Did you know that dead skin cells are shredded on your skin every 30 days to accommodate new cells? Even more, some dead cells don’t entirely shed, thus needing you to remove them.
In your pursuit of glowing, radiant skin, dead skin cells can give you a dull complexion. However, with a good skin care routine, you can effectively remove these cells to restore your skin’s vibrance. Skin exfoliation also allows serums and moisturizers to penetrate your skin better and boost blood circulation.
With so many exfoliators on the market, it may be challenging to know where to start. Here’s our expert advice on the tools and techniques to use to best exfoliate your body and face:
How Often Should You Exfoliate?
Your skin type and exfoliation method will determine how often you need to exfoliate. Your exfoliating routine should run once or twice a week if you have dry skin. Sticking to this routine will help you prevent irritation on the skin.
You need to exfoliate your skin frequently to remove impurities and dead skin for the oily skin type. Note that over-exfoliating may lead to irritation and redness.
If you have sensitive skin, exfoliating once a week will be ideal. Stay away from exfoliants with harsh ingredients and rub gently when removing the dead skin cells.
Tools to Use to Exfoliate
Common methods used in exfoliation include mechanical and chemical. Skin care brushes, sponges, and scrubs are forms of mechanical exfoliation, while skin peels and acids are forms of chemical exfoliation.
For the mechanical route, you’ll need a bristle brush designed to remove dead skin cells. Avoid using unsafe brushes like Clarisonic brushes, which may cause premature aging when used frequently, according to a dermatologist opinion on Clarisonic.
An exfoliation sponge combined with warm water and soap is gentler to use on your skin. Use an exfoliating glove on larger body parts if you find sponges and brushes difficult to hold. You may also consider an exfoliating scrub, which you can rub gently on your skin.
Common chemical exfoliators include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs break down dead skin cells allowing your skin to naturally shed them while BHAs unclog pores and remove excess oil.
Exfoliation for Different Skin Types
Choose an exfoliator designed for your skin type to prevent skin damage and premature aging. Common skin types include dry, sensitive, oily, normal, and combination skin.
Avoid using mechanical exfoliators on dry or flaky skin since they may cause microtears. Chemical exfoliators like AHAs, with glycolic acid as an ingredient, followed by an SPF moisturizer, work well on dry skin.
Mild chemical exfoliators like BHAs with salicylic acid are ideal for sensitive skin. Apply the exfoliator with a gentle washcloth to prevent irritation and redness.
Mechanical exfoliators like brushes work well on oily skin since they remove excess oil. You can also rub a scrub on your skin in circular motions for the same effect.
If your skin lacks any complications, any exfoliator will be safe for use. Experiment with different products to find one that works well for you. Consider combining a chemical exfoliator with a mechanical one to remove dead cells if you have the combination skin type.
Other Body Parts You Can Exfoliate
Be gentle when exfoliating sensitive body parts like the face to avoid itchiness, redness, and dryness. You should also choose an exfoliant that matches your skin type. A dermatologist can help you decide on a safe one if you’ve had bad experiences with exfoliators.
Use a glove, sponge, or brush to exfoliate your legs and arms to remove dead skin cells. Lathering a body scrub and then rubbing it on your skin may help stimulate circulation. A dry, stiff-bristled brush may also help remove flakes on a normal skin type.
Get exfoliating peels and scrubs suited for hands and feet for greater effect. A pumice stone can also help you get rid of calluses and dead skin on rougher parts of your feet.
Invest in a body brush that can help you exfoliate your pubic area (or bikini line). You should only use the exfoliator when taking a warm bath to soften the skin. Remember to rinse the area thoroughly to remove soap and any lingering dead skin.
Important Safety Tips
When done correctly, exfoliation promotes healthy skin, leaving a smoother and softer feel. You should always follow it up with a high-quality moisturizer to restore essential oils on your skin.
A cream moisturizer will work well on dry skin after exfoliating. Consider using a gel-based moisturizer or an oil-free lotion if you have oily or combination skin. The moisturizing liquid should have sunscreen embedded in it to protect your skin against harsh UV rays.
Be cautious with your choice of exfoliators if you have a condition like warts, rosacea, and herpes simplex that causes lesions on the face. You should also use those with safe ingredients like lactic and salicylic if you have an acne breakout.
Remember to do small patch tests every time you try a new exfoliating product on your skin. Apply a few drops of the liquid on your arm as you follow the application and removal instructions. If your skin gets irritated after 24 hours, opt for another product.
When Should You Skip or Stop Exfoliating?
If your clear skin starts peeling or gets inflamed/irritated, you should stop exfoliating immediately. Stay away from exfoliants if you use acne products or medications like benzoyl peroxide and retinol. Combining these medications with exfoliants may result in breakouts and skin damage.
Avoid exfoliating after seeking treatments like microdermabrasion or chemical peels to prevent irritation. You should also skip the procedure on days you spend long hours in the sun or use skin products with acids or harsh ingredients.
Know You Know Everything About Skin Exfoliation
From this guide, you’ve learned that skin exfoliation can effectively remove dead skin cells. It also leaves you with smooth and soft skin and boosts blood circulation. For the best results, start slow as you determine the safe products and techniques for your skin.
Remember to follow up the exfoliation with a moisturizing sunscreen. You’re now ready to restore your skin’s natural glow. Don’t forget to share your experiences widely as you have fun doing it.
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