We’ve all been there haven’t we? Feeling the burn (no pain no gain right?!) as we rub our face raw with an exfoliation scrub or tool, in the hope that it will somehow produce that coveted ‘glow’ and perfect skin that exfoliation should bring… only to end up with red, dry and flaky skin, and more spots!
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Most people that use a scrub, over scrub! Ironically, as over scrubbing causes dry skin, people tend to scrub more to get rid of the dead skin, only to continue the vicious cycle! Over-exfoliating your skin triggers an inflammatory response which then leads to a compromised lip barrier, sensitised skin and premature ageing. Some classic tell-tale signs that your over-exfoliating include skin dehydration, dryness, taut skin, redness and itchiness, sensitive skin, and inflammatory acne and irritation. So, for all of us that are now wondering “how do I exfoliate my face”, this is for you.
Why exfoliate at all? Well, exfoliation is an important and natural function of skin cell replenishment and skin health. This is especially important as we age, and our skin turn over slows down, producing dull, discolored and sometimes acne prone skin. By removing the top layer of dead cells, we smooth rough patches, fade scars, reduce redness and brighten the overall complexion. It also allows the skincare products that we use to penetrate the skin more effectively and to sit upon a smoother and more even surface, so products such as foundation look better (and so you don’t waste your money and time on products that simply sit on the rough surface of dead skin cells!) working out how to achieve this can be a little complicated, so we’ll go back to basics and take a step back to look at how we can exfoliate effectively.
There are two ways to exfoliate, physical and chemical. Chemical exfoliators are generally seen as the ‘better’ way to exfoliate, mainly because it reduces or negates the physical act of exfoliation, and therefore is ‘kinder’. However, adding a chemical to the skin in order to breakdown cells can be a tricky business. How do you select the correct chemical (usually AHA or BHA), does it suit your skin type, is adding something unnatural to skin healthy? Of course, chemical exfoliation can also cause significant damage if overused, as well as increasing UV sensitivity. Physical exfoliators are the classic way to rid your skin of dead cells and have been designed in many forms. It’s worth mentioning here, that physical exfoliation is not wholly effective unless the skin is clean and dry, which is known as dry brushing. A common mistake is to use a physical exfoliation device or scrub on wet skin, meaning that you are unlikely to remove the cells due to the friction level being different when the cells are wet. Unfortunately, a lot of the physical exfoliators out there almost always cause more damage than they do good. The abrasiveness of the product often coupled with over-scrubbing and physical force of the user means that they cause micro tears in the skin which again work to destroy the skin barrier.
Product selection is not the only factor in skin exfoliation, the frequency (or lack) of exfoliation is also highly important. Although skin cells will shed daily, resist the urge to scrub yourself any more frequently than 2-3 times a week. If you are an exfoliation virgin, or have particularly sensitive or problem skin, you may need to begin with even less, maybe just once a week, and build up. I see the panicked expression on your face already, but don’t worry, even a weekly exfoliation will still give you good results.
Still confused? Well I was too! Not only did I realise I was exfoliating in completely the wrong way and making my skin worse, but I also couldn’t find a solution that worked. I spent a fortune on varying chemical exfoliators and nifty physical exfoliating gadgets and scrubs, only to be disheartened by the results.
The answer; I developed my own skincare brand, starting with designing and producing my own exfoliator…
Our natural way to achieving silky skin is coming very soon….