Yes, exfoliating rules! It should be one of the most important steps of your skincare routine. But there are also rules and guidelines for exfoliating that you should follow in order to effectively benefit from it. Last week I reached out to our followers on Instagram and asked if they have any pressing questions about exfoliation. I used those questions to compile this post. So let’s get into it!
Which step of my routine does exfoliating fall into?
When it comes to all the steps of a skincare routine, exfoliating is usually listed as step 2, after removing your makeup with an oil-based cleanser and/or using a water-based cleanser to clean your face. Don’t worry if you’re not double cleansing (yet), so long as you’ve removed all of your makeup effectively, you’re good to go.
What are the benefits?
Exfoliation works to unblock clogged pores and remove excess dirt, oil and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. In return, your skin is stimulated with better circulation and over time pores are minimised, blackheads and spots start to disappear and your moisturizing and specialized treatment products (face oils, serums, tonics, etc) are able to penetrate deeply into your skin allowing you to achieve that glowing complexion you never realised your skin was capable of, all thanks to exfoliation!
Is too much exfoliation a thing?
As tempting as it may be to want to scrub it all away and get back that natural glow, over-exfoliating can dry out your skin and cause irritation and redness. If you’ve got dry skin then exfoliating isn’t going to remove any of the dryness, it’ll actually make it worse. And if your skin is prone to breakouts, excessive rough exfoliation will not make your spots magically disappear, although it’ll definitely help (ref. paragraph 3), the key to this is patience and using the most gentle ingredients possible.
I never know what to look for in an exfoliator, help!
When looking for an exfoliator, avoid anything too abrasive with large grains as these can damage the skins surface and cause more harm than good. Plant-based is better, so look for natural ingredients like clay or dried herbs and alpha/beta hydroxy acids, which are naturally occurring acids that encourage exfoliation over time. Your exfoliant should feel smooth and pasty on your skin. Not rough or gritty.
How often should you exfoliate?
Twice a week at most, so that you don’t disrupt your skin’s natural protective layer, aka your acid mantle. Your acid mantle acts as a barrier of defense against the outside world. Don’t ever strip your skin with harsh soaps and rough exfoliants and extreme cleansing. Trust your body and your skin’s natural ability to protect itself and keep in moisture by protecting that barrier. Using a daily SPF is also essential if you’re exfoliating regularly.