How To Exfoliate Skin: Rejuvenate Your Face, Lips, and Legs
How To Exfoliate Your Skin
Fall is fast approaching and I don’t know about you guys, but I am living for it. The days of fun in the sun, rooftop parties, and sipping on iced beverages is a thing of the past and I’m not sorry about it. I’m ready to welcome with open arms those cold winter nights where I can be in bed by 7pm with a glass of wine and no one can judge me for it. Yes baby, summer is shedding her sun-damaged skin and so am I. You read that right. I mean literally shedding my oily, congested, sun-soaked summer skin: I can make way for my new healthy skin that’s been waiting not-so-patiently to introduce herself. The way we do that is by exfoliating, a process that removes the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool.
The average human body sheds about 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells each minute. That’s 50 million skin cells a day guys. Ew. Since our skin is an organ that’s regularly exposed, it’s in a constant state of regeneration. As we get older that process begins to speed up. Have you ever wondered why your esthetician asks you to come in every 3-4 weeks? It’s because that’s how long it takes for your skin to shed the dead layer and allow for new healthy skin to surface. The average lifespan of a cell is about 4 weeks, and that includes the growing, moving and shedding of skin cells. I don’t know about you guys, but this makes me want to buy a sugar scrub real bad.
Sometimes these dead skin cells don’t shed completely, resulting in dry, flaky patches and clogged pores. Exfoliating can prevent that and improve your skin appearance in many different ways. It can leave your skin looking brighter, help prevent clogged pores (which results in fewer breakouts) and can even increase collagen production. Collagen is what keeps our skin bouncy, smooth and glowing while improving elasticity. This prevents our skin from sagging. It is so important to give your skin love and take care of it properly. Exfoliating is one of the easiest and most important steps in your skincare routine and I promise you, your skin will thank you for it. Exfoliating can even improve the way your skin absorbs products, making them more effective in your routine.
Choosing Your Exfoliator
It’s important to choose the right exfoliating tool for you. There are so many options out there and one person’s skin is very different from the other. There’s physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Any method or product that requires you to manually scrub or rub is known as physical exfoliation, while chemical exfoliation uses different chemicals. These can include hydroxyl acids and retinols, in addition to enzymes to renew your skin. There are different tools you can use to exfoliate with, and you might already have these items in your home. You know that loofah you use that you could probably replace more often? Yeah, that’s exfoliating your skin. And now that you know you can shed up to 50 million skin cells a day, I think it’s time for a new one.
There are so many different types of exfoliators it’s hard to know which one is right for you. There are exfoliating masks, exfoliating cleansers, exfoliating pads, exfoliating sponges. It’s important to understand your skin type and get what works for you. If you tend to lean more towards oily congested skin, you can probably handle a more aggressive exfoliator like a retinoid or physical exfoliant up to 3x a week. Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and work by protecting your skin against free radicals and promoting collagen production. If your skin is more on the sensitive side, I would recommend using a gentle, BHA exfoliator 1-2x a week. BHA’s, Beta-hydroxy-acids, are an oil-soluble acid that are typically less irritating than other chemicals or physical exfoliants.
If you tend to have dry skin, you could do well with an AHA, alpha-hydroxy-acid. AHA’s help to eat away at the dead skin revealing brighter, more evenly pigmented skin underneath and this can allow your moisturizers to penetrate deeper into the skin making your skin more hydrated. With combination skin, it’s really about finding the right balance. You could use a more aggressive exfoliant one day and then balance it out with a weaker one the next. Finally with normal skin, you can most likely play around with most products without experiencing any adverse reactions. It’s really up to personal preference. Make sure that you are not over-exfoliating as this could lead to irritation and can make your skin feel over-stimulated and raw. Just pay attention to how your skin feels and reacts and listen to it.
When you exfoliate different body parts, you should use different types of exfoliators. Please do not use the exfoliator you use for your body on your face. The vanilla almond coffee scrub you got at bath & body works might not be the best fit for your face. It is, however, perfect for prepping your body for shaving. No one likes a dry and bumpy shave and when you exfoliate the dead skin off beforehand, you’re able to get closer to the skin and get a cleaner result. Nothing beats the smooth, satiny feeling of a fresh shave and then getting under the covers. Ladies, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s better than hitting all the green lights when you’re late to work.
When it comes to exfoliating on thinner areas like the skin on your lips, there are specific products for that so as to not cause tearing of the skin. One place you might not have thought to exfoliate is your scalp. Product buildup and oil/congestion is very common on your scalp and it’s key to remove that. It can help stimulate hair growth and allow you to have healthier, shinier, smoother hair.
When it comes down to it and you’re considering getting an exfoliator for the first time or you just like to switch things up, make sure you do your research on the brand and product before purchasing. Every body’s skin is different, with completely different needs. It’s not like a one-size-fits-all type of thing, although that would make our lives so much easier. If you still feel lost and Google isn’t doing it for you, you can always run down to your trusted spa and ask your esthetician for a recommendation. They can usually perform a skin analysis and make sure you leave with the perfect exfoliant for your unique self.
With this change of seasons comes the need to adjust and switch up a lot of things; boots instead of sandals, sweaters instead of tank-tops, scarves instead of sunglasses. Why not switch up your skincare too? Your dead skin is a lot easier to shed than those 10 lbs of quarantine weight you didn’t ask for. Spoil yourself this season by getting the best skin of your life with a brand new exfoliator. It might make your holiday shine just as bright as your skin will.