Exfoliation is an essential aspect of any healthy skincare regimen. As we age, our skin’s ability to naturally shed excess dead skin cells slows. This can lead to dull skin, clogged pores, and acne. Removing this layer of debris and dead skin cells can help to reveal brighter, softer, clearer skin. Additionally, regular exfoliation stimulates the epidermis, signaling it to create new skin cells, which increases collagen production and reduces signs of hyperpigmentation.
The amount of exfoliation necessary varies by skin type. Too much exfoliation can lead to redness, sensitivity, and dry skin; too little exfoliation won’t offer any benefits. Typically, we are told to exfoliate two to three times per week, but I don’t like rigid rules when it comes to skincare. I encourage you to experiment to determine the amount of exfoliation that is right for you. If you have skin that is prone towards acne and clogged pores, daily exfoliation may work wonders. If you have incredibly sensitive skin, you may find that exfoliating once a week or even once every two weeks is perfect for you. Establish a beauty ritual that works for you.
Mechanical exfoliants are typically found in powdered form, although they can be premixed. What I love about powder is that it maintains the integrity of the ingredients and it can be mixed with a variety of mediums, including water, honey, yogurt, or fruit purees, like strawberry and pineapple. Honey is wonderful for acne, and both yogurt and fruit contain acids that contribute to the exfoliation process. Strawberry is particularly beneficial as it helps to lighten old acne scars.
Chemical exfoliants are not as scary as they sound. This is simply a method of exfoliation that relies on hydroxy acids, retinol, or enzymes to break the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. A gentle chemical exfoliant is perfect for inflamed, acne-prone skin types seeking to avoid potentially irritating grains, clays, and spices found in many mechanical exfoliants. As an added bonus, chemical exfoliants help to fade any lingering post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (aka those pesky red or brown marks left behind after a spot has healed).