What is exfoliating?
Exfoliating is when you remove the dead skin cells on the surface of your face and/or body. There are different methods to do this. You can either use a mechanical method or a chemical method.
Example of chemical exfoliating acids are AHA:s, BHA:s or PHA:s. Today these acids are incorporated in a lot of products not only a specific exfoliating product but you can find them in cleansers, toners, serums and creams as well.
These methods often includes some sort of tool. Like a brush, konjac sponge, oscillating tool, or a product that contains exfoliating particles like a sugar scrub.
Which method is best?
This is absolutely an individual choice and you can absolutely use both, just not at the same time. I often use a little harsher scrub, like a sugar scrub or the use of a facial scrub mitten once a week (not the once used for the body though. They are way to harsh. Then I use a chemical exfoliating product. Like a peeling gel in between. Or a AHA or BHA product. This depends on my skin at the moment. If you are new to exfoliating products it is really important that you DON’T follow all the tips you see on social media where people simply overdo it.
Since there are exfoliating ingredients in a lot of different products like toners and cleansers this might simply be enough for some people. And you really need to see what your skin needs and not follow other peoples product lists. When seeing people using first an exfoliating cleanser together with an exfoliating tool, followed by an exfoliating toner or an exfoliating peeling pad really isn’t a great idea. Once and a while it might work ok on your skin. But doing this every day is just too much. If this method works for you then it is fine. But this should not be the main goal of how to exfoliate. Let your skin tell you and start small.
Directly after exfoliating (especially if using a mechanical method) your skin is sensitive and should be threatened as such.
How often shall one exfoliate?
This is a really hard question to answer but if you look at my skin type as an example. I have super dry skin and if I don’t exfoliate my skin will look really bad, with dry patches on my skin. The problems I have is that if I don’t exfoliate my skin looks bad and the products I put onto my skin doesn’t penetrate at all. And I really could not be wearing any foundation or BB cream on top.
So, exfoliating is really important if you have dry skin. A lot of people tend to forget this part of skincare and I talked to a lot of people who thinks that exfoliating is bad for your skin, specially if you have dry skin. But this isn’t true. Of course one need to be careful when using exfoliating products so you don’t overdo it. By exfoliating too much your skin gets damaged instead and that is not good either.
As a guideline I usually say to exfoliate once a week (with a mechanical type of product). If you only use chemical exfoliating products like Cosrx AHA or BHA toner you might be fine using it every day. Look at your skin and notice how it feels. Because it is only you than can say what is best for your skin.
When not to exfoliate?
There is a time when you should be careful using exfoliating products and that is for example when you have a lot of acne or are larger breakout. I should not use any mechanical exfoliating products at this time at all. Instead you could go for a really mild exfoliating toner and see how your skin answers to that. The same goes for areas of redness or itchiness. If you have eczema or any part of your face that itches as well. You shouldn’t use any exfoliating products after doing any type of skincare treatment as well. Just let your skin rest. If you start over exfoliating you will have different types of problems.
How to know if I have over exfoliated?
If your skin is starting to get red and sensitive. If you are getting acne breakouts or if you skin starts feeling dry and itchy. You can even get patches of skin that looks dry (because they are damaged) and you then feel the need to exfoliate to get rid of those patches and then you are in a bad circle of over exfoliating your skin.
What to do if you think you have over exfoliated?
Just stop exfoliating for a month and let your skin rest. Then start up again very gentle and use only one product. Make sure to choice a product that is suited for your skin type.
Exfoliating is a really powerful tool and can make a huge different on your skin. But you need to find a balance that works for you and your skin and not follow all the tips that is out there. Over exfoliating is not a fun experience for your skin so you should never overdo it. Just be gentle and look how you skin answers and you will find a great balance that works for you.
Reviews of some exfoliating products
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