Why is facial exfoliation important?
Exfoliating your face is important because it helps to remove dead skin cells that can clog pores, leading to breakouts and dull-looking skin. Dead skin cells can also prevent skin care products from penetrating deeper into your skin and being as effective as possible.
A benefit of regular exfoliation is that it helps to improve the texture and tone of your skin, leaving it smoother and brighter. It can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as hyperpigmentation. In addition, exfoliating helps stimulate cell turnover, which is the process by which your body produces new skin cells. This can lead to a more youthful and radiant complexion, a desired result sought by many.
It's important, however, to exfoliate in a gentle manner and not overdo it, as too much exfoliation can cause irritation and damage your skin. It's best to follow a recommended frequency and method of exfoliation for your skin type and to use products that are specifically formulated for facial exfoliation. This advice should best come from a qualified professional.
So, how many times a week should one exfoliate and what are the best ways to do it?
Generally, the frequency of exfoliating your face depends on your skin type and the type of exfoliation you use. It’s typically recommended to exfoliate 1-2 times per week for most skin types. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to limit exfoliating to once a week or less often.
There are two main types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation involves using a scrub or tool to physically remove dead skin cells, while chemical exfoliation involves using acids to dissolve dead skin cells.
For physical exfoliation, you can use a gentle scrub made with natural ingredients such as sugar, salt, or coffee grounds (see more info below). Apply the scrub to damp skin and massage in a circular motion, then rinse off with warm water.
While chemical exfoliation is popular, we do not recommend it because it is, after all, chemical and could have repercussions if misused. However, for chemical exfoliation you can use products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, are water-soluble and work best for surface-level exfoliation, while BHAs, such as salicylic acid, are oil-soluble and work best for deeper exfoliation.
It's important to start with a lower concentration of acids and gradually work your way up so as to avoid irritation. Follow the instructions (and any safety precaution) on product labels and always wear sunscreen during the day since exfoliation can increase sensitivity to the sun.
As for natural exfoliation options, there are several natural ingredients that can be used for gentle and effective exfoliation. Here are some of the best natural options:
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is a natural humectant that can help to attract moisture to your skin while gently sloughing off dead skin cells. It's also gentle enough for sensitive skin types.
- Salt: Sea salt or Himalayan pink salt can be used as an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and improve circulation. It's best used on the body rather than the face since the granules can be too rough for delicate facial skin.
- Oatmeal: Finely ground oatmeal can be used as a gentle exfoliant for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe irritated skin.
- Coffee grounds: Used coffee grounds can be repurposed as an exfoliant for the body or face. The caffeine in coffee grounds can help to stimulate circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Papaya: Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which can help to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and improve skin texture. It's also rich in vitamins A and C, which can help to brighten and firm the skin.
It's important to note that natural ingredients may still be irritating to some skin types, so it's important to patch test before using any new exfoliants on your skin. Also, it's best to consult with a dermatologist before trying any new skincare ingredients or routines.
At this point, you may be wondering what products are best to use after facial exfoliation?
After facial exfoliation, it's important to use products that will soothe and hydrate your skin. You want to feed your skin. Here are some of the best products to use after facial exfoliation:
- Toner: After exfoliation, use a gentle, alcohol-free toner to help balance the pH of your skin and remove any remaining impurities.
- Serum: A hydrating serum can help to replenish moisture in your skin and provide additional benefits such as brightening or anti-aging effects.
- Moisturizer: After exfoliation, your skin may be more sensitive and in need of hydration. Choose a moisturizer that is gentle and lightweight, and that is appropriate for your skin type.
- Sunscreen: Exfoliation can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage, so it's important to protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30.
It's important to avoid using any harsh or abrasive products on your skin after exfoliation, as some products might cause further irritation or damage. Instead, opt for gentle, nourishing products that will help to soothe and hydrate your skin.
Overall, it's important to listen to your skin and adjust your exfoliation routine as needed. If you notice any irritation or discomfort, reduce the frequency or intensity of your exfoliation, or try other products or methods that may work best for you.