Is Your Skin Care Routine Missing This Important Step?
You cleanse, you moisturize, and you’d never dream of skipping a sunscreen application, but still your skin doesn’t look quite the way you wish it would. Chances are your skin care routine may be missing an all-too-important step: exfoliation. Learn more about the benefits of exfoliation, the dos and don’ts, and discover some of our favorite exfoliation techniques below!
What Is Exfoliation?
It may seem like a no-brainer, but exfoliation is actually more complex than it seems. For instance, did you know that there are two types of exfoliation?
Chemical Exfoliation: Involves the use of beta-hydroxy acid—salicylic acid—alpha-hydroxy acids—glycolic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid, among others—or enzymes—pumpkin, papaya, etc.—to chemically break down surface buildup.
Mechanical Exfoliation: Involves physically scrubbing the skin’s surface with product—like a dry brush or a body scrub.
While the method is different, the goal remains the same: removing the oldest dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin’s surface.
The Benefits of Exfoliation
The purpose of gently sloughing the surface of your skin is primarily to get rid of dead skin cell buildup—making exfoliation more important as we age. Our skin’s natural desquamation process—the shedding of dead skin cells to reveal new healthy-looking skin underneath—slows as we get older. This paired with the loss of moisture that can occur as skin ages may cause a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface and result in a dull, sallow-looking skin tone. Exfoliation helps to gently remove this buildup, revealing brighter skin that feels silky soft.
What’s more? Regular gentle exfoliation can help your other skin care products be more effective, since they can actually reach the skin’s surface as opposed to sitting on top of dead skin cell buildup.
How Often Should You Exfoliate?
According to board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Dendy Engelman, how often you should exfoliate varies from person to person. “Some [people’s skin] can only handle exfoliating once a week, while others need to every day,” she says. At the end of the day it comes down to what your skin can tolerate. Read more from Dr. Engelman’s interview here!
The Importance of Body Exfoliation
Exfoliation isn’t just necessary on our facial skin, it’s something we can benefit from head to toe. The benefits of brighter-looking skin remain the same, but did you know that body exfoliation may result in fewer body breakouts too? This is because exfoliation helps to reduce the factors that can lead to clogged pores—dead skin cells and excess oil. Learn more about the benefits of body exfoliation.
Want to incorporate exfoliation into your routine but not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place. From DIY body scrubs and lip scrubs to dry brushing and chemical peels. Here are some of Skincare.com’s top stories about exfoliation:
- What Is Dry Brushing? How This Spa-Inspired Routine Can Benefit Your Skin
- Why You May Want to Try Exfoliating Your Scalp
- 3 Microbead-Free Exfoliators You (and the Environment!) Will Love