What is exfoliation?
Our skin is made up of several layers Dermis and Epidermis. Dermis lies below the epidermis while epidermis act as barrier between inside and outside environment. So epidermis prevents the skin by shedding dead skin cells constantly so that there is not any place for bacteria and other microorganisms to attach to. The dead skin which is called stratum corneum is replaced once in every two weeks and the cycle continues. But sometimes this shedding of skin is irritated due to many factors like
- Using wrong products
These can slow down shedding process and lead to clogged pores and end up having breakouts, dry and flaky skin, dullness and wrinkles. And here you can help your skin by Exfoliating that is basically removing dead skin by yourself.
Now you can remove dead skin by two methods which are:
- Chemical exfoliation
- Physical exfoliation
Physical exfoliation can also be called manual or mechanical exfoliation is like buffing your skin like sanding down a surface but in way gentler hands or method. Physical exfoliation is pretty common type which is actually used a lot especially in Pakistan since most people don’t know much about chemical exfoliation. It can be done buy using facial scrub that has small granules in them to buff away the dead skin cells or by cleaning the face using facial brush.
Now physical exfoliation have some advantages like:
- Immediate results you will visibly see the results if you exfoliated or not
- Easy to use you can adjust the pressure from your hands depending on the exfoliation you want whether you want it gentle or a bit harsh(on body)
- Low chances of getting reaction since physical exfoliators works only one the surface of the skin and not deep in the skin.
Well now downsides of physical exfoliation is that since you are working on the surface of skin, it is very easy to over exfoliate the skin which leads to irritation and breaking out the skin. Over exfoliation also makes you skin sensitive which you don’t want in exfoliation.
Now coming to the chemical exfoliation which is done by applying a product that removes dead skin cells more easily without buffing the skin off. Chemical exfoliators loosen the layer of dead skin so that they come off more easily and in smaller pieces. Chemical exfoliators have lots of advantages like:
- They tend to work more evenly than physical exfoliants and it it is rare to mess them up.
- A lot of chemical exfoliants have others benefits too aside from exfoliation like fading spots, removing hyperpigmentation and calming down
But they tend to work slowly compare to physical exfoliants which means you have to be patient with them. There are a chance of getting allergic reaction since they work deeply into the skin. Some of them may also make your skin sensitive to sun. Wearing sunscreen is important anyways.
How to choose an exfoliators?
Well physical exfoliators including scrub the finer it is the gentler it is. You will see people using sugars coffee grounds, egg shells etc in their scrubs but they are harsh exfoliants. It is easy to mess up.
But these scrubs works effectively on the body. Mixing some caster sugar with ground coffee and a little oil, one of the best body scrub. While using scrubs, buff lightly in small portions don’t do it in large portions. This will ensures that you are getting even application.
Now coming to the chemical exfoliators , there are few categories of chemical exfoliants you find in skincare. The most common are hydroxy acids. These works by speeding up cell renewal and loosening the layers of dead skin cells so they come off more easily. They also even out skin and helps with reducing wrinkles. Most common hydroxy acids are alpha hydroxy acids AHAs which includes lactic acid glycolic acid and mandelic acids. Other acids are beta hydroxy acid BHAs includes acids like salicylic acid, recommended for oily skin also this acid has anti bacterial properties and is a good acne treatment in some cases.
Now chemical exfoliants does make your skin prone to sun damage so wearing a sunscreen daily is recommended.
How to use exfoliants?
Now how much exfoliation your skin needs depends upon you skin type and skin conditions. I will make a detailed post about it. But if you’re just getting into exfoliation here are some general tips.
- I would recommend to pick up a gentle physical exfoliant like Dermacos guava scrubs that is really fine and use it one a week or twice a week.and increase it from there say twice a week and thrice in two weeks.
- You can up your game by using both chemical and physical exfoliators. Say using physical exfoliators one day and at night use a chemical one. But do not over do it
Hopefully you find this helpful. Any questions feel free to ask in the comments below.