Photo credit: Victor Demarchelier

6 incredible things you didn’t know about exfoliation. And how it will change your skin.

Don’t be a flake. Exfoliate!

I love a good scrub. Come on, who doesn’t? It’s as if I’m buffing my skin. Polishing it. Removing all the icky, flaky stuff and allowing my skin to literally breathe. And I’m addicted to that afterglow. What’s there not to love?

Exfoliation is a really important step in keeping your skin healthy and translucent. You just have to be gentle and NOT overdo it and you are almost guaranteed to see a marked improvement in your skin.

6 reasons why you should exfoliate.

1. Your skin becomes smoother and brighter.

Photo credit: Anairam

What you are actually doing is removing the dead cells that form on top of your skin that are responsible for making it look dull, uneven and rough. Which is why when you exfoliate, your skin instantly looks brighter, feels smoother and the overall texture is improved.

2. You’re unclogging your pores.

Photo credit: Frederic Farre

When you exfoliate, you’re literally deep cleaning your skin. So you not only remove the dead skin, but also dirt, grime and oil that clog the pores and cause those annoying blackheads.

3. You’re slowing down the aging process.

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When you’re young, your skin renews itself every 28 days (something like a snake shedding its skin…creepy!) When this happens, newer skin cells come to the surface and therefore, young skin appears smooth and radiant.

As you get older, this shedding process slows down. So there are more dead cells accumulating on the top. This is why mature skin is dry, uneven, rough and lack lustre.

When you exfoliate, you are literally tricking your skin into acting young again. You remove the dead skin cells that your body is no longer shedding on its own to reveal the newer, healthy cells.
The end result: Smooth, radiant, youthful looking skin.

4. Your dark spots fade. Your skin tone is more even.

Photo credit: Anairam

Exfoliation speedens up the fading of acne scars, spots and other discolourations. That’s because it breaks up the pigmentation and discards the damaged pigmented cells. So over time, your spots disappear and your skin is more even toned.

5. Your blood circulation is boosted.

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The scrubbing action stimulates blood flow in the skin. This means, your skin gets more oxygen and nutrients.

6. Your skin care products are better absorbed.

Photo credit: Pawel Pysz

When you slough off the dead skin cells, the products you use are absorbed far better by the skin and are therefore a lot more effective.

Reasons enough to rush to bathroom and shed some dead skin. Eeeeek!

2 ways to exfoliate.

Most of us think that exfoliation can only be done by physically rubbing a scrub on our skin. Well that is not the only way. There are actually 2 ways to exfoliate and when you combine the two, you will get the best results.

1. Physical exfoliation.

Photo credit: Robin Derrick

Physical exfoliants (scrubs) remove dead cells by physically rubbing skin with grains, seeds, beads, sugar, salt, oatmeal, washcloth, sponge or brush.

Newer, brighter skin is revealed when you wash away the product. Remember to not get carried away – always be gentle!

Tip 1: Use a facial brush (like the Clarisonic) to cleanse your skin every night. That way you remove every trace of oil, dirt and make-up, while also exfoliating and massaging the skin – all in one step.

Tip 2: Try an at-home-microdermabrasion thrice a week. The microbeads slough off the top layer of your skin to reveal the healthy layer beneath. Just don’t forget to slather on a serum and moisturizer immediately after to protect the new skin.

Tip 3: If your skin is sensitive, use a washcloth along with a mild facewash to gently remove dead skin cells. And stay away from scrubs and microdermabrasion, which can really irritate your skin. 

2. Chemical exfoliation.

Photo credit: Frederic Farre

You hear the word “chemical” and immediately you think it’s bad, it’s harsh, it’s even dangerous. Well, surprisingly not in this case.

Chemical exfoliators actually do good for your skin. They remove dead skin cells by dissolving the “glue” that binds them to other cells.

You’re probably already using some without even knowing.
Most products like cleansers, toners, serums and even moisturizers/night creams contain these.
Read the back of pack. If you see fruit enzymes, alpha and beta hydroxy acids, retinoids or retinol, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide – you’re already using a chemical exfoliant.

Chemical exfoliants simply break the bonds between the skin cells, loosening up the dead skin, so that it can be easily whisked away. This leaves you with newer, younger, fresher skin.
Ta-da! It couldn’t get any easier 🙂