What exactly does an exfoliant do?
Exfoliation removes the outer layers of damaged, dead skin, revealing smooth, refined and brighter skin. The skin is pre-programmed to continuously shed and renew itself, however, this process can be easily slowed down by many factors including age, stress, the environment, dehydration and a lack of sleep. Exfoliation keeps the accelerator on the skin’s renewal process, so that we can live in our healthiest skin.
The main exfoliating groups in skincare are:
- Physical: The skin is exfoliated by means of manual friction. Think of your granular scrubs, facial brushes and mitts.
- Chemical: Actives such as Hydroxy Acids, Enzymes and Retinol (Vitamin A) exfoliate by means of digesting and/or loosening dead skin. They are more powerful than physical exfoliants as they can go below the skin’s surface.
- Acid-free smoothing agents: These are state-of-the-art ingredients that promote natural exfoliation without any friction or irritation. Some examples of these ingredients are Yeast, Glycosamine and Urea.
Life without exfoliation
If you’ve gone from using an exfoliator regularly to stopping for even a few days, the first things you will notice is a build-up in the pores and your skin’s texture becoming ‘bumpy’. This is because exfoliation removes built up dirt and grime on the surface and within the pores, depending on the type of exfoliant used.
By not exfoliating, you’re more likely to battle with breakouts and blackheads, have more fine lines and a dull appearance. The texture of the skin may feel rough with flaky patches, causing your foundation to look cakey.
Exfoliation makes for happy, healthy skin
Exfoliation is a key step for every skincare user and can help treat almost any skin challenge. It helps your skin to remain soft and smooth and keeps the surface free of congestion, helping to prevent and managed breakouts. If you suffer with dehydration, exfoliation will in fact remove the dehydrated skin, which also helps the skin to better absorb hydrating serums and moisturisers. Exfoliation is also one of the key strategies for targeting pigmentation and uneven skin tone: the speed up in skin renewal assists with the removal of pigmentation patches. Some Hydroxy Acids such as Lactic Acid and Phytic Acid target pigmentation, as well as having exfoliating properties.
Adding exfoliation to your current skincare line-up
Exfoliation is the second step in your skincare routine, after cleansing. It can be something you do daily or weekly, depending on the type of exfoliant you use. If you’re time poor or wanting to keep your skincare simple, there’s exfoliants that can be conveniently mixed in with cleansers. Once you’ve exfoliated, any other products applied to the skin will absorb more effectively, enhancing their results. Post exfoliation is a great time to masque.
Finding the right exfoliant for you
Dermalogica boasts a multitude of exfoliants, providing an option for every skin type and individual’s lifestyle.
A simple way to categorise Dermalogica’s exfoliants is into weekly and daily exfoliants. Weekly exfoliants are more powerful then daily exfoliants and should therefore, be used between one to three times a week. Daily options, on the other hand, can be used once a day, every day. You can combine weekly exfoliants with daily exfoliants; just don’t use both on the same day as this would be too much stimulation for the skin.
Different skins are suited to different types of exfoliants. For example, the more sensitive a skin is, the gentler the exfoliant should be. A sensitive skin should avoid too much friction, preferring something that ‘microfoliates’ such as Daily Microfoliant, which is a mild blend of a physical and chemical agents.
Hydroxy Acids such as Lactic Acid, along with Retinol and acid-free smoothing agents are ideal for lines, wrinkles and sun damaged skins. As the skin ages, its renewal process dramatically slows down. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, the older we are, the more exfoliation we should aim for. A physical exfoliant can also help to revitalize a dull, mature skin. Dermalogica’s MultiVitamin Thermafoliant from its AGEsmart line not only combines the powers of acid free smoothing agents with chemical and physical exfoliation, but it heats up as you use it for maximum absorption of the age fighting actives.
Breakout prone skins benefit from chemical exfoliants containing pore clearing Salicylic Acid and digestive. Enzymes. Dermalogica’s Gentle Cream Exfoliant is a great choice for someone experiencing acne as it’s nonabrasive, chemical and features antibacterial Sulphur.
Once you start exfoliating, you’ll never want to stop. Reap the phenomenal skin benefits of exfoliation, remembering to stick to the rules and don’t overdo it.