The process of exfoliating removes dead skin cells from your skin’s surface.
Naturally, it takes your skin thirty days to complete the lifecycle of a skin cell. In that period, your skin sheds off dead skin cells and gives room for the growth of new skin cells.
The problem, however, is that sometimes, the dead skins do not completely shed off, and when this happens, your skin pores can get clogged and you might experience dry and flaky skin patches.
Hence, the need for exfoliation.
Benefits of exfoliation
When you exfoliate;
- It helps to prevent your skin pores from getting clogged. This, in turn, reduces the occurrence of breakouts on your skin.
- It improves the appearance of your skin and makes your skin look brighter.
- It makes it easier for your skin to absorb skincare products, so they work more effectively.
- It increases your body’s collagen production, thereby reducing ageing signs and enhancing your skin’s elasticity.
In this article, I’ll explain in details the right way to exfoliate your skin to avoid skin irritations.
However, before we go into that, it is necessary that you know the right exfoliator to use. This helps you to avoid using a product that will do more harm to your skin.
What are the different methods of exfoliating?
When it comes to exfoliating, there are two methods you can choose from:
When we talk about exfoliation, this method usually quickly comes to mind.
Physical exfoliation requires that you manually scrub your skin with an exfoliant. These physical exfoliants can include body brushes, loofahs, exfoliating gloves, pumice stones, small grains (eg. sugar, sea salt, ground coffee) and so on, and may or may not be used alongside an exfoliating scrub.
Your typical DIY scrub is used for physical exfoliation because of the presence of small grains like ground almond or coffee, sugar, salt, etc., that feel rough on your skin.
The same goes for scrubs that are made by organic skincare brands.
There are different scrubs for different skin types. There are also scrubs made specifically for the face, the feet, and the body. But generally, physical exfoliation gives a rough feel.
You should note that physical exfoliants can irritate your skin and cause it to dry out. So, if you must use this method, moisturize your skin with a humectant. This will help reduce irritation and lock in moisture within your skin.
There are different exfoliating products that do not come as scrubs, i.e. they do not have abrasive elements that give that rough feel against your skin like scrubs do.
Chemical exfoliants usually include ingredients like; Alpha hydroxy acids which peel away the surface of your skin to allow new skin cells to grow, Beta hydroxy acids which unclog your skin pores by drying out dead skin cells and excess oils, retinoids which boost the production of collagen and protect your skin from free radicals, etc.
Chemical exfoliation can also result in irritation. So, you have to be careful about the type of exfoliant you use.
How do I know which exfoliant to use?
Knowing the right exfoliant to use solely depends on your skin type.
Normal skin type
Normal skin does not get irritated easily. So, if you have the normal skin type, then you can use any exfoliating method or product without being scared of irritations or side effects.
Dry skin is usually rough and flaky. So, if have dry skin, you can consider using Alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid. This will break through your skin’s surface layer and makes it easy for your moisturizer to easily hydrate the new skin cells.
Oily skin is usually greasy. If you have oily skin, you can use a physical exfoliator, like body brushes, so that the excess buildup of oil can easily be scrubbed off.
If your skin is sensitive, then it can be easily irritated. You can consider using Beta hydroxy acids. They usually cause fewer irritations than other physical and chemical exfoliants.
Also, if your skin is prone to having breakouts, it is advisable that look for exfoliating products that have salicylic acid or retinoids in them.
Note: If you do not know your skin type, then you need to read this article to help you identify your skin type => How to Identify and Care for Your Skin Type
How to avoid irritation when exfoliating
To generally avoid irritation, whenever you want to exfoliate, you should:
- Take note of the body part your exfoliating scrub should be used for. Do not use a body scrub in your face, it might be too harsh on your face and can tear your facial tissue.
- Never use more than one exfoliant at a time. Using different products on your skin can lead to side effects and cause great damage to your skin.
- Change exfoliant as your skin type changes. For example, if your skin becomes dry, then you might have to give up body brushes and use a washcloth to work your facial scrub in.
Now to the question of the day;
How do I exfoliate my skin?
Below are the steps to take whenever you want to exfoliate:
- Use a cleanser to cleanse your face if you are exfoliating just your face.
- Apply your scrub or chemical exfoliant on your skin. You can use your fingers (make sure you wet them first) or a washcloth to gently massage your scrub into your skin.
Note: You can also make use of physical exfoliants like exfoliating gloves to rub in your scrub, especially if you have oily skin.
- Make sure to apply the product gently in small, circular motions. But if you are using a physical exfoliant, use short, light strokes while scrubbing your skin.
- Wash off with warm lukewarm water. If you are doing a full body scrub, it is best you step into the shower.
- Towel dry and apply a moisturizer. Exfoliation can dry out your skin, so it is important you use a moisturizer.
Other exfoliating tips you should know:
- Do not exfoliate your skin if you have wounds, cuts or sunburn.
- It is advisable that you exfoliate once or twice weekly, but if you have oily skin, then you can exfoliate more frequently.
- If you have a bad reaction while exfoliating, wash off the product immediately. Use lukewarm water or a gentle cleanser.
If this happens to your face, do not apply makeup until the irritation clears. Also, do not apply any skincare product on the irritated part, except those meant to treat irritations.
- Do not use an exfoliating product meant for your body on your face. It is usually too harsh for your facial tissue, which is It can lead to cuts or irritations.
- If you are using a medicated skincare product for a skincare condition, you have to space out the time between exfoliating and the use of the product.
- You can exfoliate anytime you want It depends on your personal preference. However, some people believe that since the skin renews itself at night, exfoliating in the morning is best because it will remove skin cells shed at night.
Exfoliation is a must for every woman who wants a glowing skin.
You should however be careful when exfoliating because if you do it wrong or use the wrong products, you might experience irritations.
So, before you exfoliate, make sure you read this article all over again and follow the tips I have given. Most importantly, if you experience irritation after using a product, stop using it immediately.
Finally, do not forget to share your experience when next you exfoliate. Let me know if you notice any difference or changes. And if you have any tips you would like to share, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.