How to Safely Exfoliate your Skin

Exfoliation can reveal fresher skin and leave you glowing. But you need to ensure that it’s a healthy glow—not the redness of irritated or damaged skin!

Your skin is renewing itself constantly – producing new skin cells and raising them to the surface (‘epidermis’). Old cells eventually flake off, but this doesn’t always occur evenly and the process slows as we get older, sometimes leading to a build-up of dull, dead skin cells.

When you exfoliate, you’re effectively speeding up and refining this process, which will not only reveal fresher skin, but also help reduce the appearance of blocked or enlarged pores, acne, dryness, scarring and pigmentation.

Exfoliation Methods

  1. Chemical Exfoliation uses alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acid) or beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid) to break down dead skin cells and accelerate shedding.
  2. Manual exfoliators (scrubs containing abrasive particles or body brushes and loofahs) physically scrub off dead cells.
  3. Microdermabrasion or ‘particle resurfacing’ devices blast your skin with abrasive crystals and vacuum off dead skin cells.

Exfoliating Safely

  • Don’t exfoliate your face every day; this can cause damage, and forcing your skin to continually repair itself will make it look older, not younger! Exfoliation twice a week is more than adequate. Chemical exfoliators should never be used more than once a week.
  • Newly exfoliated skin is very vulnerable. Protect it with high SPF products (even if it’s not sunny), and avoid waxing, depilating or shaving newly exfoliated skin.
  • Never use body exfoliators on your face.
  • Avoid your eye area where skin is thinner.
  • ‘Natural’ doesn’t always equal ‘good’. Scrubs containing large, harsh, irregular particles can damage your skin. Choose products that contain small, round abrasives instead.
  • Stop (instantly!) any kind of exfoliation that leaves skin torn, red or irritated.

Remember: your skin is an organ, just like your heart, with important functions vital to your health, so treat it with care and respect.