How to Get A Smooth-Feeling Face: Your Guide to Facial Exfoliation
If you’ve ever tried applying moisturizer to a dry complexion, you know how challenging it can be—especially in the areas that experience dry patches or flakiness. With dry, dead skin cell buildup taking up real estate on your complexion, there can hardly be any room for moisturizer to move in and hydrate your skin, leaving you with skin that appears to be light years away from looking and feeling soft, smooth, and supple. So, how do you combat this pesky skin care woe? By sloughing away that dead skin buildup! Keep reading to learn how to manage any buildup on the skin’s surface and get a smooth feeling face with our step-by-step guide to facial exfoliation.
WHAT IS FACIAL EXFOLIATION?
New to facial exfoliation? Here’s a facial exfoliation 101. Facial exfoliation involves using a product on your skin that is formulated to either chemically break down or physically remove dead skin cell buildup from the surface of your skin. In doing so, the skin may not only be left looking—and feeling—softer, smoother, and fresher, it can also help prep the skin for additional skin care products. Similar to the skin on your body, the skin on your face can also experience dryness and may benefit from exfoliation once or twice a week to keep it looking—and feeling—its best.
HOW OFTEN CAN I PRACTICE FACIAL EXFOLIATION?
Similar to body exfoliation, your complexion may benefit from facial exfoliation 1-2 times a week—depending on your skin type and the type of facial exfoliator that you choose to use. If you’re new to facial exfoliation, you may want to start by exfoliating the skin once a week and working your way up to two—if your skin type permits. For more information on how often you should exfoliate your skin, click here.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU DON’T EXFOLIATE YOUR FACE?
If you skip out on exfoliation, your complexion could start to appear dull and dreary—not to mention, the texture of your skin may begin to feel a bit rough, too. What’s more? An uneven complexion can make it harder to apply your makeup.
The good news is, with facial exfoliation, soft, smooth, supple-looking skin can be attained. See for yourself with our step-by-step guide to facial exfoliation, ahead.
STEP ONE: EXFOLIATE YOUR SKIN
You can opt for a physical exfoliant—like a sugar scrub, such as, this one from L’Oreal Paris—or a chemical exfoliant—which can be formulated with alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or enzymes. If you prefer to use a chemical exfoliant in your skin care routine, we recommend incorporating peel pads. Peel pads can help to remove dry, dead skin buildup and may result in the appearance of softer, smoother, healthy-looking skin.
No matter which type of exfoliator you pick you’ll want to use them in a gentle, upward circular motion and follow the instructions on the product. Keep reading to see which products we recommend for facial exfoliation.
STEP TWO: MOISTURIZE YOUR SKIN
After you’ve exfoliated, it’s hydration time. Reach for a moisturizer formulated for your skin type and gently massage it onto your complexion in upward circular motions until evenly distributed. This helps to provide hydration to the surface of your skin after cleansing and exfoliating.
STEP THREE: PROTECT YOUR SKIN
While exfoliating your skin can reveal new, more radiant-looking skin that was hiding underneath all of that dead skin cell buildup, those new cells can be sensitive to sunlight. This is why it’s so important to be diligent about applying and reapplying a sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF. If daily SPF use isn’t already a habit, it’s time to make it one. To take your sun protection a step further, wear protective clothing prior to heading outdoors and seek shade when possible.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHEMICAL VS. PHYSICAL EXFOLIATION
Exfoliants available on the market today run in two separate sectors: physical and chemical. Technically, they do the same thing—remove dead surface skin cells—but they accomplish this in entirely different ways. Proper exfoliation allows your moisturizers, serums and even makeup to glide on easier, so it’s important to make sure you’re doing it correctly.
Physical (manual) exfoliation involves sloughing your skin with a scrub. Basically, grains, salts, sugars, or other gentle abrasives that buff the skin are physical exfoliators. Chemical exfoliation, on the other hand, involves removing dead surface cells with the use of chemicals or acids. Although the name can be quite intimidating, chemical exfoliators are very beneficial, and can be gentler on your skin compared to face scrubs in some instances. Chemical exfoliants are divided into two groups: AHAs and BHAs.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AHAS AND BHAS
AHAs, or Alpha Hydroxy Acids, include acids like glycolic acid which is derived from sugar cane, citric acid which is derived from citrus, or lactic acid which is derived from milk. BHAs, or Beta Hydroxy Acids, are large particles that can help with the appearance of acne. The most well-known BHA is salicylic acid. According to the FDA, both AHAs and BHAs can help improve the appearance of skin texture and tone with continued use over time.
4 Exfoliating Skin Care Products to Try Now
Ready to improve your facial exfoliation routine? Below, we’re laying out our picks of the best facial exfoliators from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands to slough your skin with. Whether you’re looking for a physical exfoliator or a chemical exfoliator, you’ll find the right facial exfoliator for your skin below!
Garnier SkinActive Blackhead Eliminating Scrub
Infused with charcoal, this gel exfoliator with salicylic acid and micro-beads deeply cleanses, tightens pores, and smooths skin. In combination, the formula helps to reduce imperfections and reduce the appearance and formation of blackheads. In just one week, you’ll notice smaller pores and a clearer complexion.
L’Orèal Pure-Sugar Scrub Purify & Unclog Scrub
This gentle sugar scrub is kind to your face, and contains brown, blond and white sugars that are rich in minerals. After using it, your face will feel purified and clean. Feel free to use this on your face and your lips.
Lancôme Exfolliance Radiance Exfoliating Clarifying Gel
Brighten even the dullest skin with this refreshing gel formula for normal and combination skin. This gel is formulated with white wax micro-beads and ultra-fine grains, in addition to pineapple and papaya extracts. After using, you’ll notice a toned and smoother complexion.
L’Orèal Revitalift Bright Reveal Peel Pads
These daily peel pads resurface dull, uneven tones and rough texture to reveal youthful-looking skin. Formulated with glycolic acid, which helps to brighten the skin, this product will give you that lit-from-within glow and newly-smooth skin easily.