Have you ever used an exfoliating cleanser, formulated with beads that feel abrasive on the skin? Maybe you’ve tried an all-natural sugar scrub, comprised of ingredients like raw sugar, honey, and coconut oil—if it’s made with natural ingredients so it must be good, right? Or perhaps you’re a sheet mask kind of gal, the masks that look like something you could incorporate into a Halloween costume. Regardless of what you’ve tried, we’re here to dispel some of the common exfoliation myths and give you real, practical tips to help you effectively remove those dead skin cells, and reveal a radiant, more beautiful complexion!
So, here we go—8 tips for better exfoliation.
1. Don’t over-exfoliate
Like any other effective skincare product, a little really does go a long way. We recommend exfoliating just 3-4 days a month (opposed to the 3-4 times per week recommendation by beauty guru’s, influencers and skincare enthusiasts). Frequent exfoliation can actually fatigue the skin and damage the skin barrier, resulting in skin that’s dry and more prone to irritation. To learn more about the in's and out's of exfoliation, click right here!
2. Select an AHA + BHA blend
AHA’s and BHA’s each play a unique and important role in the exfoliation process. AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) break up the protein bonds—the layers of accumulated dead cells on the surface of the skin. Conversely, BHA’s (Beta Hydroxy Acids) break down the lipid bonds, the “glue” that holds those layers of dead skin cells together. When used in combination, this blend of AHA’s and BHA’s delivers better results from exfoliation.
3. Follow with a nutrient-rich serum or lotion
Following exfoliation, it’s important to replenish the skin barrier and restore antioxidants that may have been depleted. Use a concentrated serum or a nutrient-rich lotion containing high levels of the following ingredients: Panthenol (B-5), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Omega-3’s, Omega-6’s, Omega-9’s, phytonutrients from seed extracts and green tea. We recommend Retinol Vitamin C Concentrate and/or Deep Moisturizer.
4. Customize your usage
It’s no secret everyone’s skin is different. Methods that work for some will probably not work for others, and certainly not work for all. Exfoliating gel masks can be left on the skin for as short as a minute or as long as an hour. Initially, follow the instructions for recommended use when applying a gel mask, but you can experiment with the length of time, based on how your skin feels. You will likely be able to increase the time you leave the mask on your face with each sequential day you use the product. This is called “titrating” usage.
5. Evenings are easy
Depending on your schedule, find a convenient time to apply your mask. We find that evenings are ideal, as you start your nightly routine before bed. Plus, it gives you something relaxing to look forward to as you wind down from your long day. In the morning, simply remove any flaking or peeling skin with a damp washcloth. A cleanser is not necessary.
6. Use a sunscreen
As with any effective skincare, your skin can likely become more sensitive to the sun when using an exfoliating treatment. Always use a broad spectrum SPF (30-50) to prevent sun damage and protect your results. Another tip—avoid exfoliation when you know you’ll be outside for extended periods.
7. Avoid exfoliating cleansers
As previously mentioned, daily use of exfoliating cleansers can damage your skin barrier, dry out your skin (requiring a moisturizer which you otherwise wouldn’t need) and make your skin more prone to irritation (particularly sensitive to products with effective active ingredients). Stick to exfoliating treatments as they are much more effective than exfoliating cleansers. Click here to read a full list of all the things they never told you about exfoliators.
8. Boost results with Retinol & Retinoids
When formulated correctly, Retinoids and Retinol can be used post-exfoliation to improve your results from the treatment. Retinoids increase cell turnover, amongst a host of other multitasking benefits. Some formulations are gentle enough to use immediately after exfoliation, while others may require a 2-3 day break after the exfoliation treatment. Our Retinol Vitamin C Concentrate can be applied after exfoliation due to its ability to be absorbed quickly into the skin.