Exfoliating. You’ve probably heard of it, but do you really know why it’s important and do you actually do it?
Exfoliation is the process in which we slough off the outer dead skin cells in order to encourage the growth of new skin cells. There are two kinds of exfoliation; mechanical and chemical.
A mechanical exfoliant relies on it’s texture to physically buff away the dead skin cells. Think of your scrubs or like brush, or microdermabrasion treatment.
A chemical exfoliant is one the breaks down the cells using enzymes or other ingredients simply by interacting once applied. There is no movement or pressure required to buff away like mechanical exfoliants. Simply applying them causes the break down of cells once the chemical reaction starts. These are your enzyme masks, your AHA’s, retinols, etc.
I am a big believer in chemical exfoliation at home! It is much too easy to go too far and be too abrasive with mechanical exfoliants. With chemical exfoliants you can simply apply them, and they do the work for you. You aren’t relying on how you massage them in or how much pressure you are using as you are with mechanical exfoliants. (Although you do have to be mindful of how long you leave them on, so be sure to read your instructions)
Another thing to remember with exfoliation is that just because it’s good for our skin doesn’t mean that more is always better. Exfoliating too often can create inflammation which will ultimately cause premature aging.
So now that we talked about what exfoliating is, let’s discuss why you need to be exfoliating.
Benefits of Exfoliating
- Increases product absorption; dead skin cells can block the important ingredients from being effective.
- Prevent breakouts; dead skin cells can block pores and aid in creating the perfect breeding ground for acne bacteria.
- Diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation by bringing the damaged cells to the surface.
- Stimulate collagen production and the thickening of your skin.
- Encourage hydration and moisture retention.
- Balance your oil production.
- Stimulate the growth of new cells aka your cell turnover rate.
- Allow for smoother makeup application because skin is better hydrated and more smooth.
Exfoliation should be a vital part of everyone’s skincare routine as it helps with a huge array of skincare issues. To work exfoliation into your routine, start slowly. 1-2 times a week should be enough at first. Then gradually build up to what is recommended on the product package.
When shopping for an exfoliant, my favorite ingredient to look for is Glycolic Acid. Glycolic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that breaks down the desmosomes or ‘glue’ that bind your dead skin cells together. If you want to learn more about it specifically, you can visit my blog.
My current favorite exfoliating products:
A final note: As you exfoliate away the dead skin cells, the fresher skin could be more sensitive to the sun. While you should always be wearing SPF daily, be sure to really make it a point when exfoliating!
My name is Andrea, the owner of Andrea Fontana Beauty (@andreafontanabeauty). I am a freelance makeup artist and beauty therapist. As a licensed esthetician with a B.S. in human biology, my goal is to teach women about all aspects of beauty and have their beauty routines blend seamlessly with the life they are already living. I believe the entire lifestyle we live contributes to our beauty. So while I love products, I talk about other things too; like cooking, nutrition, mental health, and more! I hope you can find something special to take away from Andrea Fontana Beauty to help you redefine your definition of what beauty means.