This word may sound scary to some, knowing that exfoliating your skin is the action of mechanically scrubbing your skin with abrasives then washing it off with water. Because of this, there are many who skip this essential step in their skincare routine, for fear of damaging their skin with such harsh cleansing methods.
In the recent years, research have shown that exfoliating your skin does hold a significant importance in a normal skincare routine, and it seems like beauty brands these days are shifting their focus to natural, non-abrasive exfoliation methods compared to the old sandpaper rubbing style.
If cleansing the surface your face isn’t enough, you should also take some time to exfoliate for a thorough cleanse. And that means getting rid of not only what’s on the surface of the skin, but also the gunk that is trapped in the pores of the skin. The most effective way to reach deep down is an exfoliant that contains natural ingredients so it won’t clog pores or aggravate the skin.
The harder you scrub, the cleaner your face?
Do not be mistaken that exfoliating your skin can be only done through face scrubbing. Your skin is more delicate than the rest of your body, if you subject your skin to continuous scrubbing, over time, you skin will start to sag and you may experience excessive dryness, irritation, and sensitivity. Scrubbing your face only takes a minute or two at maximum, any longer will not benefit your skin and may bring more harm instead.
Depending on your skin type, there are also different types of exfoliation methods you can use – physical or chemical.
Physical exfoliants contain miniscule sized grains, beads or particles to physically slough the skin. They are commonly found mixed in creams and foaming face washes.
Due to its abrasive nature, large exfoliants tend to cause micro-tears in the skin. These micro-tears occur when the abrasive ingredients in the exfoliants are jagged or too sharp, causing little microscopic tears in the skin. Before you use a physical exfoliant, make sure to check that the abrasives are rounded and does not hurt your skin when you scrub.
Apricot seeds or apricot seed powder are commonly used as an abrasive because it contains natural emollients which can also provide hydration and moisture to your skin.
Chemical exfoliants work slightly differently from physical exfoliants, but both produces the same result of removing dead skin cells. On top of that, chemical exfoliants are also great for brightening skin tone.
There are 2 main types of chemical exfoliants - Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) works to peel the top layer of the skin, which is essentially the dead skin cells. They work best on those who have dry skin. There is also Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) which can reach deeper into the skin and pores to work from inside out. BHA is recommended with acne-prone, oily skin.
Both AHA and BHA can work together in one product. AHA will work on the surface of the skin, detaching dead skin cells from the skin layer, resulting in a peeling effect. BHA will penetrate into the skin and break down the bonds that are holding the skin cells together.
If you have extremely oily skin that is clogged with several blackheads and whiteheads, it is recommended to exfoliate your skin once a day, but you have sensitive skin, then you should only exfoliate a maximum of 2 times a week. Be sure to moisturize your skin to keep your skin hydrated after exfoliating.