Exfoliation is an important part of any good skin care routine. When done properly your skin can derive a lot of benefits from it. It can also be a double-edged sword in that when it is not done the right way it may have some adverse consequences. It is therefore essential to know the best way to exfoliate your skin in order to get the so many benefits of this skin treatment.
What Is Exfoliation
Before I go into details of this topic, perhaps I should offer some explanation of what exfoliation is all about.
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells sitting on the skin’s surface to make way for a better looking, fresher and younger skin. The dead skin cells if left unattended may build up on your skin leading to a dull dry skin and blemishes
Methods of Exfoliation.
Methods here means the types of substances and items used in the process of exfoliation. There are basically two methods; the mechanical and chemical methods.
This method is the most commonly used one around the world. This involves the use of an abrasive on the skin to scrub off the dead skin cells. The abrasives used in this method includes facial creams containing micro beads, natural methods with the use of sugar or salt, pumice stone for the feet, loofah and body brushes. Etc.
For people with dry skin, it is usually best to avoid many mechanical exfoliants because they would further dry out their skin depriving it of the healthy, fresher look of the newer skin, thereby defeating the essence of the treatment.
By this method exfoliation of the skin is done using scrubs which contain chemical ingredients like citric acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, fruit enzymes and so on. These exfoliants loosen the glue-like substances that hold the cells together allowing them to slough away.
Though a lot of the times medical professionals create and apply many of these substances in suitable quantity as too much of them can pose a problem for the skin, there are some over-the-counter products containing these ingredients but they would usually be much lower in concentration.
Benefits Of Skin Exfoliation
Having known what skin exfoliation is, perhaps I should let you know some of the benefits of this skin treatment so you know what’s in it for you should you decide to start it.
Exfoliation cleanses the skin deeply to dislodge any build-ups in the pores as well as helping break up whiteheads. It smoothens and refines the skin’s texture leaving it supple and glowing and also enhances blood flow to the skin giving it a healthy fresh appearance.
Whenever your facial skin has a dull look as is often the case with older people who do not exfoliate, and exfoliating treatment will clear the skin of its dullness and make it look younger. The reason for this is that as we are the process by which the skin shades off old cells becomes slower leading to cells piling up unevenly on the surface of the skin. This is what accounts for the dull look. This treatment therefore becomes essential at this stage to remove the dead cells to reveal the fresher young skin underneath.
Before You Start Exfoliating – Know These
There is a slight difference between the process of exfoliating the face and that of the body. The method and the products that you use also depends on your skin type.
The facial skin is much softer and more delicate, therefore you need to be more careful and more gentle when handling it. In the same vain the skin of your body though generally harder, it still differs from one part to the other. The chest and stomach areas tend to be softer than the back.
You may use a sponge, body brush, loofah or exfoliating glove for your body but not for your face – they will be too harsh for the face. Rather you should use cleansing gel or cream with your hands.
Also, you do not need to apply too much pressure when exfoliating the face. The cleansing cream or gel and your gentle motion is enough to do the job.
Never use body scrub for the face as they are too rough.
The sensitive skin does not need a scrub or an exfoliant either. A gentle cleanser that does not irritate the skin will do. To get a suitable product for this skin type pay attention to the ingredients written on the product to ensure it does not have anything to irritate the skin. Try every product before use.
How to try a product – use a little quantity on a tiny part of your body say the inner side of your forearm, your wrist, your ankle or the back of your ear. These areas are easier to hide and more quickly noticeable right away should there be any reaction like redness or irritation.
For those with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, exfoliation should be done with natural ingredients or any other softer means like dry brushing.
If you have any extremely dry skin it is very beneficial to apply a face oil and few minutes prior to exfoliation. The oil will act as extra layer of protection for your skin.
How To Exfoliate Your Skin – The Step By Step Process.
Exfoliation Of The Face
To begin, first wet your face with warm (not hot) water. Place a soft terry washcloth or towel under a warm tap. Squeeze the water out of it and place it on your face for a minute to two. This will open up the pores to make it easier to exfoliate.
Next get a cleanser or gel or face scrub that is suitable for your skin type, salt, sugar or any other natural exfoliating substance. Squeeze some of the substance into your palm. Then rob it on your face. Using your finger tips gently rob your face in upwards and circular motions.
Another method of doing it is to squeeze an amount of your chosen cleansing substance on the surface of your washcloth. Gently rub it on your face in a circular motion starting from the chin moving upwards to the cheeks, the nose, the forehead and other parts of the face always using gentle touch.
Then wash your face with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Lock in moisture with a cream or your favourite anti – aging serum.
There are also the glycolic masks and pads which can be used to exfoliate your face. These masks and pads which you can find at drug stores contain mild acids such as alpha – hydroxy and beta – hydroxy. They usually contain package directions by which you can utilize them
Exfoliation Of The Body
For full body exfoliation you will need items such as pumice stone, body brush, loofah or exfoliating glove, a cleanser with exfoliating properties like gel or cream and a body lotion for afterwards.
As is the case with the face, it is important that when choosing a body lotion or exfoliating gel or cream you should choose ones that are compatible with your skin type.
Also, use creams that are for specific areas of the body on those areas. For instance, a facial exfoliation cream will not work well for your body just as a body scrub will not be okay for your face.
Sometimes, prior chemical exfoliation, it is beneficial for the skin that you exfoliate using the body brush. This should be done outside the shower moving the brush over your body in a circular motion starting from the legs upwards and slowly up your body. Always finish from one part of the body before moving to another. It is better that you do the body brushing in the bathtub or shower without water so that dead skin follicles would be collected in it.
After the body brushing, if you are using a loofah or exfoliation gloves with scrub then you will need to wet your skin with warm water. Begin from your feet. With your pumice stone, scrub from the sole of your feet to your heels. Pay particular attention to rough spots thereon until it feels smooth. Thereafter, put some scrub on your loofah or exfoliating glove, and rub it on your body in a circular motion starting from your legs upwards.
Be gentle with the softer parts of your body like the legs, chest and stomach area. After this, rinse your body with warm water. Then use cold water afterwards. This will help to close up the pores that were earlier opened with the warm water. Finish it off by using your shower gel or soap to wash your whole body if you see the need to do so.
Lastly, use a moisturizing cream or lotion, depending on your skin type, on your body to lock up as well as to protect the pores from getting dirty during the rest of the day.
Some Things To Note About Exfoliation.
Exfoliation, like I stated earlier, can be a double-edged sword. What this means is that in spite of its many benefits to the skin it can cause problems for it if it is over done. The trick therefore is to do it with moderation.
Too many of it of your face can make it too sensitive thereby making it prone to redness and irritation. Also be careful not to expose yourself to the sun immediately after exfoliating
Do not exfoliate too often especially in very sunny climate as this makes it easy for your skin to be damaged by the sun. Be particularly cautious if you have sensitive or aging skin.
How Often Should I Exfoliate
This depends largely on the method you are employing and your skin type.
If you notice any redness or sensitivity afterwards then exfoliate only once a week. Those with oily skin may exfoliate twice a week because of the oil and grime that can get within the pores. However, gentle body brushing can be done by such people everyday
Because of the important part exfoliation plays in our skincare regimen it needs to be done on a regular basis…as permissible by our skin type. Whether it be done on the face or body, the result is the same…fresher, glowing, beautiful and younger looking skin.
It is worthy of note that exfoliation should not take the place of daily cleansing or the other steps in your skincare routine. In order to achieve your aim of a beautiful younger skin stick as much as possible to your routine.
So long, and should you have any questions or need assistance leave them in the comments section below and I will happily get back to you.