What Is Exfoliation?
Exfoliating the skin is the process of removing dead cells from the outer layer of your skin using an exfoliant, which could either be a chemical or physical exfoliant. There are a couple of ways to physically exfoliate. The first involves using a skin care tool, such as a sponge, towel or brush, on your skin to displace and remove dead skin cells. The other method involves using a liquid, gel or scrub with granules like microbeads or sugar to smooth and refine the skin. With chemical exfoliation, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) or enzymes are used to loosen the glue-like substance that holds dead skin cells together so they are easily removed.
Why You Should Exfoliate Your Skin
Your skin is constantly repairing and replacing itself. Because of this, you can be left with layers upon layers of dead skin all over your body. Exfoliating helps rid your body of these leftover dead skin cells, revealing healthier and brighter skin.
While brighter skin is certainly a perk, exfoliation can actually help improve the health of your skin as well. If your skin is riddled with dead cells, your skin care products may not be able to penetrate and do their work. By removing the top-most layer of skin, you’re making it easier for your topical treatments to sink deep below the surface where they could make a difference.
If you have acne-prone skin, exfoliation can help clear out clogged pores that often lead to breakouts. It can also help fade acne scars faster by accelerating skin cell turnover and stimulating collagen production.
How to Exfoliate Your Face
When using a physical exfoliant, start by washing your face with your regular cleanser. Then, take a quarter-size amount of your face scrub and apply it onto your face in circular motions, avoiding the eye area. Gently massage the product onto the skin for as long as your specific product recommends, usually from 30 seconds to a full minute. Then, rinse off with warm water and gently pat your skin with a clean towel. Follow with a hydrating mask, serum or cream.