Figuring out the dos and don’ts of skincare can be a real nightmare. Exfoliation, in particular, can be a real skincare minefield and for some, it seems like there are more questions than answers when it comes to this hot skincare topic. As it turns, there are two kinds of people in the world – those who over exfoliate and those who don’t exfoliate at all or nearly enough. But how do you know which category you fall into? We wade through the confusion with Stephanie-Anne Dickenson, Optiphi training specialist, for a clearer look at exfoliation.
“Some people over exfoliate skin to such an extent that more oil and sensitivity is created as a protective mechanism,” explains Dickenson. “On the other hand, some people forget this crucial step in their skincare regime altogether, leaving a dull lacklustre skin as a result of a build-up of dead cells.”
Why should we exfoliate?
Dickenson explains that if done correctly, incorporating exfoliation into your skincare routine will result in a more radiant, youthful and revitalised skin. Effective exfoliation assists with faster and more efficient cellular turnover of the skin which is especially important as you age. The rate of cell turnover slows down dramatically as you age – dead cells hang around much longer on the skin’s surface, accentuating fine lines and making your complexion look dull and lifeless.
“With exfoliation, the blood circulation is stimulated and accelerated and the formation of expression lines will be prevented. Exfoliation is vitally important for your overall ‘glow’ and ensuring the effective penetration of active ingredients,” says Dickenson.
How often should you exfoliate?
Figuring out how often you should exfoliate all comes down to your skin type. “Oily, congested skins can withstand a little more frequent treatment and should be exfoliated at least 2-3 times a week to prevent clogging of the pores due to the oil-dead cell build-up,” says Dickenson. “Mature and drier skins are more prone to sensitivity and dehydration so less is more – those with dry or mature skin should exfoliate at least once or twice a week, depending on the sensitivity of the skin.”
What should you exfoliate with?
If you’re looking for an affordable solution to exfoliation, skip the expensive products and try incorporating a budget-friendly gentle exfoliating cloth into your skincare routine. Light circular movements on the skin should do the trick with this type of exfoliation – avoid the need to really ‘scrub’ the skin as this will either cause sensitivity or excessive production of oil.
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If you’re looking for something with a little more exfoliating strength, try a chemical exfoliator. Safe to use on all skin types, a chemical exfoliator contains an array of Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids that work to reveal a beautiful, regenerated skin underneath the surface.
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What products should you avoid?
“Try to avoid using granular exfoliators”, says Dickenson. “Remember, the microbeads are made of plastic! One tube of exfoliator can contain up to a million plastic microbeads.” While they’re bad for the environment, these microbeads can also cause tiny rips in the skin, thereby weakening your skin’s protective barrier. These rips can let in bacteria and pollutants, which can contribute to ageing and spots and much bigger skin problems in the future.
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