How to Exfoliate: Expert Tips on the Do's & Don'ts of Exfoliating
From selecting the right exfoliant to listening to your skin, here are expert tips on how to exfoliate your skin, to get it looking its glowing best!
Don’t we all love that post-exfoliation glow? Of course that is, when we don’t take it too far. However, there really isn’t a “right way to exfoliate”. The best way to exfoliate is determined by your individual skin type and concerns. Are you still confused? Below are a few tips on exfoliation that can help you add this step into your skincare routine.
Whether you opt for chemical, (including enzyme) or physical exfoliant, there are so many exfoliating options on the market these days. So let’s run through the most popular ones:
1. Chemical Exfoliation
This uses acids to get rid of dead skin cells. Lactic is a popular Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that is great for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Glycolic Acid is also popular and better for more mature and oily skin types, while Salicylic Acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) that is best for acne-prone skin types.
2. Physical Exfoliation
This refers to anything physical that exfoliates the skin, i.e. manual scrubs with textured bits and/or grainy particles. However, it also includes brushes and skincare devices too.
3. Enzyme Exfoliation
This type of chemical exfoliation is often described as breaking down the glue that holds skin cells together. This “un-gluing” essentially causes the skin to exfoliate and slough off. It’s gentler than standard chemical exfoliation options, so is one that is great for sensitive skin and expectant mothers.
And while yes, these forms of exfoliation all promise glowy results, when you overdo it you can and will damage your skin barrier. Sensitive skin types need to be especially cautious.
Moral: if you exfoliate and your skin starts to peel, or it feels like it’s becoming extra sensitive or irritated and red, then you need to pull back. More exfoliation does not equal more glow.
In fact, less is often better for many skin types if you’re really after glowy skin. Also, if you’re keen on upping the ante, try and schedule in a clinical peel every 4-6 weeks.
Skin cells turn over naturally around every 28 days or so, but sometimes giving them that extra push clinically can help keep your skin looking happy and healthy. Not to mention a consultation will provide expert guidance from a professional.
However, if you are exfoliating at home here is a little guidance for you to follow…
The Do's of Exfoliating
- Always wear SPF when you start exfoliating. Obviously always wear it every day, but especially when you add an exfoliant into your routine. When you are exfoliating you are removing dead skin cells which will make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
- Do keep the rest of your skincare routine simple when using exfoliants. You will damage your skin barrier if you try to incorporate too many actives at once.
- Get to know the exfoliants that work best for your skin type and concerns.
- Consider booking in for a proper skin consultation and advice with a Dermal Therapist. Clinical treatments combined with skincare will do wonders.
- Always moisturise after exfoliating, as this will help hydrate and heal the skin.
The Don'ts of Exfoliating
- Do not exfoliate every night. How often you do is very individual, although every night is not required.
- Do not exfoliate your skin if your skin barrier is damaged or your skin is irritated. This will only exacerbate skin issues and make things worse.
- Do not exfoliate post clinical treatments like lasers. Follow the guidance and aftercare of your clinician.
- Ensure exfoliants aren’t in many steps of the same skincare routine. Eg. many serums incorporate exfoliants into their products and the same with cleansers. You don’t need to use them both at the same time.
- Do not buy the strongest strength thinking it is the best option. The strongest strength does not necessarily equal best results. Listen to your skin.
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