What Does an Exfoliant do to My Skin

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Daily Beauty

What Does an Exfoliant do to My Skin

By Summer Summit Skin Care 

Exfoliating your skin is an important part of any skincare routine. Exfoliants work by removing dead skin cells, unclogging pores, and promoting cell turnover, which can lead to a brighter, smoother, and more even complexion. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of exfoliating, the different types of exfoliants, and how to incorporate exfoliation into your skincare routine.

Benefits of Exfoliation

Exfoliation has several benefits for the skin:

  1. Removes Dead Skin Cells: Over time, dead skin cells can build up on the surface of the skin, leading to a dull and rough complexion. Exfoliation helps to remove these dead skin cells, revealing smoother and brighter skin.

  2. Unclogs Pores: When pores become clogged with dirt, oil, and dead skin cells, they can become enlarged and prone to breakouts. Exfoliating helps to remove these impurities, preventing clogged pores and reducing the risk of acne.

  3. Promotes Cell Turnover: As we age, our skin's natural cell turnover slows down, leading to a dull and uneven complexion. Exfoliating helps to speed up the process of cell turnover, resulting in a smoother and more even skin tone.

  4. Increases Absorption of Skincare Products: Exfoliating can help to improve the absorption of skincare products, allowing them to penetrate deeper into the skin for better results.

Types of Exfoliants

There are two main types of exfoliants: physical exfoliants and chemical exfoliants.

Physical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliants work by physically scrubbing away dead skin cells and impurities. These exfoliants come in the form of scrubs, brushes, or sponges, and often contain small particles such as sugar, salt, or microbeads. While physical exfoliants can be effective, they can also be harsh on the skin, causing irritation, inflammation, and micro-tears in the skin.

Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants work by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily removed from the surface of the skin. These exfoliants come in the form of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, work by exfoliating the surface of the skin, while BHAs, such as salicylic acid, penetrate deeper into the pores to unclog them. Chemical exfoliants tend to be gentler on the skin than physical exfoliants, but they can still cause irritation if not used correctly.

How to Incorporate Exfoliation into Your Skincare Routine

Exfoliating should be done once or twice a week, depending on your skin type and the type of exfoliant you're using. Here's how to incorporate exfoliation into your skincare routine:

  1. Cleanse: Start by cleansing your skin with a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, oil, or makeup.

  2. Exfoliate: Apply the exfoliant to your skin, either with your hands or a soft cloth, and massage in a circular motion for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can cause irritation.

  3. Rinse: Rinse your skin thoroughly with warm water to remove the exfoliant.

  4. Moisturize: Follow up with a moisturizer to hydrate and protect your skin.

Tips for Exfoliating

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when exfoliating:

  1. Don't overdo it: Exfoliating too often or with an overly harsh exfoliant can cause irritation, inflammation, and damage to the skin. Stick to once or twice a week, depending on your skin type and the type of exfoliant you're using.

  2. Choose the right exfoliant for your skin type: Different types of exfoliants work best for different skin types. If you have sensitive skin, choose a gentle chemical exfoliant like lactic acid or a physical exfoliant with small, smooth particles. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, a BHA like salicylic acid may be more effective.

  3. Patch test before using a new exfoliant: If you're trying out a new exfoliant, patch test it on a small area of skin before using it on your entire face. This can help you avoid an adverse reaction or irritation.

  4. Be gentle: When exfoliating, be gentle with your skin. Use a light touch and don't apply too much pressure. Over-exfoliating can damage the skin's natural barrier, leading to irritation, redness, and even breakouts.

  5. Don't exfoliate sunburned or irritated skin: If your skin is sunburned or irritated, wait until it has healed before exfoliating. Exfoliating can further irritate the skin and delay the healing process.

  6. Follow up with sunscreen: After exfoliating, your skin may be more sensitive to the sun. Be sure to follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from further damage.

In summary, exfoliating is an important step in any skincare routine, as it helps to remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and promote cell turnover. There are two main types of exfoliants - physical and chemical - each with their own benefits and drawbacks. When incorporating exfoliation into your skincare routine, it's important to choose the right exfoliant for your skin type, be gentle with your skin, and follow up with sunscreen to protect your skin from further damage.

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