How To Exfoliate Your Skin To Look Flawless, Radiant and Glowing
Exfoliating is removing dead cells from the top layer of the skin by using a scrub, brush, or chemical products. Our bodies naturally shed dead skin cells, but sometimes they can build up, giving our skin a dull and dry appearance.
Exfoliating is important because you reveal fresh new skin underneath once you remove that layer of dead cells. This leads to a brighter complexion and softer skin. Exfoliating can also help treat acne because it removes dead skin that could clog pores and breakouts.
There are different methods and tools to exfoliate the skin. Facial scrubs and brushes are forms of mechanical or physical exfoliation. Acids and skin peels are forms of chemical exfoliation.
This exfoliation method involves manually buffing away dry, dead skin cells with a tool like a body brush or a rough washcloth or loofah. Physical exfoliants come in the form of scrubs or pads and contain small particles like sugar or sea salt to help buff away dead skin cells. When mechanically exfoliating, it’s important to be gentle on your skin. You can make small, circular motions using your finger to apply a scrub or use your exfoliating tool of choice. If you use a brush, make short, light strokes. Exfoliate for about 30 seconds and then rinse off with lukewarm — not hot — water. Avoid exfoliating if your skin has cuts, open wounds, or is sunburned. Apply a moisturizer with SPF after exfoliating.
- Exfoliating brush. This is usually a bristle brush that removes layers of dead skin cells. Some are designed for dry brushing. Others can be used with your facial cleanser or body wash.
- Exfoliation sponge. These are a gentler way to exfoliate the skin. In the shower, you can lather an exfoliating sponge with warm water, soap, or body wash.
- Change to a glove if you find brushes or sponges challenging to grip. Lather it with soap or body wash in the shower. They can be effective for large areas such as legs and arms.
- Exfoliating scrub. This can be applied directly to the skin using a gentle, circular motion. You can wash your skin with warm water after applying the scrub.
Chemical exfoliation involves using products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to dissolve dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. You can find these ingredients in cleansers, serums, lotions, and peels.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Examples include glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids. These work by breaking apart bonds holding dull and dead skin cells on your skin surface. This will cause your skin to shed dead particles.
- Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Examples of BHAs include beta-hydroxy and salicylic acid. These may be better for acne-prone skin.
Tips For Exfoliation According To Skin Type
- Dry skin
Exfoliation is vital for dry or flaky skin. Avoid mechanical exfoliation on dry skin because the process is drying, and it can lead to microtears. AHAs are effective for dry skin.
Glycolic acid will help remove dead cells sitting on the skin’s surface and encourage healthy skin turnover. Follow up with an SPF and moisturizer after using glycolic acid. It can make the skin more prone to sun damage.
- Sensitive skin
Avoid scrubbing or using mechanical methods of exfoliation. These will irritate your skin further and can lead to redness.
Use a mild chemical exfoliator and apply with a gentle washcloth. You can also try a salicylic acid peel at your dermatologist’s office for acne.
- Oily skin
Oily or thicker skin can benefit from manual exfoliation and brushing. Oily skin may have an extra layer of buildup on the surface that manual exfoliation can remove. Gently use an exfoliator or scrub in circular motions for best results.
- Normal skin
If your skin doesn’t have any complications, you can choose any method of exfoliation. Manual and chemical exfoliation is both safe for this skin type. You may need to experiment to find out which way works best for your skin.
- Combination skin
Combination skin may require a mix of mechanical and chemical exfoliation. Never use both on the same day as it can irritate the skin. If your skin feels dry after exfoliation, use a moisturizer immediately after.
Exfoliation by body part
Take care when exfoliating sensitive areas of the body, including the face. Exfoliating these areas can often lead to dryness, redness, and itchiness.
The type of exfoliant depends on your skin type. Apply gently to the skin with a finger to exfoliate your face mechanically with a scrub. Rub in small circular motions. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Apply with a cotton pad or washcloth for a chemical exfoliant that’s a liquid. Work with a dermatologist to determine which type of exfoliation is safe for your skin.
- Arms and legs
The easiest way to exfoliate your arms and legs is with a brush, sponge, or glove. This can help get rid of dead skin cells and stimulate circulation. Look for a body scrub at your local pharmacy or online and lather with it in the shower. You can also try dry brushing.
- Feet and hands
There are scrubs and peels available to exfoliate feet and hands. You can also use a pumice stone to exfoliate your feet.
- Pubic area
You can use a loofah or body brush to exfoliate your bikini line and pubic area. Always do this in a warm shower to soften skin first. Apply scrub gently and wash thoroughly afterward.
The benefits of exfoliation include:
- Removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores
- Improves circulation
- Encouraging skin turnover, resulting in brighter skin
- Allows for better absorption of moisturizers and serums
- Encouraging cellular turnover, which is responsible for healthy skin tone and texture
- Helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Help with treating acne
- Regulates your skin tone
- Reduces signs of aging
Regardless of your skin type, avoid exfoliators that contain irritating or coarse particles, injuring your skin. When it comes to exfoliation, not all products are created equal. Many scrubs that have exfoliants in them are too harsh for your skin.
Stay away from exfoliators that contain:
- Coarse salt
- Baking soda
Exfoliation is effective in removing dead skin from your face. This will leave you with smoother, softer skin. If you wear makeup, also notice that exfoliation helps it go on more evenly. Make sure you start slowly to determine which products and types of exfoliants your skin can handle, and always follow up with moisturizer and sunscreen.