Skin Exfoliation 101: A Beginner's Guide to Exfoliating the right way
Our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days or so, but sometimes, this resurfacing doesn't take place so effectively. These dead cells then become responsible for making skin appear dull, clogging pores, and even causing your face to look rough and textured. Exfoliating can help prevent this.
Now, what is skin exfoliation?
It is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool. Exfoliating your skin a couple of times a week helps you buff away those dead skin cells and build-up, so you’re left with fresh, soft skin.
What are some of the benefits of exfoliation?
- Unclogged pores
- Faster healing of acne
- Better penetration of other skincare products
- Brighter, more even-toned skin tone
- Smoother texture
- Lesser fine lines and wrinkles.
- Improved collagen production
Types of Exfoliation
The two most popular methods to exfoliate include physical and chemical exfoliation. The goal of both these processes is technically the same —sloughing off dead skin—but they do so in very different ways.
Let’s understand how each of these works so you can decide which method would suit your needs the best.
This type of exfoliation involves an exfoliating product with granules or grainy substances to manually scrub the dead cells off the skin. Some frequently used tools for physical exfoliation include things like cleansing scrubs, exfoliating mitts, brushes, loofahs and more.
The only con when it comes to physical exfoliation is that certain products like scrubs and brushes may cause microtears on the skin if used too frequently or with excess pressure.
However, it’s important to note that not all physical exfoliators are created equal and it’s all about choosing one that does the job without being harsh on your skin.
We recommend Lisén’s SkinPal Silicone Exfoliator, a soft cleansing brush that exfoliates very gently and helps your cleanser work more effectively to clarify your skin.
Chemical exfoliation is a method that uses certain chemicals to remove dead skin cells These chemicals work to resurface the skin by breaking up and dissolving the glue that holds dead skin cells together, leaving clear, glowing skin behind.
Also known as peels, these chemical exfoliants are great for smoothing but also for brightening.
When choosing a chemical exfoliant, you can look for those with AHAs, BHAs or a combination of both. AHAs or alpha hydroxy acids are derived from natural substances and are ideal for exfoliating dry and dull skin, as they help fade hyperpigmentation and even out the skin’s surface.
Examples of AHAs - Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid
By contrast, BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) are oil-soluble molecules that can reach deeper into the skin and pores. They have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties—which makes them perfect for those who want to target acne, blackheads, and whiteheads.
Examples of BHAs - Salicylic Acid, Willow Bark Extract
While certain products include just one of these chemicals, others are formulated with a blend of both these effective ingredients to provide you with the ultimate exfoliating experience.
The bottom line is that both these methods help you achieve fresh and smooth skin by removing dead cells and build-up. It all comes down to what tools or additional benefits you want and what tools you are comfortable using.
We hope this article helps you make the right decision for yourself. But before we end it, here are some quick tips and tricks for effective exfoliation.
- Select an exfoliation method that suits your skin type and phase
- Don’t exfoliate more than 2-3 times a week
- Be gentle on your skin while using both physical and chemical exfoliators
- Apply chemical exfoliators only at night and follow it up with a moisturizer
- Always wear sunscreen the day after you exfoliate