Exfoliation is a great way to improve your skin’s appearance. It can remove dead cells that cause your complexion to look dull and can help make your moisturizers more effective. But, it’s important to know what types of exfoliants are available and how often you should be using them to ensure you get the most benefit from them.
There are two main types of exfoliators: chemical and physical. Both of these work to slough away dead skin, but each is done in a different way.
Chemical exfoliants contain alpha-hydroxy, beta-hydroxy, and poly-hydroxy acids that dissolve the glue that holds dead skin cells together. This loosens the bonds and allows them to easily wash away.
These acids are gentler than a physical scrub and can be used by most skin exfoliation types. They can also help to brighten and even out your complexion by removing excess pigmentation.
They are also known to unclog pores and reduce breakouts in some cases. This is because the acid can break up the oil and dirt that can cause clogged pores.
Some of these acids are also effective at stimulating collagen production, which can help to fade acne scars and even out your complexion.
Both types of exfoliators can be harsh on the skin if you use them too frequently. If you are prone to irritated skin, talk to your doctor about which type of exfoliation is best for you.
Avoid exfoliating your face when it’s sunburned or when you have a rash. You should also stop using skincare products containing acids on the day you plan to exfoliate, because it can sensitize your skin.
It’s best to incorporate one type of exfoliator into your routine at a time to minimize irritation, the GH Beauty Lab says. That’s especially true if you are trying out a new exfoliator, because you don’t want to overdo it, which could lead to redness and damage.
Generally, it’s recommended to exfoliate twice a week. But, depending on your skin’s needs, you may need to switch it up every once in a while to keep your complexion looking its best.
If you’re using a mechanical exfoliant, it’s best to do it in small, circular motions and avoid rubbing the skin too hard, as this can cause microtears. This can lead to a rash or other skin irritation, so be gentle with your facial exfoliation and rinse off your skin thoroughly with lukewarm water to prevent any further damage.
Both mechanical and chemical exfoliants are effective at shedding the top layer of your skin, which can make it easier for topical creams and serums to penetrate deeply. It’s also a good idea to follow up with a hydrating product like hyaluronic acid or an antioxidant to lock in moisture.
You can easily exfoliate your skin at home with a variety of products, from soap bars and body washes with granules to face scrubs, cleansing brushes and peels. The key is to find an exfoliant that suits your skin type, budget and values.