Exfoliation 101

Written by: Arielle

 

Exfoliation is one of the most important parts of our at-home skincare routines. Exfoliating on a regular basis will improve skin cell turn over, helping to keep our skin clear from dead skin cells or products that can easily clog the follicle. Believe it or not, we are constantly shedding our skin, even when we cannot see it. Without proper exfoliation, skin can become dry and flaky with uneven texture, making our skin vulnerable to breakouts and ingrown hairs.  It is important to understand exfoliation, especially when sugaring, so let’s get down to the basics:

What is exfoliation? 

Exfoliation is a process that should be done no more than 2-3 times per week depending on your skin type and the type of exfoliant. The process helps remove dry or dead skin cells from our body and face. It can help remove products that create a barrier or a film on the outer layer of our skin. Products that create a film are not only clogging the follicle but are also trapping the dead skin, a recipe for disaster! There are two different methods of exfoliation we can choose from: a psychical exfoliant which mechanically removes the dead skin from our body (like scrubbing) or a chemical exfoliant, which uses chemical ingredients (like alpha hydroxy acids) to deeply exfoliate and speed up the process of cell turnover. You can use both methods of exfoliation on your face and your body, depending on your skin type and what you prefer. 

Physical: 

Physical exfoliation, which we highly recommend to use on all body parts, can be used with tools such as loofahs, exfoliating gloves or mit’s, and dry brushes (to name a few). We can also exfoliate with natural ingredients such as salt grains, sugar grains, jojoba beads, coffee grounds or even oatmeal. You may find exfoliating products that contain plastic micro-beads however, we do not recommend these products. The plastic beads are non-biodegradable and have turned out to be horrible for the environment, not cool!

How to physically exfoliate: 

When we are using any type of physical exfoliant, we want to make sure we are gentle on our skin. Using gentle and soft upward circular motions will give us the best results.  Physical exfoliation should be done 2-3 times per week. If you have sensitive skin, we suggest starting by exfoliating once per week and gradually increase as necessary. Each time you exfoliate, the process should only take a few minutes.  Over-exfoliation can cause irritation, inflammation, and skin sensitivities that may damage our skin in the long run - be gentle!

Chemical: 

Chemical exfoliation is most commonly used to exfoliate the face, and can be a learning process when finding what suits your skin best. Chemical exfoliants products can be purchased over the counter, or you can opt for a professional grade chemical peel. Chemical exfoliation uses ingredients such as AHA’s or BHA’s that dislodge and dissolve dead skin cells. There are also chemical exfoliants that use enzymes to target the outermost layer of the skin and eat away at the dead skin cells. Some of the common ingredients are acids such as salicylic acid (BHA), glycolic, malic or lactic acids (AHA’s). Popular enzymes you will find in chemical exfoliants are naturally derived active ingredients found in fruit. Fruits such as papaya, pumpkin, pomegranate and pineapple. While both acids and enzymes deeply exfoliate to reveal brighter skin, they can cause serious irritation on the skin if used incorrectly. 

How to Chemically Exfoliate: 

Because there are so many methods of chemical exfoliation it is important to do your research on the product you’re interested in before applying anything to the skin. Read the instructions carefully as they all vary and if you are not sure, ask a professional! If you have sensitive skin or are using retinol products, chemical exfoliation will likely not be the right fit for your skin type. Our skin is so unique and different, one product may work wonders for someone and cause a reaction for others.  

Well there you have it! Exfoliation is essential for your at home skin care routine! Proper exfoliation will leave your skin healthy, smooth, and radiant. 

When you are having doubts about the right time to exfoliate here is a quick guide to live by: 

- Skin is looking dry and dull, exfoliate! 

- Headed into a 3-day weekend and need a bomb a** spray tan, exfoliate! 

- Recently experienced a sugaring service and you begin to see those fine tiny hairs growing in, exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!