April 2 2021
How To Exfoliate Face: A Simple Guide
With over 75 million Americans suffering from various skin problems like dry, flaky skin and acne, it’s no wonder over $135 billion is spent globally each year on products for our skin. While there are a lot of options to choose from, there’s so much information available that it can be tough to find a starting point
Here’s the good news…
We know exactly where to start!
Let’s face it; self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. With all of the free-radicals and pollutants bombarding your face each day, it’s critical to make taking care of your skin a priority.
Routinely getting rid of dead skin cells is the best way to reveal fresh new cells below the skin’s surface by cleaning clogged pores. Proper exfoliation allows your favorite beauty products to penetrate more deeply which makes them more effective.
The goal is to assist your body’s natural exfoliation process to help your face glow by revealing smoother looking skin. When you exfoliate your face on a regular basis you create healthy habits that produce lifelong benefits such as minimizing pore size, evening out skin tone and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles.
But what is the proper way to exfoliate your face?
Our simple guide will help you uncover that youthful, radiant glow to help you put your best face forward. We’ve stripped away the mystery behind beautiful skin such as:
- What are the two types of exfoliation
- How to exfoliate for all skin types
- When NOT to exfoliate?
What Are the Two Types of Exfoliation?
The different types of exfoliation are physical and chemical. While they share the same goals— getting rid of dead cells, speeding up cell turnover and brightening your skin, they achieve those results in different ways. Physical exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells while chemical exfoliators dissolve them by using glycolic acids or a “peel”.
Mechanical exfoliation involves using a tool such as a washcloth, brush or your favorite coffee scrub to physically remove dead cells from the top layer of your skin. Selecting a gentle tool is the key to success here.
If you choose a scrub with microbeads or jagged edges, such as ground shells and nuts, you might create tiny cuts on your skin which can lead to inflammation and increased risk of infection.
When opting for the mechanical route, follow these steps to ensure you get the best results:
- Apply your scrub using small, gentle, circular motions.
- Rinse with lukewarm water and follow with splashes of cold water to tighten the look of pores, reduce puffiness and tone your skin.
- Pat dry and apply your favorite moisturizer.
Chemical exfoliation involves two exfoliators: AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). Oily, acne prone skin usually responds best to BHAs like salicylic acid.
For sensitive skin, lactic acid, which is the most gentle AHA is a safe bet. For combination skin, AHAs such as glycolic acid are often very effective due to their moisture-binding properties which keep skin from becoming dehydrated.
These exfoliants are highly effective at getting rid of blackheads and combating oily skin by deeply penetrating and unclogging pores while fighting the bacteria that can lead to acne. There are also other chemical exfoliants such as a chemical peel. There are many products on the market which offer a one-time peel which usually have a much higher acid concentration — anywhere from 20-30%.
Chemical peels should be left to a board certified professional. That type of chemical exfoliator could leave you with severe chemical burns if done incorrectly. It’s in your best interest to have an experienced provider guide you through that delicate process.
How to Use Chemical Exfoliants
- Before starting any chemical exfoliators, do a test on a small patch of skin and wait 12-24 to ensure there is no reaction.
- Start your chemical exfoliation with a low acid percentage, such as 1-2% for salic acid and 8-10% for glycolic or lactic acid. You will want to only use them 2-3 times per week.
- Since these exfoliators have pH that is a little lower than your skin, you’ll want to start by using your favorite face wash and apply your products after your skin has dried for a few minutes.
This exfoliation process takes a few months to get the full value of the benefit. Once you begin, you will go through a purging process whereby your skin might experience more breakouts due to the trapped bacteria deep in your pores finally being released.
While that can be disheartening, it actually means that it’s working and that you are on the road to glowing, smoother skin. After a few weeks you will begin to notice improvements on a regular basis.
You won’t want to start this type of exfoliating process if you have an upcoming event planned over the next two months.