’t forget to moisturize your skin right after you’re done with exfoliation, but wait at least for a few minutes after you’re done exfoliating.
Exfoliation is crucial for healthy skin, but you need to pay attention to the types of scrubs you’re using.
Choosing the right type of exfoliator for your particular skin type can be overwhelming since there are so many to choose from. Broadly speaking, there are two types of exfoliators: chemical and physical. Most people agree that chemical exfoliants are better and gentler on the skin than physical ones. The type of acid you choose will depend on what kind of skin you have.
Remember, don’t overdo the exfoliating. Otherwise, you’re well on your way for healthier and fresher looking skin.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.