The Ultimate Exfoliation Guide: Exfoliation Methods You Must Know
If there’s anything good that has come out of the pandemic, it’s the fact that we got enough time to spend with our family and more importantly, with ourselves. Even though balancing work-from-home and household chores wasn’t an easy task, the time spent at home made us realize the importance of self-love and self-care. From catching up on trends like delish Dalgona coffees and banana bread to indulging in long, relaxing baths, and applying homemade face masks, we did it all!
Now, even with things gradually going back to normal, many of us have stuck to our self-care routine owing to the positivity it brings to our lives. If you are one of those who think taking care of yourself and your skin is an instant mood lifter, then this read is perfect for you. We are here to dig deeper into one of the most essential steps in every skin care routine, exfoliation.
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells, blackheads, whiteheads and any dirt or grime left behind on your skin. Our skin sheds dead cells every day, however, some dead skin cells are left hanging back which block our pores and cause breakouts.
What are the benefits of exfoliation?
Exfoliation has several benefits for your skin, and it should be carried out consistently to ensure your skin remains healthy and glowing. It helps in-
- Removing dead skin cells
- Improving circulation
- Encouraging skin turnover, resulting in brighter skin
- Allowing better absorption of skincare products
Different types of exfoliation:
If you are exfoliating at home, then there are two methods of exfoliating your skin: Chemical & Mechanical.
- Chemical exfoliation: This involves the use of chemicals to dissolve and remove dead skin cells. It is best to consult a dermatologist before you consider hopping on this method of exfoliation.
- Mechanical exfoliation: The use of an exfoliator and a shower gel to gently remove dead skin cells is called mechanical exfoliation. This involves using sponges, loofahs, facial brushes, or washcloths.
- Dry brushing: This method of exfoliation should be carried out before your shower, on perfectly dry skin.
Depending on what you are comfortable with, you can carry out any one of the methods of exfoliation at home.
How to exfoliate?
Step 1: Gently cleanse your skin with a moisturizing body wash, such as Yardley London English Rose Shower Crème. It is infused with rose essence, nourishing shea butter and the goodness of activated floral cells. A gentle body wash like this will ensure your skin is prepped and ready for exfoliation.
Step 2: Using a loofah, gently scrub your skin in circular motions. Continue massaging your skin for the next few minutes. This will not only help remove dead skin cells but also help improve circulation in your body. Not sure which loofah to pick? Check out: Everything You Need To Know About Loofahs to make the right choice.
Step 3: Rinse off the scrub with lukewarm water. Don’t use very hot water as that will damage your skin and wash away its natural oils.
Step 4: Pat dry and apply a hydrating moisturizer all over your body. This is one of the most important steps as without a moisturizer your skin will be left feeling rough and dry. A good moisturizer will lock the hydration right in.
Step 5: After moisturization, the most important step is to protect your skin from sun damage. Apply enough SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. If you opt for chemical exfoliation, your skin’s upper layer gets peeled off post-exfoliation, so it is easier for the sun’s rays to penetrate through. This is the reason why you can’t miss out on the sunblock.
Step 6: Enjoy your smooth, soft, and healthy skin!
Exfoliation by Dry Brushing:
An age-old beauty ritual, dry brushing is another excellent way of exfoliating your skin. While many Hollywood celebrities swear by the dry brushing regimen, it is best to first understand how it really works.
What is dry brushing?
It is pretty much what it sounds like. You get your hands on a body brush (make sure to use one with firm, natural bristles) and gently massage your skin in the upward direction. This helps exfoliate your skin and allow other skincare products to do their magic as the brushing will get rid of dead skin cells. As the name suggests, your skin and the brush, both must be completely dry, this method doesn’t work on wet skin.
Benefits of dry brushing:
- Boosts circulation: Your skin may turn red after this process. This happens because your body starts circulating more blood to these areas.
- Exfoliates your skin: The primary idea of carrying this out is to exfoliate your skin. The benefits of dry brushing include removal of dead skin cells, increased cell turnover and radiant skin.
- Aids with lymphatic drainage: Dry brushing speeds up the rate of blood pumping, which helps get the lymph through the body, thereby removing toxins and pathogens more quickly.
- Plumps the skin: People who have tried this method say that the appearance of cellulite and sun damage is reduced after dry brushing owing to the temporary plumping effect on the skin.
How to carry out dry brushing?
- It is best carried out before having a shower.
- Start from your ankles and brush upwards in long, circular motions.
- Apply slightly firm pressure, while being gentle on your skin.
- Make sure your body and the brush are completely dry before starting.
- Move in the direction towards your heart.
- After you finish having a shower, slather some moisturizer just so your skin is not left feeling dry and dehydrated.
It is best to dry brush just once or twice a week for optimum results, and always make sure to wash your brush with baby shampoo at least twice a month to remove all the dead skin build-up from its bristles.
How often should you exfoliate?
Even though exfoliation is great for your skin, you cannot carry it out every day as that will steal your skin’s natural oils and deprive your skin of essential moisture. The number of times you can exfoliate in a week depends on your skin type. Ideally, you should limit it to once-twice a week.
Once you understand your skin type and its needs, you can exfoliate your skin with the right products.
Exfoliation for different skin types:
Exfoliation is dependent on your skin type. Here’s a little something you should know about your skin before you join the exfoliation bandwagon:
Dry Skin: Exfoliation is important for dry skin, however, avoid mechanical exfoliation. Use chemical exfoliants like Glycolic acid that will help remove dead skin cells and help the regeneration of new cells. Make sure you moisturize after exfoliation and use an SPF for protection from the sun.
Oily Skin: Oily skin can benefit from mechanical exfoliation as it often has oily layers built over it. A scrub can help remove the layer of dead skin cells and grime that tend to stick to oily skin. Gently scrub your skin with a gentle exfoliator to get the desired results.
Combination Skin: Combination skin may require a mix of chemical and mechanical exfoliation. However, never use both methods on the same day. If your skin feels dry after exfoliation, immediately apply a moisturizer.
Normal Skin: If your skin has no complications, you can use any of the two methods. Try both the methods and see which one works best for you.
Sensitive Skin: Definitely avoid using a mechanical exfoliator as that will further complicate your issues and your skin may not react well. Instead, use a mild chemical exfoliator and apply it with a gentle washcloth.
Tips to keep in mind
- Understand your skin type and pick the technique that best suits your skin.
- Over exfoliation can weaken the skin’s barrier further causing redness, inflammation and even acne. So, don’t go overboard.
- Do not exfoliate skin that is sunburned or has open cuts or wounds as this may irritate the skin further.
- If you are using a scrub or washcloth for exfoliation, make sure you clean it regularly as these tools can harbour bacteria which can cause breakouts in the skin.
- Avoid using any harsh skincare products after exfoliation as that may cause inflammation or redness. Use a gentle face oil or even a baby’s oil to let your skin heal after exfoliation.
Exfoliation is a great way to take care of your skin and to ensure your skin remains healthy and glowing. If you have never exfoliated before, it is best you consult an expert before you use chemical exfoliants. With the removal of dead skin cells, your skin looks way younger, more radiant, and happier. So, if you miss out on exfoliation as part of your skincare routine, you will feel your skin looks dull and lifeless. This is because your skin is in need of a gentle scrub.
Want to learn more about exfoliation? Check out Everything You Need To Know About Loofahs