Physical and Chemical Exfoliation
Every good skincare regime follows a basic rule of thumb: wash, exfoliate, moisturize. It’s a fail-safe basic to any daily practice but when using the wrong kind of product or substance, things can get bad quickly. Especially when it comes to exfoliation. We all want great skin without the hassle. So we’ve broken exfoliation down to help you make the best decisions for your skin.
How exfoliation happens
Did you know that every 4-6 weeks, your skin delivers a natural shed and replace process? Our bodies are amazingly self-sufficient and taking care of that process through good food, exercise and hydration should be your first priority to great skin. Through its natural process, the skin sheds off its outermost skin cells and reveals the healthier skin cells laying underneath. This process starts to happen less and less as we age and while it is great what it does, sometimes the discarded skin cells aren’t always ready to let go. Staying stuck, making the skin dull and preventing the good stuff in your moisturiser from getting to where it needs to go. This is why we use exfoliants as a gentle helping hand to get rid of these old cells. How you exfoliate entirely depends on your skin's needs, and you should take the time to consider what method or product is best for you.
Different ways to exfoliate
The most common exfoliation methods are manual exfoliation or chemical exfoliation.
To manually exfoliate means to use something abrasive such as grains or a brush to rub the skin and gently buff away the old unshed skin cells without using any chemicals. The harshness or effectiveness of an exfoliation product (or substance if you are using a DIY exfoliant) should take your skin's needs into consideration. Avoid exfoliating with anything that has large particles or a really rough feel to it. The aim is to gently support the skin and over-exfoliating or using a harsh substance can lead to micro-tears, leaving more work for your body to repair itself. Exfoliating manually reduces the amount of chemical exposure to your skin but doesn’t give it anything extra.
Chemical exfoliates are things like scrubs and peels that break the bonds within the skin cells so that the dead cells can be easily removed without having to scrub. The chemical exfoliant may go deeper than the manual method and typically use AHAs and BHAs as active ingredients. AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid and BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid. They both can decrease inflammation in cases of acne and rosacea, even out skin tone and give your skin an extra boost. In a lot of cases with generally healthy skin, chemical exfoliation might not even be required.
Best Exfoliation Method
Both methods have their place, and both are effective. The choice of exfoliation method is totally yours alone – every skin condition is different and you should take time to understand your skin's needs and decide accordingly. Good skincare starts on the inside and having a skin regime with supporting products packed full of things that feed your skin will help it to heal and rejuvenate naturally.