If you’re reading this, you are obviously intrigued! You probably already know that regular exfoliation helps to reveal brighter, fresher-looking skin. That’s because exfoliating speeds up desquamation, the process by which dead skin cells are removed (skin’s natural exfoliation process). But did you know that, done right, exfoliation can also help all your other skin care products work their best? We all want that!
Chemical vs Physical
Exfoliation removes dull and dead skin cells and this can be done in 2 different ways. It can be achieved chemically or physically.
Chemical exfoliation is basically a way to clear away excess skin cells and sebum that can clog your follicles, using chemicals. Here is the science bit! Chemical exfoliants work by breaking apart the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. Once the bonds are broken, dead skin cells can shed more easily and therefore improve the skin’s texture and overall appearance, essentially resurfacing the skin.
Physical exfoliation uses textured substances such as small grains, or a brush to manually remove the top layer of skin. You are likely to see a difference as soon as you wash off a physical exfoliant. This makes physical exfoliants a fantastic treatment option for when you need an instant fix, or have been neglecting your skincare routine for a while.
What are the benefits of regular exfoliation?
There are lots of benefits to incorporating regular exfoliation into your skincare routine but we have rounded up 3 for you….
- You’ll get a glow!
Once dead cells and debris are gone, the newer more radiant skin cells surface which instantly improves the look of your complexion.
- Products can work better!
By removing dull, dead skin cells via exfoliation, you are preventing a barrier from forming on your skin. This means that active ingredients in your skin care products can properly penetrate the skin and do their job! You are in effect helping to improve the efficiency of your products and in turn will see better results.
- Prevent breakouts!
Exfoliating is a great way to unclog pores. Breakouts typically happen when dead skin cells combine with sebum to form a ‘plug’ that blocks pores. This creates the perfect breeding ground for breakout causing bacteria to thrive in. Keeping your pores clog-free reduces the chance of breakouts happening.
There are so many exfoliants to choose from, what ingredients should I look for?
When it comes to exfoliants, knowing your ingredients is essential. We have rounded up some of the key exfoliant ingredients. You don’t want to over exfoliate your skin so take care to follow recommended use instructions carefully.
3 Physical Exfoliants to try…
This mineral-rich physical exfoliant delivers a targeted yet gentle exfoliation, polishing away dead skin cells for smooth, healthy-looking skin. Hydro Masque Exfoliant features touch-activated Bamboo spheres, so you can concentrate your exfoliation where skin needs it most.
Shea is the main ingredient in Guinot Gommage Eclat Parfait. It’s known for being gentle and nourishing. Shea micro particles gently remove dead cells from the skin's surface, revealing new skin and encouraging cell renewal. Shea has anti-inflammatory properties to smooth, soothe and soften the skin's surface.
This skin-softening phytochemical found in Rice Bran helps safely remove dulling surface debris from skin. You can find it in Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant where it’s ground into an ultra-fine powder that’s gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.
This Alpha Hydroxy Acid helps smooth skin, and stimulate cell turnover and renewal without leaving skin dehydrated. You can find it in Medik8 Surface Radiance Cleanse. This is 2 in 1 cleanser and exfoliator. Lactic acid lightly removes any dead skin cells and Salicylic acid breaks down any blockages causing enlarged pores and blemishes leaving a clear complexion and lovely soft, smooth skin.
This skin-smoothing, breakout-friendly Beta Hydroxy Acid helps remove dead skin cells by breaking apart the bonds that hold cells together. It’s great for exfoliating and clearing your complexion as it unclogs pores too. Salicylic acid is found in Dermalogica’s Flashfoliant. Flashfoliant is a leave-on, flash-foaming chemical exfoliant helps clear and prevent breakouts. Because you don’t wash it off, it’s perfect for those who are always on the go! Flashfoliant is part of the Clear start range designed for teen skins but this would actually suit any skin.
Pestle & Mortar Exfoliate Toner uses an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), Glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the skin, even-out skin tone, brighten the complexion, tighten pores and promote skin cell renewal. It is suitable for all skin tones and is really easy to use, simply apply after cleansing morning and evening.
So the take home message is, yes exfoliation is really important to achieve and maintain happy and healthy skin. Find the exfoliant that works for you and your skin and make it part of your regular skincare routine. Your skin will soon be glowing!