You already know that if you want to have clear, glowy skin, you gotta put in work to get it there. A good skincare routine is a must and one of those steps usually includes exfoliating. But should you really be exfoliating or should you do like TLC and say no to scrubs? Well the answer is yes to both. Before you keep exfoliating, let's get the 411.
Don't worry, your favorite skincare gurus haven't been lying to you about the benefits of exfoliating. It can definitely be good for your skin. Exfoliating works to remove not only dead skin cells but also sweat, oils, dirt, and other pollution which can help to improve the condition of your skin. Removing all that nasty stuff will help prevent clogged pores meaning less breakouts. It can also help post breakout by working to remove the damaged cells and encourage new healthy skin tissue to grow. Exfoliating not only your face but also the rest of your body can also increase blood circulation and stimulate your lymphatic system which will encourage new skin cells and help break down and drain toxins from the body.
So you're aware of all the benefits that come from exfoliating but what's all this about it being bad? Well, exfoliation can actually cause more harm than good if you don't do it right. When you exfoliate too often and/or use an exfoliant that's too harsh, you can actually end up harming your skin and possibly worsening whatever issues you're trying to address. One problem you might make worse? Oily skin. Exfoliating removes oil from your face but when you remove too much of the necessary oils, it can cause an adverse effect. Your skin will feel the depletion of oils and end up making even more oil to try to compensate. Womp. And on the other end of the spectrum, dry skin can just get drier and even get irritated and flake. And exfoliating any skin type too harshly can even cause micro tears in the skin.
No need to give it up though. You just need to stick to a good schedule. Generally, experts recommend exfoliating 2 or 3 times a week at most. Your skin type might vary so you might only be able to do it once a week or even less often if it's hypersensitive but no skin type should exfoliate on a daily basis.
When you do exfoliate, you also want to pay attention to how harsh the exfoliant is. There's two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants are all the products what literally scrub the gunk off your face. This includes facial scrubs, cleansing brushes and sponges, towels, wipes, scalpels, microdermabrasion, etc. Physical exfoliants are usually harsher than chemical ones so you need to be careful when using them. Make sure that the exfoliants aren't too large or jagged since that's definitely the type to cause micro tearing. Scrubs with small grains, brushes with soft bristles, those are the types you should look to use.
Then there are chemical exfoliants which chemically dissolve dead skin cells. It sounds crazy but we promise it's not and even if you don't know it, there's a good chance you're already used a chemical exfoliant before. Chemical exfoliants fall under one of two categories: AHAs or BHAs. AHAs (or alpha hydroxy acids) include glycolic acids and lactic acids. BHAs (or betahydroxy acid) is also commonly known as salicylic acid. The main difference between the two types is how deeply they penetrate your skin. AHAs are water-soluble and only work on the skin's surface while BHAs are oil-soluble and are able to penetrate the surface to work inside the pore. Because the acids work in different ways, you can use them at the same time although some people find that combining them can be too much for their skin. No worries because using them separately works just as great. Just note that chemical exfoliants do work more slowly than physical ones so results won't be instantaneous. You'll need to use it on a regular basis to see that beautiful skin!
No matter what type of exfoliant you use, there's one last thing you need to remember to do and that's moisturize! Because you're removing dead skin cells and exposing new skin to the elements, you always want to make sure to hydrate and protect it. We recommend applying your serums and/or moisturizers soon after you exfoliate to make sure it doesn't dry out.
And that's the lowdown on exfoliating! If you want to know other ways you could be irritating your skin and making your acne worse, check out this blog.