Exfoliating is a very important step in your skin care regimen if you want to improve the appearance of your complexion. Not only does exfoliating help your skin to look brighter, clearer, smoother, and overall healthier, it also allows for your other products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, making them more effective. When you exfoliate, you are sloughing off dead skin cells which helps to stimulate your cell turnover rate (which decreases the older we get). Exfoliants fall under two categories, manual and chemical.
Manual exfoliants tend to have a gritty texture with microbeads and typically come in the form of scrubs. Microdermabrasion is another type of manual exfoliant, and you can either use diamond tips or crystals to exfoliate the skin. When you are using manual exfoliants, you are literally scrubbing off dead skin cells. Because they are abrasive, it is very important not to over exfoliate because it can actually cause damage to your skin. A good rule of thumb when using scrubs to exfoliate is to use them only 1-3 times per week!
Chemical exfoliants use chemical solutions to exfoliate and stimulate collagen and elastin to the skin. The solutions are known as either AHAs or BHAs. AHAs are “water” loving meaning that they attract and hold moisture close to the skin’s surface and they work from the bottom of the epidermis to the top. The different AHAs are good for certain things, but in general they are preferred for those who struggle with dryness. The most common AHAs are Glycolic, Lactic, and Citric. BHAs on the other hand are “oil”-loving meaning they work to “de-gunk” pores and they work from the top of epidermis to the bottom. BHAs are great for people with oily, acne-prone skin. Salicylic Acid is the main BHA…which is also a main ingredient found in aspirin. If you are allergic to aspirin, you will want to avoid BHA products. Oftentimes a combination of AHA and BHA products can be very beneficial for combating skin issues and having a superior outcome!