Exfoliators loosen and remove the dead skin cells from the epidermis. Removing this dead skin reveals your plumper, younger skin cells, leaving your skin smoother and allowing your skin care products to work more effectively by penetrating the areas between skin cells.
Exfoliation can be ‘physical’ meaning we polish the skin using a scrub, or it can be ‘chemical’ meaning we use glycolic acids or enzymes from fruits to melt away the dead skin cells. Regardless of what type of exfoliant you use, exfoliating is a crucial step in any complete skincare regiment. It removes excess build up and allows the products you use to deeply nourish your skin, promote an even skin tone, and help expose your glowing skin!
It is important to choose an exfoliator that is best for your skin, your routine, and your lifestyle! Let’s work through which one would be best for you and how often to use it.
Step 1: chemical vs physical exfoliant
- Remove dead skin cells with the use of chemicals to aid cell turnover
- Great for smoothing & brightening
- AHAs – derived from natural substances and are ideal for exfoliating dry skin – removes the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together. Water soluble so cannot penetrate very deep into pores. skoah’s AHA is derived from apples and grapes.
- BHAs (aka salicylic acid) – oil soluble molecules that can reach deeper into the skin and pores. Have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Breaks down the bonds between cells. Recommended for acne-prone, oily skin.
- Fruit enzymes such as papain (from papaya) – perfect exfoliators for those with sensitive skin as they break down the keratin in skin and target only the outermost layer of the epidermis.
- Use of small grains or a brush in circular motions to exfoliate.
- Need to be handled gently.
- Avoid large exfoliants like fruit pits and nut shells as the have the tendency to create micro-tears.
Step 2: What does your skin type need:
- Needs exfoliation to remove build up but doesn’t need it very often.
- Start weekly and build up to twice a week once comfortable – at first your skin may tend to be a bit more delicate and may find there is a fair amount of shedding – this is normal!
- Physical scrubs are a great option as it is easier to control the intensity with which you are exfoliating.
- Oily skin can do well with working up to using a gentle daily exfoliant. Why? As the skin is producing a lot of oil, it can trap dirt and grim into pores.
- A gentle daily scrub is a great option, however there is one caveat. Using a physical exfoliant on active, blemish prone skin can spread pore-clogging bacteria – in this case you would want to use a gentle chemical exfoliant 3-4 times a week instead.
- Normal/combination skin has the least obvious approach when it comes to exfoliating.
- Exfoliating can increase skin exposure which can be a good or bad thing for normal skin.
- If your skin is thicker consider using a light exfoliating product (skrubbin’ face wash or glow tonik) once daily or every other day.
- If your skin is more sensitive stick to using a slightly stronger exfoliant 2-3 times a week (aha mask, face skrub or enzyme mask)
- This can be tricky, for some people they can actually become less sensitive by regularly exfoliating, while others cannot.
- Since sensitivity isn’t related to your type of oil production, go with what is best recommended for your skin type and scale it back.
- Oily & Sensitive skin - instead of using a light exfoliant daily, try using it every other day and see how your skin fees..
- Dry & Sensitive skin - use a chemical/enzyme exfoliant once a week OR use a light physical exfoliation and follow up with a nourishing mask.
Step 3: When should I exfoliate?
- Often we get asked, should I exfoliate in the morning or at night and honestly either time is perfectly fine.
- What is more important to consider are the products you are using afterwards. Consider when you are using more high performing products with active ingredients and exfoliate then.
- Your skin will be more receptive to the ingredients once the dead skin cells are removed.
It’s time to unleash your glow!
aha mask – a skoah classic. Alpha hydroxy acids derived from the skins of apples and grapes loosen and lift dead, tired skin. Contains sea kelp algae to hydrate, this peppermint infused mask is for skins that react to scrubs.
enzyme mask – containing papain, an enzyme derived from papaya, this mask gently exfoliates skin by breaking down the protein that holds your dead skin cells together. This mask is a great option for all, but especially those with more sensitive skin.
face skrub – with finely ground pumice to polish the skin, sea kelp algae and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, and comfrey root extract to soothe, the face skrub is a great option for drier skin types to slough away dead skin cells.
skrubbin’ face wash – the best of both worlds, this exfoliator and cleanser, containing ground up pumice to slough away dead skin, the skrubbin’ face wash is ideal for anyone looking for a fast and easy way to regularly exfoliate.
glow tonik – this product is a dream for anyone who struggles to regularly exfoliate their skin. This toner/exfoliant combo contains aha to lift dead skin, while also hydrating your skin with hyaluronic acid. Spritz on once daily or use with a cotton round 3-4 times a week for a more thorough exfoliation.