April 15 2021
How to Exfoliate Your Body the Right Way
You know the drill. Every morning, you wash your face, pat dry, and smooth on your moisturizer before you’re out the door, ready to take on the day.
After hours at work, you steal a quiet moment in the office bathroom and refresh your already tired skin with a few spurts of a cooling facial spray.
By the time you turn your key in the lock at the end of a long day, looking to unwind with a good book and a glass of wine, you are confronted by your own tired, dull countenance in the mirror.
Visions of pore-less, sun-kissed complexions, naturally highlighted by the rays of the bright summer sun, laying upon beach towels assault from every angle – from the glossy sheets of magazines to the massive hoarders and colorful billboards that frame the highway – each one advertising this product or the other, determined to burn a hole in your pocket for the promise of an unattainable standard of beauty.
Surely, you think, there must be a better way.
Luckily for you, there is.
If your skin looks like it is screaming out for a bit of help, chances are, it is. And the answer doesn’t need to cost half your paycheck.
Exfoliating is a self-care practice that is widely disregarded and misunderstood across the world.
Too many women either do not exfoliate at all, exfoliate too much, or exfoliate incorrectly, all of which can be damaging to the skin.
Thankfully, The Coffee Scrub, America’s beloved organic, natural skincare brand, is here with a simple guide on exfoliating to help your skin achieve the covetable glow it has always dreamed of.
What is Exfoliation, and Why is it Necessary?
Exfoliation is the process of cleansing the surface of the skin, by sloughing off dead skin cells. There are numerous benefits to a regular exfoliation routine, including:
- Unclogging pores, improving the release of natural moisturizing oils and reducing the severity and frequency of breakouts.
- Removal of pigment-containing skin cells to fade age spots and encouraging cell turnover.
- Minimizing the appearance of pores and scars in the upper layers of the skin.
- Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Improving circulation and collagen production to increase skin elasticity.
- Boosting the absorption of moisturizers, serums and other skincare products.
There are two types of exfoliating techniques that are widely used across the world, each with its uses and benefits. These include:
- Chemical Exfoliation
- Mechanical Exfoliation
Chemical exfoliation makes use of acids or enzymes for the removal of dead skin cells. Some of the most popularly used chemical exfoliants include:
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): AHAs are derived from natural sources such as milk, fruit and sugar, and are found in light chemical peels. Some of the most commonly used AHAs in skincare products are lactic acid, which is derived from milk, and glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar.
- Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA): BHA or salicylic acid is a synthetic derivative that derives from the same source as aspirin, and is also found in light chemical peels
- Enzymes: Safer and more gentle than their predecessors on this list, enzymes are derived from natural sources like fruit and work in a similar way to acid-based exfoliants but at a slower pace.
Mechanical exfoliation is the practice of physically scrubbing your skin’s surface with a scrub, dry brush, or another exfoliating skincare tool. Some of the most popularly used mechanical exfoliants include:
- Microbeads: One of the most popularly used exfoliants in products across the world, microbeads are tiny plastic particles measuring less than one millimeter in diameter.
However, high concentrations of microbeads in major water bodies has led to global concern, with the United States government taking steps to control and limit their damage.
- Small Granules: Made from natural materials like jojoba seeds, small granules are fairly uniform in size and shape, making them effective exfoliants that are safer for the environment, with a limited risk of irritating the skin.
- Large Granules: Large granules consist of abrasive materials like pumice and magnesium oxide crystals, and are beneficial products for people with thicker skin.
- Natural Materials: Exfoliants that are made with ground fruit pits and seeds or crushed nutshells are better for the environment as a whole, but their irregular shape and uneven, sharp edges have an abrasive quality and can damage the skin.
Exfoliating Dead Skin Cells by Skin Type
Exfoliating is not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. While beauty brands may insist that exfoliating is necessary at least one or two times a week, the most important thing to remember when exfoliating is to listen to your skin.
Here are a few tips on exfoliating, depending on your skin type:
Chemical exfoliants are highly recommended for dry or flaky skin. It is best to avoid mechanical exfoliation on dry skin, because the process dries out the surface of your skin, and can lead to microtears.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids like glycolic acid are effective for dry skin and can help with the removal of dead skin cells and promote healthy cell turnover.
Be sure to follow up with a healthy amount of moisturizer and SPF to avoid sun damage.
Oily or thick skin can benefit from manual exfoliation techniques.
Due to the excess of natural oils, an extra layer of buildup and dead skin cells is formed that can be easily removed through manual exfoliation.
Exfoliate by scrubbing gently in circular motions with your hands or a loofah for best results.
For those with sensitive skin, it is best to avoid scrubbing and mechanical exfoliation techniques like scrubs that can irritate the skin and can lead to redness.
Instead, it is recommended to exfoliate using a mild chemical exfoliator, applied with a soft washcloth or cotton pad.
For those suffering from acne, inquire after a salicylic acid peel at your dermatologist’s office.
For normal skin that doesn’t have any complications, any method of exfoliation goes.
Chemical and manual exfoliation are both safe for this skin type, though it is recommended that you experiment with both to find the right balance for your skin type.
Combination skin requires a mix of mechanical and chemical exfoliation. Be sure to avoid using both on the same day to avoid irritation, and apply moisturizer immediately after if the skin feels dried out.