We all want healthy, radiant skin. Yet, this may feel like an elusive skincare goal as we age since our cell cycle elongates and its turnover decreases along the years. Thus, accumulated dead skin cells can give us a dull complexion. And that’s why many dermatologists swear and stress upon the importance of exfoliating.
With a proper exfoliating routine for your face and body, you can safely and effectively buff off the layer of dry, dead skin to ensure that your pores remain uncongested, thus restoring your silky, luminous glow.
Exfoliating may also allow moisturisers and serums to better seep into the skin and help your foundation glide on smoothly instead of sitting atop a flaky face.
But like any other skincare method, there are right and wrong ways to exfoliate. Here, we answer the most commonly asked questions about exfoliation so you can excel at it.
How often should I exfoliate?
For people starting off with exfoliants, it’s best to use a gentler product once or twice a week. We recommend one of our best-sellers, the Gentle Face Scrub by By Nature as a smoother scrub. This is included in our April subscription boxes, or if building your own box is what you prefer, take a look at the Cream Clay Cleanser with Natural Exfoliant by NZ made body care brand Miabelle.
While it’s possible to work up to daily exfoliation with certain products, it is still recommended to do it two to three times a week, with one product at night.
A reason why you should not over-exfoliate: It’s counterproductive. As much as exfoliating is good for your skin, over-exfoliating can lead to adverse reactions such as redness and flakiness.
What products work best for exfoliation based on my needs?
You might feel tempted to start exfoliating with any tool or product you have on-hand. This can be scrubs, washcloths, or brushes lying around your home. But it can cause micro-tears on the surface of your skin if you use a product that is incorrect for your skin type. Bacteria may enter the skin because of these tears, potentially causing clogged pores, broken capillaries, inflammation, and scarring.
However, there is no risk of exfoliating if it is done correctly with the correct product for your skin type. Scrubs have come a long way from older options like apricot kernels, which have sharp, broken edges that can tear at the skin. Instead, you have products like Anihana’s Sugar Scrub Cube, harnessing oh-so-sweet sugar to gently polish your skin.
But when really considering what type of exfoliant is right for you, you need to evaluate what is best suited for your needs and skin type, meaning dry, oily, or acne-prone. For dry skin, products with water-soluble alpha hydroxy acids are particularly great in loosening the bonds between dry skin cells on the surface and fresh, new skin underneath. And if you have a tattoo that’s been looking dull from neglect, why not try the Electric Ink Tattoo Care Exfoliating Tattoo Body Wash, which contains naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids that safely exfoliate dead skin cells and help to rejuvenate the skin.
As for those with oily and acne-prone skin, they can benefit from using charcoal products, which absorbs excess oil and debris from skin. The Miabelle konjac sponge with activated charcoal is therefore perfect to give your face a gentle yet exfoliating cleanse, drawing out impurities and build-up from the pores.
Should my exfoliating routine be the same throughout the year?
It’s in your skin’s best interest that you alternate between different exfoliants according to the season since weather plays a big part, not only on how you feel, but how your skin feels too. During winter, skin tends to be dryer while in hot and humid summer, excess sebum secreted gets stuck on the surface of the skin, leading to blocked pores.
However, there are some products that are made for any weather. The luxurious Skye Candle & Body Care Crystal Clay Masque includes a thoughtfully chosen combination of ingredients for maximum benefit to your skin all year round. It has kaolin clay, which has natural absorbency properties to reduce oil and stale sebum on the skin and within the pores. On the flip side, it also has rhassoul clay, which is rich in silica, magnesium, calcium and potassium, and is known to improve dry skin by regulating your skin's natural oil balance. And finally, the quartz crystals promotes a friction action, removing the layers of dead cells and stimulating the renewal of the skin.