Exfoliation: Is It Important For Your Skin Care?
The skin is the largest organ in the body; this fact gets lost on a lot of us because, unlike other organs, it might be difficult to recognize it as an organ because of its structure and how large it is (surface area).
The skin, like other organs in the body, needs consistent and well-structured care to remain healthy and age gracefully.
In comes a solid skincare routine.
If you know what a skincare routine is and why you should have one, then you are already on your way to having healthy and beautiful skin. If you don’t, read this article on building the right skincare routine for you to get acquainted.
In this article, we’re considering a very important but elusive and sometimes difficult to understand part of a complete skincare routine; exfoliation. This is so because it isn’t done every day of the week like other steps in your skincare routine and you need the right information to do it right and reap the benefits.
Exfoliation is a skincare fundamental, it’s a great way to keep your skin healthy, glowing, and full of life.
But what is it exactly? What does it mean to exfoliate? What are the benefits?
What is Exfoliation?
To put it simply, exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.
To remain healthy, the skin undergoes a natural turnover cycle that lasts around 30 days. What happens in the turnover process is the upper layer of the skin (the epidermis) is shed, revealing fresh skin from the dermis (the middle layer of the skin).
Exfoliation is the process of helping your skin through this process because sometimes the cell turnover process isn’t clear-cut. Dead skin cells don’t fully shed, making the skin dry and flaky, covering and clogging the new skin cells.
When you exfoliate you help your skin finish the job by removing the dead skin cells so they don’t clog your pores.
The skin naturally sheds, like a snake. Who knew? Exfoliation is you take an active part in the process and helping your skin remain healthy and regenerated.
Exfoliating can improve the radiance of our skin.
Why Should You Exfoliate?
As stated in the previous section, exfoliation is helping in the process of skin cell turnover. But understanding what is half of the journey, it is also important to understand why.
Why is it necessary? Why can’t I just leave my skin to do its thing?
The following are some of the things you might notice that will show you that your skin would benefit from exfoliation:
- Acne or other types of breakouts
- Uneven texture or tone
- Dry, flaky, irritated skin
- Rough appearance or texture
- Sun and age spots
Benefits of Exfoliation
1. It Unclogs Pores: Dead cells can clog your pores if they are not taken off the surface of your skin. Exfoliation is a great way to draw out impurities and decongest your pores.
2. It Prevents Acne: When your pores are unclogged, acne can be drastically reduced. Exfoliation also removes bacteria that might be on your skin.
3. It Increases Cell Turnover: With exfoliation, your skin’s renewal process is faster and more efficient. You can shed dead skin cells faster, meaning your skin’s renewal process will get a boost.
4. Exfoliation Makes Your Skin Glow: Cleansing is a great way to get rid of dirt and oil on the skin, but exfoliation is what makes your skin glow and healthy because it is what sloughs off dead cells to reveal new radiant and glowing skin cells.
5. Exfoliation is Anti-Aging: It makes sense, if you pay attention to your skin’s renewal process, you revitalize your skin and slow down aging.
6. Other Skin Care Products Penetrate Deeper: When you remove dead and wasted cells from the surface of your skin, you remove any barrier that might prevent your products from being absorbed by your skin. Your serums, toners, and moisturizers will penetrate deeper into your skin and be able to effectively work their magic.
7. Fine Lines and Wrinkles: With regular exfoliation, you can prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Types of Exfoliation
Now that you understand the what and the why of exfoliation, how do you actually do it? There are lots of options when it comes to exfoliation products and processes, but there are two major ways you can get rid of dead skin cells.
There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical.
1. Physical Exfoliation
Two words come to play here, scrubbing and rubbing. This exfoliation process involves physically removing the dead cells off the surface of the skin instead of dissolving it.
Physical exfoliation is less gentle because it involves mechanically scrubbing dead skin cells off your skin.
Physical exfoliation is great for normal skin. This is because people with normal skin can try almost any exfoliation technique without the fear of negative effects. Unlike people with oily or sensitive skin.
Pros: Physical exfoliation is easy, inexpensive, and accessible. All you need is something to scrub your skin and you’re good to go.
Cons: It’s easy to over-scrub your skin and cause damage if you’re not careful. When done incorrectly, physical exfoliation can irritate your skin, causing redness and dryness. It can even worsen your breakout. So, scrub carefully.
Physical exfoliation tools: Cleaning scrubs, exfoliating mitts, dry brushes, loofahs, and pumice stones.
2. Chemical Exfoliation
The word “chemical” sounds harsh but relaxed, chemical exfoliation is the gentlest form of exfoliation. All you have to do is pay attention to the ingredients and follow the instructions to get the best results and avoid injuring or irritating your skin.
Chemical exfoliation involves using acids on the face for a short period so the dead skin cells will dissolve in them and can be washed off.
a. Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are plant-based ingredients that are great at dissolving dead skin cells on the face.
They are great for dry to normal skin types.
Common AHAs: Glycolic acid, Citric acid, Malic acid, Lactic acid.
b. Beta Hydroxy Acids
Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are effective at removing dead skin cells that are deep in your pores. This is great in reducing breakouts.
They are great for oily and combination skin and skin with acne scars or sun spots.
Salicylic acid is one of the best-known BHAs found in chemical exfoliators.
Enzyme peels are made with enzymes gotten from fruits. The enzymes work to remove dead skin cells from the face.
They are great for people with sensitive skin because they won’t expose a fresh layer of skin, they only remove dead skin cells.
EXFOLIATION METHODS ARE CLASSIFIED AS EITHER PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL.
How Often Should You Exfoliate
To see results, it is ideal to exfoliate one to three times a week.
If you have very oily skin that is prone to clogged pores, you can exfoliate more than 3 times a week, maybe a few extra times a week. Keep in mind that the goal of exfoliation is to take off dead cells and open your skin up for moisture, not rub it raw.
You don’t have to do too much to take great care of your skin and get consistent and lasting results, you just need the right information.
Exfoliation is very important if you want your skin to remain healthy and radiant. You can’t skip it. You don’t have to do it every day like the other steps in your skincare routine, but it serves a very important purpose and you should give it the energy and attention to detail it deserves.