Exfoliation is probably my favorite step in my skincare regimen. Mainly because I love seeing the results! Contrary to popular belief, you should be exfoliating EVERY DAY. Dead skin cells accumulate daily and need to be removed daily. Exfoliating has a number of benefits. Since exfoliation means “to remove in flakes or scales” you can look forward to the benefit of have a new, fresh layer of skin visible. Some other benefits include rejuvenating dull, matte, or discolored skin; reducing the size of large pores, allowing less makeup to be used, and allowing other skincare products to really penetrate into the deeper layers of skin.
If you have uneven or discoloration in your skin it’s probably because of built-up dead skin cells. When skin cells accumulate on the skin, they die off and turn brown from overexposure to the sun. When these dead cells accumulate on your skin, you begin to notice patches of brown spots which makes skin tone look uneven. If you have brown spots, you need to exfoliate. There are so many different ways to exfoliate the skin. Some ways to exfoliate include using a washcloth, razor(shaving), face brush, facial scrub with scrubbing particles and/or chemical peels and serums. There are obviously some differences in the physical ways to exfoliate and the chemical alternatives. I know chemical exfoliation sounds scary. I thought so at first too, but it kind of makes sense why dermatologists reccomend it even more than regular, physical exfoliating.
For one thing, the results you get from physical exfoliating depend heavily on the method, material, and length of time that you are willing to put into it. Physical exfoliating takes a lot more work and time than a chemical exfoliant. You should be careful to choose a physical exfoliator that has round, smooth particles rather than rough, sharp edges such as nutshells or sand, as these most likely will lead to irritation. With a chemical exfoliant, you are guaranteed more precise results every time you use it. Surprisingly, chemical exfoliating can be less irritating than physical exfoliating. Depending on how hard you press, you can cause more damage yourself than the chemicals would.
There are mainly two types of chemical exfoliants to look for, the AHA(Alpha Hydroxy) and BHA(Beta Hydroxy) acids. Glycolic acid is a more forgiving exfoliator as there is little irritation using it and good for first time users. Exfoliators using salicylic acid is more used for acne and can be a little more irritating, but it has a deeper penetration. Both remove early, abnormal dead cells that if left alone could become pre-cancerous. There are also combination (AHA and BHA) chemical exfoliators if you are somewhere in between.
Bottom line is that there should be room in your skincare routine for both physical and chemical exfoliators. Using a chemical exfoliant at night, before bed is a good idea if you use a lot of other products on your ace during the day. It’s one less step in the morning, and allows for any moisturizer that you use at night to really sink in while you sleep. Also, you should use a chemical exfoliant every other night interchangeably with a physical scrub. Happy scrubbing!