Exfoliation for All: How to (Properly) Exfoliate the Day Away

In pursuit of the ultimate glow, exfoliation remains a great way to achieve fresh, radiant skin. In short, exfoliation is the act of removing dead skin cells from the outermost layer of your skin, often with the help of a granulated scrub, physical exfoliating tools, or chemicals. While these skin cells would naturally fall off on their own, if not effectively removed they build-up, causing dull-looking skin that may also be rough in texture. A mechanical or chemical exfoliant can help clear them away sooner to make your skin look healthier, brighter and more youthful. Not only does exfoliation improve cellular renewal, it improves skin circulation and allows for more effective absorption of serums, moisturizers, masks and sunscreen. Exfoliation that is guided by skin type and a professional therefore plays an important role in any successful facial routine. 

However, if you choose to exfoliate at home, it’s important to do so safely so you don’t damage and irritate your skin, or bring on breakouts. While exfoliation is generally safe for most skin types, as with applying any new product to your face and body, it’s an absolute must to know your skin type and skin thickness. Consider receiving a professional skin consultation for guaranteed safety, regimen instructions and expert recommendations for at-home care products. This is where you can dive into what products, medications or over-the-counter treatments you might be using that could possibly clash with your exfoliation treatments. That said, as long as you take a few precautions, most people can easily maximize the benefits of exfoliation.

Mechanical Exfoliation

Mechanical exfoliation, or physical exfoliation uses a tool, such as a brush, a scrub or a pair of shower gloves to tangibly remove dead skin cells. Ultra-finely granulated scrubs and professional facial treatments like dermaplaning remain some of the most popular ways to practice mechanical exfoliation for the face. While mechanical exfoliation is used on the face, it’s also suitable  for body skin, especially the knees, elbows, and fingers. The skin on the body is more resilient than the skin on your decollete and face, so the methods can differ slightly. If you prefer scrubs for your face or body, remember to use gentle and very fine ones, never coarse. If not done carefully, it can cause microabrasions. Consult with a pro, as scrubbing can aggravate the skin and cause inflammation and certain skin conditions.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation uses substances, such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids that gently dissolve dead skin cells, rather than physically removing them from your face and body. Chemical exfoliants mostly suit all skin types, excluding very thin skin. You can use different types of facial acids for addressing different skin issues and types. The best way to find out what’s best for you is to schedule a professional chemical peel facial. Trust us, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds! Checking in with a pro can mitigate any possible issues that might arise if you go all in on your own. 

As mentioned, AHAs like glycolic and lactic acids are beneficial for those who have acne, scarring and hyperpigmentation. Salicylic acid is one of the most commonly used BHA exfoliants, due to its ability to penetrate the skin to break down the dirt and sebum buildup, reduce inflammation and prevent breakouts. Last but not least, an honorable mention must go to plant-based enzyme exfoliants. Unless the user has a specific allergy, plant-based enzyme exfoliants are typically milder than AHA and BHA exfoliants. Commonly used in the form of a serum, they’re suitable for most skin types since all are botanical based, the most favored being derived from pineapple, papaya and pumpkin.

Tips for the Face

Apply a safe to use at-home exfoliating paste 1-3 times a week at night, as directed by a professional. For an added boost, use a gentle  exfoliating serum after your scrub. Make sure to always replace the moisture in your skin, by implementing a hydrating serum, finished with a soothing mask

Tips for the Body

Apart from utilizing your serum and scrub system, implement a mild exfoliating body wash with shower gloves for ultimate reach and scrubbing action. And as always, we want to make sure we’re replenishing moisture into the skin. Finish with a body serum and hydrating lotion to add moisture back into your treated areas.