Exfoliating is one of the most overlooked steps in the skincare world. Not only is it overlooked, but those who do exfoliate often don’t understand how it’s done properly. This is not a step that can be skipped without a noticeable difference in the skin. In addition, if done incorrectly, it can result in permanent skin damage.
Why should you exfoliate?
On the surface, exfoliating seems like an unnecessary step. In fact, you might think that exfoliating is a brand-new method of skincare, only growing in popularity during the late 2000s. The reality is, women have been exfoliating for centuries, utilizing everything from rough sand at the bottom of the river to dried corncobs to achieve smooth skin. There were even exfoliants created from broken seashells.
It’s safe to say that exfoliating has come a long way since corncobs and seashells. You can choose between physical and chemical exfoliants, each with varying levels of harshness. Besides making your face feel nice for a few hours, what benefit does exfoliating have?
1. Smooth makeup application
Imagine your face like your nails. When you go to the manicurist, it’s common practice for them to buff the top of your nail before applying the nail polish. You can think of exfoliating as the buffing process that preps the skin for makeup. The smoother and less porous your face is, the smoother and less textured your makeup look.
2. Release natural oils
Oil and dead skin buildup is a huge problem for many people regardless of skin type. As your skin cells die and regenerate, those dead cells are left behind on the skin. These cells then mix with the oils and dirt on your face, clogging up your pores and causing acne and irritation. By exfoliating, you remove those dead cells and bring fresh, supple skin to the surface, ready to produce natural oil.
3. Fade dark spots
Hyperpigmentation, also known as “dark spots,” develops for a variety of reasons including sun exposure, acne, and aging. Exfoliation helps to break up the hyper pigmented cells of your skin, allowing them to fade and newer skin to come forward to replace it.
4. Decrease pores
If you’ve ever looked closely at your face, you may have noticed very prominent pores around your nose and cheeks. While this isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, it can be quite irritating. Regular exfoliation helps release clogged pores, allowing them to become smaller and less noticeable.
5. Reduce fine lines
Fine lines, whether from aging or otherwise, can have their appearance reduced. Exfoliation takes away any debris that has settled into those lines, leaving them clean and less prominent. Try exfoliating 1-2 times per week to see lines reduced.
How do you exfoliate (the right way)?
Exfoliating is pretty simple, but specific instructions will depend on the type of exfoliant you are using and the product itself. Always follow the instructions!
A physical exfoliant is the most common. Physical exfoliants are typically a gel, cream, or other liquid that has granules or beads suspended inside. Here’s the correct way to use them:
- Wash your face with warm water and leave your skin damp
- Place a quarter-sized amount of product in your hands
- Gently rub the product on your skin in circular motions for 30 seconds to 1 minute
- Using your hands or a washcloth, remove the product with warm water and pat dry your face
It’s important to rub physical exfoliants onto your skin gently. They are naturally going to remove dirt and dead skin, so you shouldn’t need to scrub. Scrubbing can cause microtears in the skin which can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Remember, the exfoliant should be doing the work!
A chemical exfoliant is a great alternative to harsh scrubs. These exfoliants work through the use of enzymes or acids. These compounds chemically dissolve or loosen dirt and dead skin cells from the surface, allowing you to wipe them away easily. Unfortunately, there are no set instructions for a chemical exfoliant. The reason being that instructions will differ depending on the type and strength of the chemical used. As with any product, perform a patch test to see how your skin reacts. Chemical exfoliants can be incredibly damaging if used incorrectly, so always check the bottle before use.
Moisturizing is the key to locking in the benefits of exfoliation. When you remove the top layer of skin, you are exposing the more delicate layers to the elements. To protect them from damage, you need a moisturizer that is going to hydrate and guard the skin. We recommend Aloe Infusion Face and Body Cream.
The Face and Body Cream is a natural moisturizer packed with powerful, yet gentle ingredients. The soothing and healing benefits of aloe in conjunction with the moisture power of shea butter leaves your skin feeling supple and renewed. Do away with fake products and choose a natural, fragrance-free lotion that really works. And, it’s never tested on animals!
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