As part of our Back-to-Basics series we’re taking it all the way back to:
What it does and if you need to incorporate exfoliation into your routine.
Simply, exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the skin’s surface revealing brighter, fresher skin.
Here we talk about our much preferred ‘chemical’ exfoliation, versus ‘physical scrubs’.
Scrubs can be compared to taking a jack hammer to polish your floor and long term are more likely to cause damage. Chemical exfoliation also offers a much more sophisticated and gentler way of exfoliation and offers a greater multitude of benefits.
CHEMICAL (a.k.a. ACID) EXFOLIATION
Reasons to Exfoliate:
Exfoliation can offer immediate result of radiance, glow, clarity and smooth, soft skin along with better absorption and efficacy of other skincare products. i.e. your serums.
Long term it can help to keep pores clear, reduce their appearance, resolve texture issues, reduce hyper-pigmentation marks, improve the signs of aging through stimulating new collagen and help prevent collagen degradation.
What to watch out for:
When done poorly (people can get over excited by the initial result) exfoliation can cause havoc on your skin.
In recent years within the skincare industry there has been almost a competition amongst brands to compete for the higher acid percentage, as if higher means better - it doesn’t!
Formulation, pH and ingredient sourcing all really matters.
Signs of over exfoliating:
Uncomfortable stinging / Burning, Tightness, Flakiness, Dehydration (more than normal), Milia, Acne outbreaks and Increased pigmentation.
If any of the above happens stop exfoliating (more won’t help!) and treat the skin as a sensitive skin. Be extra gentle and focus on hydration. It’s amazing how quickly the skin can heal itself when we stop doing the wrong things and help it.
Our skin does naturally exfoliates all on its own, and this works especially well when we have balanced skin that is well hydrated and not too dry or too oily.
As early as our 20’s our skin turns over starts to slow, hence why we want to give our skin a radiance boost alongside other benefits.
A Balanced Approach:
As with most things a balanced approach is best, and this is certainly the case when it comes to exfoliation.
The best advice is to listen to your own skin and see what works for you.
In terms of frequency this is different for everyone, and will also be dependent on your choice of exfoliant. For example: A Daily Exfoliating Essence compared to an intensive Resurfacing Treatment Mask.
An example Some ‘daily’ acid toners are best used every day or every 'other day'. While oily hormonal teenager’s can benefit from daily exfoliation with a BHA acid. For sensitive skins - a super gentle formulation 1-3 times a week can be enough.
The great thing is there is an acid exfoliant for every type of skin, concern and routine. Leave on formulas to take-off, once weekly to once daily, and with proper usage you’ll have all the benefits of glowing radiant skin with no downside.
Simply read the label and listen to your own skin.
Other things to consider:
Think of your skincare routine as a whole. No single step is ever in isolation, so if your introducing exfoliation consider what other 'actives' are in your routine first, such as Vitamin C or Retinol. We would recommend introducing any new actives at different times so you can let your skin become accustomed to each new step and allow you the time to identify the benefits, gradually working up to a skincare routine that works for you.
Words by: The Skincare Edit - Team x
Worth while read: What Exfoliating Acid is best for me?