The Do’s and Don’ts of Exfoliation

The Do's and Don'ts of Exfoliation

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Some parts of skincare are simple to understand, like cleansing. We all understand why it’s important to cleanse our skin. But some skincare topics aren’t so clearly understandable. Today I’m breaking down the do’s and don’ts of exfoliation.

The Do's and Don'ts of Exfoliation The Do's and Don'ts of Exfoliation The Do's and Don'ts of Exfoliation The Do's and Don'ts of Exfoliation

the ordinary aha 30%+bha 2% peeling solution

Why and When to Exfoliate?

If exfoliation isn’t part of your normal skincare routine, I highly suggest we get with the picture. Exfoliation is a crucial part to a skincare routine and without it, a lot of other products can be less effective. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, which makes the skin brighter, more smooth, and less prone to breakouts.

The frequency which you exfoliate greatly depends on your skin type or sensitivity. You can use an exfoliating toner like the Pixi Glow Tonic every day to ensure those dead skin cells are being removed and your serums and moisturizers are the most effective. But if you’re like me, that might be too aggressive for your skin. I find using a washcloth to remove my makeup, along with my cleanser of course, gives my skin a gentle, daily exfoliation. Stronger exfoliants like The Ordinary’s Peeling Solutionย or the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial should be used once or twice a week to give the skin a thorough exfoliation and encourage cell turnover.

The Great Physical vs. Chemical Debate

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, welcome. I’m about to unload some info on you. Many aestheticians and skincare junkies alike debate over the use of physical exfoliants- think your nut scrubs, aka anything gritty in texture that physically scrubs your face. The greatest concern with using physical exfoliants is the fear of scrubbing too harshly and damaging the skin barrier, which is no good! Scrubbing too aggressively can cause tiny, micro tears along the skin barrier which opens you up to a whole heap of trouble- inflammation, sensitivity, and breakouts are just a few. However some physical exfoliants, like sugar scrubs, are considered better because the granules are smaller and have smoother edges which makes it least likely to tear the skin.

Chemical exfoliants are just as the name would suggest. Chemicals break down dead skin cells and are washed away after a certain period of time. They also aid in cell turnover which can help the skin maintain youthfulness. Chemical exfoliants include acids like AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids). AHA’s breakdown the cells on the surface of the skin (think dead skin cells) while BHA’s penetrate below the skin’s surface to break the actual cells apart (think removing blackheads). The best chemical exfoliants contain a mixture of the two.

Which Ones I Reccommend

You should know by now that I have fairly sensitive skin so finding the right exfoliant can be tricky. Because of that, I cannot use strictly glycolic acid, but I know many people love and adore pure glycolic. So I’m going to include some of the ones I know have been tested by other skincare lovers.

Physical Exfoliants:

Chemical Exfoliants:

I hope this helps clarify a bit of the mystery around exfoliating! Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried some of these and loved them or if you have some you recommend!

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