The other night I went for dinner with a friend that just recently started exfoliating her skin daily. Her skin is now glowing and in a very happy place from the look of it. The question then arises, how often should you really exfoliate? There really is no consensus about this in the derm community, and everywhere you turn there's a different answer. Today I'll give you mine, based on personal experience both with my own skin, and form seeing patients in the clinic.
I'm a strong believer in adapting your skincare routine and products to skin type and need. It's also important to remember that skin type and need is constantly changing, and products that once were perfect, might suddenly cause more harm than good.
When it comes to exfoliation there's a few methods you could go about it.
1. Physical exfoliation: This includes "scrubs" containing either beads, sugar, salt or parts of nut shells etc. that slough off dead skin cells mechanically. A wash cloth could serve the same cause. These can be very abrasive when used with a rough hand. I recommend those of you that suffer from blackheads to use a physical exfoliator only on areas where you need it, like on and around the nose. This step will remove dirt and blockage from the superficial part of the blackhead. Check out my review of Vichy's 3 in one scrub and facial wash here.
2. Chemical exfoliation: This is my favourite way to exfoliate, and in my opinion mild chemical exfoliation SHOULD be done regularly, even daily, depending on skin type. The most common forms of chemical exfoliators are acids, AHA's og BHA's, glycolic acid and Salicylic acid are the most known acids of each class. Glycolic acid stimulates collagen formation and gives a glow to the skin, while Salicylic acid is an antibacterial and anti-acne ingredient, perfect for teenage skin. I recommend using acids in your facial wash, or even better - toner for daytime. For night, switch to a gentle cleansing product, and use a Retinol product especially for 30+ individuals, 20-30+ individuals would do good with a glycolic acid product. Check out my post on pregnancy skincare for exfoliation during pregnancy.
Medical peels use other types of chemicals like TCA og phenol to remove the top layer of skin, and so remove more than just dead skin cells. These treatments will tighten skin, increase cell turnover and remove wrinkles, pigmentation spots as well as unevenness. Feel free to book an appointment with me at the BeWell clinic to see if you're a candidate.
3. Enzyme exfoliation: This is the most gentle way to exfoliate, and has to be done every day to really show results. It uses enzymes from fruits and plants to help increase breakage of skin cell bonds, so that the natural shedding process is increased. Common enzymes used is papain, bromelain and protease enzymes. I recommend using these products in combination with a washcloth to help the shedding process further.
How do you prefer to exfoliate? Any good products to recommend?