If you talk to anyone with an intense skin-care regimen, chances are, the topic of exfoliation will come up. For some people, this term brings to mind images of scrubbed off and peeled skin, but in reality, exfoliation is an important aspect of our everyday beauty routines – no matter what type of skin you have. Exfoliation is especially necessary in the fall and winter, when your skin becomes particularly dry. Now, to clear things up and offer you the truth about exfoliation, we have to go back to basics to guide you through one of life's most common (and important) beauty concerns.
Believe it or not, exfoliation is the best way to keep your skin looking bright, evenly toned, smooth and healthy. That's why Get The Look is offering you everything you need to know about it. From what to do, what not to do and what products to reach for!
EXFOLIATION: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process of gently refining the outermost layer of the epidermis. As skin cells rejuvenate – a process that typically takes a full 30 days for cells from the basal layer to surface – the dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin can sometimes linger, creating a dull complexion and preventing the penetration of skin-care products and water into the skin.
Exfoliation is really about helping to remove dead skin cells that are ready to slough off, but not over-do it, which can leave the skin exposed. The cell turnover process happens naturally, but as you get older, or depending on the time of year and climate you live in, the skin cells may or may not slough off as they're supposed to and they might need some help.
That's where exfoliation comes in. The goal is to even out the layer of cells, not remove or damage it. Some people prefer to use products with microbeads or nut shells to exfoliate.
What to do (and what not to do)
There are two different methods of exfoliation: physical (face brushes and scrubs fall into this category) and chemical (which relies on ingredients like glycolic, salicylic or lactic acid to dissolve the dead skin cells). It's important to take note of your skin type before incorporating an exfoliant into your skin-care routine. If you have sensitive skin, look for scrubs with ultra-fine particles, or products containing phytic acid, which is a milder alternative to glycolic and salicylic acids.
However, even if you don't have sensitive skin, make sure to limit exfoliation to a couple of days per week, and hold off if you have a sunburn or any active infections, like a breakout as this can lead to skin damage or over-exfoliation.
For a more intense at-home treatment, opt for face brushes or scrubs with sensitive brush heads that won't damage the skin. Most importantly, make sure to take care of your skin post-exfoliation by using a moisturizer and sunscreen (no matter what season it is), as some products can increase skin sensitivity to UV rays.
And there you have it, exfoliation explained!