People often shy away from using skin exfoliators as a part of their skincare routine due to the belief that it is harsh on your skin and will leave your skin feeling dull and dry. When in reality the key tip to using exfoliants is to make sure you are using the right exfoliant for your skin and using it the correct way.
Adding an exfoliant to your skincare routine provides numerous benefits to the health of your skin – most importantly, your face. Skin exfoliator removes dead skin cells allowing for a clean surface for your other skincare products to do their thing.
Whenever you are looking to elevate your skincare routine, an exfoliant is a great way to go. Read below to find out how exfoliating benefits your skin and how to start adding an exfoliant to your skincare routine.
Benefits of Exfoliating Your Skin
By definition, exfoliate means to wash with a granular substance to remove dead skin cells from the surface. Exfoliating removes:
- Lotion residue
- Dead skin cells
Removing these particles from your skin allows you to create a clean, fresh slate to let your skin breathe. It also provides a clean surface area to apply other skincare products that may be a part of your routine.
Exfoliation opens up your pores to allow for a deep clean and removal of substances. Opening up your pores allows for other skincare products, applied after exfoliation, to penetrate deeper into the skin. Therefore, increasing the absorption of the skincare product and allowing it to work better.
The process of exfoliating sheds off dead skin cell tissue allowing for increased blood circulation at the skin’s surface and cell regeneration. It has been shown to increase collagen production and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Therefore, fighting against the signs of aging.
How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Skin?
One of the biggest reasons people are reluctant to exfoliate is because they are unsure of how often to exfoliate and when to add it into their daily routine.
It is recommended that people with most skin types should exfoliate only once or twice a week. Oily skin types can increase the number of times per week they exfoliate, up to daily. More on acne-prone skin in the following section.
When you are trying to decide on when to include an exfoliating step into your daily or weekly skin routine, consider the benefits you are looking to receive.
If your main goal is to have fresh, dewy skin throughout the day, then add an exfoliating step into your morning skincare routine. If you are looking for a good scrub to deep clean your skin, then add an exfoliating step to your skincare routine at the end of the day.
However, if you are using any topical medication for a skin condition, it is important to consult with your dermatologist about exfoliation. Exfoliation may further irritate your skin condition and not all topical medications should be used at the same time you exfoliate.
Over-exfoliating your skin can often cause dryness and discomfort. When adding an exfoliating step to your skincare routine it is best to feel it out and see what works best for you and your skin type.
Is Exfoliating Good For Acne?
Acne is caused by the accumulation of dirt, makeup, oils, etc. in your pores. Exfoliating unclogs your pores and reduces your chances of having a breakout. There are some things to consider when you are looking to exfoliate and have acne or acne-prone skin.
You want to avoid any physical exfoliants. Acne-prone skin is already often inflammatory and sensitive. Physical exfoliants may be too harsh for your skin type and exacerbate your issue.
Use chemical exfoliants that contain retinoids, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid. Not only will a chemical exfoliant deep clean your pores without the harshness of a physical exfoliant, but the substances mentioned are known to help with acne.
A great exfoliant for acne-prone skin is Alba Botanica’s Acnedote Deep Pore Wash. It contains 2% salicylic acid to help prevent further breakouts. You can use a gentle, daily wash on both your face and your body.
Best Products to Exfoliate Your Skin
Here are three popular exfoliants, based on how much you like to spend on your skincare products, ranked from cheapest to most expensive. These are great options to consider whether you are looking to add an exfoliant to your skincare routine or for a gift.
Drugstore Product: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser
- Chemical exfoliant – glycolic and lactic acid
- Good for all skin types – including acne-prone skin
- Contains hyaluronic acid – works to hydrate the skin
Most Bang For Your Buck: Paula’s Choice The Unscrub
- Works with all skin types
- Ultra-gentle, perfect for sensitive skin types
- Leave-on exfoliant
- Perfect to use with a nighttime routine
High-End Product: Tata Harper Regenerating Exfoliating Cleanser
- Made with organic ingredients
- Free of chemicals and additives
- Gentle enough to be used daily
- Great for pesky blackheads
Exfoliants don’t always have to be a wash, scrub, or mask. Some physical exfoliants you may already have in your bathroom can be used to exfoliate your skin.
Physical Skin Exfoliator
Loofahs are a great physical skin exfoliator to use with your body wash in the bath or shower. They are great for exfoliating your skin, opening up your pores, and allowing for a deep clean. Yet, they are typically gentle enough to use daily with your normal body wash or soap.
It is most beneficial to use a pumice stone on any calloused surfaces, like your feet. You can exfoliate your feet with a pumice stone in the shower. It will help to remove all the dead skin cells and leave you with smooth, soft feet.
Silicone scrubbies are perfect to use with your normal face wash to help exfoliate your skin and remove wear and tear from the day. Of course, depending on how sensitive and dry your skin already is will determine how often you can use the scrubby.
Whatever physical exfoliants you are using, you must keep them clean and make sure you are switching them out for fresh, new products periodically.
To sum up, don’t shy away from exfoliating due to your worry that your skin may become irritated and dry. Find the exfoliant and skincare regime that works best for you and reap the many benefits from exfoliation. Before you know it you will have clearer, younger, and fresher-looking skin.