What Is Exfoliation?
Republished with permission from The Green Beauty Collective an Evio Community Partner
We love asking our clients if they exfoliate, mostly because we typically get the most confused looks from them. Many are quick to answer that they can barely wash their face and take off their makeup before rolling into bed at the end of the day.
Today we are going to explore the mysterious world of exfoliation and find out who it's for and if it is really all that necessary.
What is exfoliating?
Exfoliating is the process of using a chemical, or manual product to loosen and remove dead skin leaving the surface soft, smooth and perfect for makeup application.There are 2 different forms of exfoliation...being manual, or physical.
Manual exfoliation this is typically a gritty scrub or textured cloth or sponge to slough off dead, dry skin. A commonly used manual exfoliant would include ingredients such as almond meal, corn meal, ground oats.
Keep in mind, if your product says “microbeads” stay far away. Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic that enter our water systems and are never broken down. It is also important to avoid any type of hard shell such as “apricot scrub” as the rough edges scratch the skin, causing inflammation and redness.
Chemical exfoliation involves using a chemical AHA or BHA to release the dead skin. Chemical exfoliators can be used more often depending on the percentage of BHA or AHA.
AHA is a glycolic acid or lactic acid. AHAs are tiny molecules that penetrate the upper layer of your skin and help dislodge and dissolve dead skin cells.
BHA is a salicylic acid. BHA’s do the same thing, but it can also penetrate into your pores themselves (AHAs can’t do this). This means BHA treatments are often good for people with oily or breakout prone skin, as these are often symptoms of clogged pores.
So which type of exfoliation is better?
Well, this is totally up to a) the results you want for a certain skin issue b) how clean you want a product to be.
Technically speaking, BHA’s and AHA’s are synthetic chemicals made in a lab and can have irritating qualities to them, however, they are extremely effective especially for acne-prone skin and aging skin because they penetrate deeper into the skin’s surface and work on a deeper level.
We are huge fans of the Okoko Skin Brightening L'ÉLIXIR DE CLARTÉ with 5% alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), naturally sourced from blueberries, sugar cane, and citrus. This is a clean AHA product.
If you are more of a purist, you will be satisfied with a manual exfoliator such as the Viva Amaze Gel, Wild Hill Nootka Rose Cleansing Clay, or Wyld Konjac Sponges.
Who is exfoliation for?
We are believers that everyone should be exfoliating once a week, especially if your skin is maturing. As we age, our skin cell turnover process slows down, and we need a little bit of help. For this reason, we recommend those with dry and mature skin to ensure exfoliation is apart of their weekly skincare routine.
Anyone who wears makeup will notice that their face makeup sits much better after they have exfoliated their skin. It creates a smooth and beautiful base for any foundation or tinted moisturizer. Exfoliating also helps your skincare products to work to their highest potential by allowing them to dive deeper into the skin, rather than into the dead cells sitting on top of the skin.
How often should I exfoliate?
We recommend exfoliation 1-2x week. If you are just starting out with exfoliation and your skin is quite dry, try out 2-3x a week, and slow down to 1-2x a week once your skin has sloughed the skin and softened.