Exfoliate your skin with expert skincare tips and products
By: Carla Snuggs
With winter’s severe weather, it’s important to exfoliate and nourish your skin. As the weather gets colder, skin tends to become dull. Exfoliation is an important step to keeping the skin on the face and body healthy and glowing. Plus, it’s important to continue exfoliating as we enter spring and summer months when we show the most skin.
“The key to proper exfoliation is two-fold: make sure the products you are using are gentle and let them do the work. Many people scrub their faces and bodies with too much force, which can actually damage the skin, cause inflammation and even lead to skin discoloration,” says Jennifer Linder, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and Chief Scientist for PCA Skin.
The skin on the body is thicker, so products designed to exfoliate the body can be a bit more active. When exfoliating the face, make sure you are using products formulated specifically for facial skin, explains Dr. Linder.
Two Ways to Exfoliate
There are two types of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation involves using abrasives to remove the dead surface cells to reveal the healthy cells below.
Mechanical Exfoliation: “Choose products that contain micro-fine particles or round beads, especially for the face. Products containing nut pits and other aggressive substances can damage skin and cause irritation. Even when using the more gentle products, use slow, circular motions, not harsh scrubbing. Well-formulated exfoliation products will do most of the work for you. When exfoliating the body, sugar scrubs can also be used, but still with gentle circular motions,” says Dr. Linder.
Chemical exfoliation: Mechanical Exfoliation can be a professionally applied chemical peel or enzyme mask. It is best to use alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) toners and clay masks when performing these treatments at home. Keep reading to learn more about chemical exfoliation.
Here are some of Posh Beauty Blog’s favorite exfoliating products at all price points:
One) ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub: This exfoliating scrub uses smooth, round beads and alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs). It gently removes dead skin cells and unclogs pores without causing irritation ($49, Skinstore.com).
Two) First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Polish: A gentle daily exfoliating and brightening polish that uses natural exfoliants to leave skin with a luminous glow. It’s free of Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates ($24, Sephora.com).
Three) Clarisonic Mia 2 Sonic Skin Cleansing Brush: Exfoliate using the Deep Pore Brush Head, Deep Pore Daily Cleanser and Detoxifying Clay Mask. It’s actually very gentle, it leaves skin glowing, and in clinical studies, 93% of users saw increased skin clarity within 3 days. Love the Mia 2 in bright colors like Passion Fruit and Pacific Sunset ($169, Clarisonic.com).
Four) Pida Exfoliating Gel: A luxurious exfoliating gel for face and body with Vitamin C, aloe extract and orange oil for soft, silky smooth skin ($54, BeautyArmy.com, launching online at Urban Outfitters).
Five) Isola Jamaican Coffee and Scrub: When it comes to body scrubs this, it doesn’t get better than Isola’s Jamaican Coffee and Sugar Scrub in Vanilla Latte. It gently exfoliates skin using coffee, sugar and sea salt. It’s also mad e with 100% natural ingredients and is free of Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes, Petrochemicals and GMOs ($30, Isolabody.com).
Six) Amarte Daily ExfoliPowder: This is a 2-in-1 Wonder Wash that uses refined, plant seed-based exfoliants to remove dry dull skin and gently cleanse. Shake the powder onto hands and rub to activate the creamy cleanser ($35, Amarteskincare.com).
Seven) The Body Shop Tea Tree Squeaky Clean Scrub: This affordable scrub has micro-fine exfoliants and bursting beads to help unclog pores without over-drying your face ($14, Bodyshop.com).
Tips for Chemical Exfoliation
Dr. Coyle S. Connolly, Board certified dermatologist and President of Connolly Dermatology, provides the following expert tips for chemical exfoliation.
1. Use either alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic) or beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) containing cleansers (applied in the shower, left on for 30 seconds and rinsed) and moisturizers to remove dead skin and smooth the skin’s surface, which are applied after towel drying.
2. Use a Luffa sponge or mitt for shower exfoliation prior to acid wash application.
3. Think slow and steady when introducing any exfoliating product. It is best to start every other night for 2 weeks and if no reddness or irritation occurs, progress to every night. Some skin types may tolerate once daily and others once every few days.
4. The strength of cleansers and creams and lotions may be increased as tolerated over several weeks to reduce potential for redness and irritation.
5. For glycolic category, Dr. Connolly likes Vivite (Allergan) Daily Facial Cleanser or Vivite Cleansing gel for Oily Skin. If a stronger strength glycolic is needed then Vivite daily firming lotion is a good choice. Under beta hydroxy (salicylic acid category) Neutrogena oil free acne wash or DDF blemish foaming cleanser are good choices . Finally, Neutrogena pore-refining cleanser combines alpha and beta hydroxy acids which leave the skin smooth and help unblock pores.
6. In general terms, the salicylic acid products are best for oily or acne prone skin and glycolics for other skin types. In any case, sun protection is key as both ingredients make the skin more susceptible to sunburns due to their keratolytic and exfoliating abilities.
What’s your favorite way to exfoliate? Leaven your comments below!