If you think you’ve got your skincare routine down pat with your trusty cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen (when you remember to use it), think again. ‘Coz if smooth, soft, younger-looking skin is what you’re dreaming of, you’re not going to get it unless you add some exfoliation into the mix. But it’s always made my skin red and irritated, you exclaim. Not if you’re doing it correctly, we say.
We know, we know, it’s not as easy as we’re making it out to be. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about exfoliating.
Before you go all out spending every penny stocking up on scrubs, it’s important to know what exactly exfoliation is and why it’s so necessary. Basically, it’s the process of removing dead skin cells which, as they accumulate, interfere with the light reflecting off your skin, making it look dull and lacklustre. And that’s why scrubbing those dead cells makes you look more radiant and glowing. Exfoliation oxygenates your skin, softening it and stimulating the regeneration of cells all the while prepping your skin for maximum effectiveness of your moisturizer. Wait, there’s more. Exfoliating before and after hair removal helps keep that dastardly ingrown hair at bay by helping your hair grow outwards instead of curling under your skin.
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Exfoliator Versus Scrub
There are two kinds of exfoliators – physical (a.k.a. mechanical) and chemical. Physical exfoliators are scrubs which use their abrasive particles (sugar, salts, etc) to create friction and exfoliate your skin. Chemical exfoliators are peels which use active ingredients like enzymes and fruit extracts to dissolve dead skin cells giving way to smoother, brighter skin.
Fact And Fiction
Fiction #1: You can use the same exfoliant on your face and your body.
Fact #1: Absolutely not! The skin on your face is thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of your body. It needs a more finely ground scrub or a milder peel for exfoliation to be effective without damaging skin or causing redness and irritation.
Fiction #2: You can’t exfoliate if you have sensitive skin.
Fact #2: While you do need to be more careful when you have sensitive skin, as long as you’re using a gentle exfoliant made specifically for your skin type, you have nothing to worry about.
Fiction #3: You can use a scrub every day.
Fact #3: Anything in excess is harmful and exfoliating more than a couple of times a week is definitely excessive. It can hamper the protective layer of your epidermis causing redness, inflammation and acne outbreaks.
Fiction #4: You need to exfoliate only during the winter.
Fact #4: Unless dead cells, pollution and impurities are present only during the winter season, this couldn’t be a bigger myth. The key to soft, luminous skin is exfoliation twice a week all year round.
The Best Exfoliators For You
Don’t break the bank just yet. You still need to know which the perfect exfoliators are for your skin type. You’re in luck. We’ve laid down our top picks for you based on your skin type.