Scrub, Brush, Sponge, Acid, Repeat. You might be aiming for glowing, but if you over do exfoliation what you'll get is aggravated. Here's how to strike the balance between a clean sweep and foolhardy exfoliation.
When it comes to exfoliating your face, preferences are as personal as they come. How often you indulge? Which way is your favourite? What tools you use in the act?
But both under and over-exfoliation can be evident on the skin: the former preventing topical ingredients from absorbing and may leave the skin looking dull and lacklustre. The latter can strip the skin of natural oils, leaving skin looking and feeling irritated and sensitive.
Oilier skins may require more frequent exfoliation, and warmer months may warrant increased frequency, but as a general rule of thumb, exfoliating once or twice a week is plenty.
Types of Exfoliation
Mechanical - Mechanical exfoliation uses friction to remove dead skin, by way of brushes such as the Clarisonic which can be used daily when used correctly. Harder bristled brushes should be kept at twice per week as a maximum. Konjac sponges can be used daily, as can muslin face cloths.
Chemical - Chemical exfoliation involves products with active ingredients like acids, that work to break down and dissolve the dead skin cells. The concentrations of acids within the product should dictate how frequently they can and should be used - i.e. a higher concentration should be used less frequently than a product with a low concentration.
- Start off by exfoliating once or twice a week, preferably at night.
- Be gentle and understand your skin type: for dry skin, be gentle, and in the case of oily skin do not be too aggressive, but do exfoliate more frequently.
- Keep it simple: simple routines work best.
- Always wear sunscreen in general, but especially after exfoliating.
- Discontinue use of any products that increase skin irritation.
- Don’t over do it, and most certainly do not exfoliate every day.
- Do not apply too much pressure if you’re exfoliating using a mechanical method.
- Do not exfoliate irritated or broken skin- this will only do more harm than good! Also bear in mind that waxing is a form of exfoliation.
- Do not exfoliate skin that has been treated recently with lasers and do not go sunbathing post-exfoliation.
Main image by Photo by Igor Rand