Which Exfoliation Technique Should You Be Using?
There are several ways that you can rid your face and body of dead, dry skin to create a fresh, energized look. There are a variety of products that you can use to achieve the goal. Keep reading to learn more about the right exfoliation technique for your skin.
Exfoliation 101: Picking the Right Exfoliation Technique
- Mechanical Exfoliation: To perform mechanical exfoliation, you’ll use something in addition to a body scrub or lotion – like a loofah or a brush- to gently slough off the dead skin cells that dull your sparkle. You need a good scrub, (coffee face scrubs are somewhat popular for this step in a skincare routine), and then your choice of exfoliator – there are brushes, loofahs, and even gloves that you might use here, depending on where you’re exfoliating.
- Chemical Exfoliation: This is where masks and peels are useful. Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are important components of these products. AHAs work to break down the bonds between the skin’s surface and the dead skin that lies there. BHAs are attracted to acid and will break through oils in your skin to clear your pores of dirt, oil and dead skin.
- Topical Creams: This tool in exfoliation can be tricky for individuals with sensitive skin. Creams in this category often contain retinols (a strong vitamin A), peptides, or enzymes. These are typically prescribed by doctors. They are easy to apply, but require some care, as they might increase redness and sensitivity to the sun and wind.
How to Exfoliate:
- To exfoliate mechanically: the first step is to wash your face with a scrub or foaming facial wash. Choose your tool and gently apply to the skin, using a slow speed and soft bristles if using a brush on your face, or gentle, even strokes with the loofah or gloves. Rinse and admire the new glow.
- To exfoliate chemically: After washing your face, apply your selected mask or chemical peel in an even layer. Let dry and then wash off. If you’ve not done one before, there are a few things to watch out for. Most notably, you’ll want to choose a formulation with a concentration of AHAs or BHAs no higher than 10 percent.
- To exfoliate using topical creams: This might be the simplest method, at first glance. After washing your face, you’ll apply the cream according to the directions given by your prescriber or on the box. Then, just wait.
How Much Exfoliation is Too Much?
When you see results, it’s easy to get excited and regular exfoliation to your routine. This is something to be careful with though. Because exfoliation removes the top layer of your skin, it leaves your face and body vulnerable.
Here are a few signs that you’re exfoliating too much.
- You’re experiencing breakouts. If you started exfoliating to reduce your breakouts and find that you’re fighting more acne, this is a sign that you might be exfoliating too much. You’ve removed too many healthy skin cells and your body is reacting to that.
- Uncomfortable stinging or burning. Particularly with topical creams or chemical peels, there’s a bit of discomfort. But if you find that you’re feeling stinging that is painful, or your face burns, you may want to lay off the exfoliation for a bit, or choose a different technique.
- Your skin is red and irritated. When done correctly, exfoliation reduces redness and puffiness, but if overdone, your sensitive skin will begin to protest. If you’re fighting redness and irritation, you’ll want to reassess your skincare routine.
If you enjoyed learning about exfoliation technique, consider reading Does Caffeine Increase Skin Moisture?
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