Does your skin feel dry? Is your complexion looking dull? Are you experiencing some areas of hyperpigmentation? Believe it or not, exfoliation may be the solution to all your problems.
Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience with exfoliating in the past (apricot scrub, anyone?) and are wary of trying again. Mastering the art of exfoliation is easier than you think and the results are definitely worth adding an extra step to your skincare routine. Keep reading to learn how to exfoliate and why the practice is key to a soft, glowing complexion.
What is Exfoliation?
We lose around a million dead skin cells each day. When these dead skin cells remain on the surface of the skin, they dull your complexion. Exfoliation is the process of getting rid of those dead skin cells.
There are two main types of exfoliation: chemical and physical.
Chemical exfoliants include acid serums, masks, and peels that brighten the skin and clear pores. Chemicals exfoliants utilize enzymes and acids like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells. They’re especially effective at fading hyperpigmentation from scarring and sun damage.
Physical Exfoliants include scrubs, cleansing brushes, and exfoliating mitts. Physical exfoliants buff away dead skin cells with some type of grit or fibre.
What Are the Benefits of Exfoliation?
Exfoliating is crucial for maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Exfoliating clears dead skin cells from the surface helps to clean pores and fight acne. It also improves skin tone and texture by smoothing rough patches and reducing areas of discoloration. Plus, removing those dead skin cells means your serums and moisturizes can more effectively sink into your skin.
How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?
Depending on how sensitive your skin is, aim for up to three times per week. Don’t exfoliate more than this or you risk damaging the protective layer of your skin and causing damage and irritation.
If you have sensitive skin or you are a beginner, limit exfoliating to once per week to avoid irritation and redness. If you exfoliate regularly, this will prevent excess dead skin cells from building up on the surface and will help fresh, healthy skin cells to come to the surface of your skin. Hello brighter complexion!
How to Exfoliate
You can use either a chemical or physical exfoliant, depending on your preference. When choosing a physical exfoliant, look for a scrub with pumice or sugar as the exfoliating agent. Pumice and sugar tend to be gentler on the skin, and will not cause irritation when used in moderation. Avoid scrubs which contain crushed seeds or nuts because these have sharp edges which can damage the skin. Also, steer clear of products containing plastic microbeads. Microbeads find their ways into rivers and lakes and can harm the health of fish, wildlife and humans. Some microbead products are still available in Canada, but the full ban will be in effect by July 2019.
Our exfoliating scrubs (like our Olive Argan Scrub) are made with brown sugar. Sugar’s small granules effectively slough away dead skin without irritating the skin. Plus, they contain hydrating argan oil to keep skin moisturized. To use, simply massage the scrub into damp skin using a circular motion. Rinse with warm water. Or, try our Silk Facial Exfoliating Mitt, which can be used to exfoliate with your everyday facial cleanser.
If you want to try a chemical exfoliant, look for gentle yet effective ingredients like lactic or glycolic acid. Our Brightening Face Mask has both, plus pineapple powder which further breaks down dead cells and helps them to detach from the surface of the skin. For best results, apply to clean skin and wait for 10 minutes. Wipe off with warm water and a washcloth, then follow with a high-quality moisturizer like our Argan Oil.
You may want to mix it up and try a combination of chemical and physical exfoliants. For example, you may use a chemical exfoliant twice per week and a scrub once per week. You can also try using a washcloth or Clarisonic. Experiment to find the routine that works for you.
To Finish Off
After exfoliation, protect your skin with a fresh coating of argan oil or other moisturizing skin care product while your skin is still damp.
Avoid unprotected sun exposure.
Use sunscreen and wear a hat. Ultraviolet rays from the sun are the biggest cause of skin damage. A tan may temporarily brighten your complexion, but cumulative sun exposure will ultimately lead to irreversible damage, such as wrinkles and sun spots.
Choose foods that promote skin health.
Look for foods high in the following nutrients:
- Fatty acids. These boost collagen and cell production to help you achieve a healthy glow. Foods that are high in fatty acids include fatty fish (e.g. salmon), walnuts, and flaxseed.
- Antioxidants. These help to fight free radical damage to the skin. Foods that are high in antioxidants include nuts and seeds (e.g. walnuts and pumpkin seeds), tomatoes, and dark chocolate.
- Probiotics. These are micro-organisms that help restore good bacteria our gastrointestinal tract. The healthier our gut is, the healthier our skin is too. Try yogurt, kimchi or miso.
Keep your skin well hydrated
You should wash your face every day - in the morning and then again before bed. This gets rid of residual dirt, oil and makeup which can clog pores. Pay attention to the cleanser which you use to ensure that it is not stripping your skin of natural oils or altering skin pH, resulting in dry skin. Massaging your skin while cleansing can help to improve your skin by increasing blood flow and it can be a very relaxing ritual, especially at night. While your skin is still damp after cleansing, apply a moisturizer to seal in the moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss.