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WHAT IS EXFOLIATING OR SCRUBBING

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Exfoliating Overview

Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool.

Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days or so.

Sometimes, dead cells don’t shed completely. This can result in dry, flaky patches and clogged pores. Exfoliating can help prevent this.

We have 2 type of exfoliator – Physical Exfoliating and Chemical Exfoliating

How does exfoliation benefit your skin?

Exfoliating can improve the appearance of your skin in several ways.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliation can leave your skin looking brighter and improve the effectiveness of topical skin care products by enhancing absorption.

Regular exfoliation can also help prevent clogged pores, resulting in fewer breakouts.

Long-term exfoliating can increase collagen production. Collagen is key to glowing, vibrant skin. The protein also promotes skin elasticity, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and related sagging.

Physical exfoliation

Any exfoliating product or method that requires manual scrubbing or rubbing falls is known as a physical exfoliant.

You may already be using a physical exfoliant — cleansing scrubs, body brushes, and loofahs are all common methods.

The biggest advantage to physical exfoliation is the ease of access. You can do this at home with as little as a muslin washcloth or a do-it-yourself (DIY) scrub. It also offers immediate results.

If performed incorrectly, physical exfoliation can sometimes irritate your skin and may result in transepidermal water loss. Following up with a humectant oil or serum can help minimize irritation and lock in moisture.

Materials

There are a few abrasive materials to choose from for manual exfoliation, including:

  • cleansing scrubs
  • exfoliating mitts
  • dry brushes
  • loofahs
  • pumice stones
  • microneedling or micro derma rollers

Any exfoliating product or method that requires manual scrubbing or rubbing falls is known as a physical exfoliant.

You may already be using a physical exfoliant — cleansing scrubs, body brushes, and loofahs are all common methods.

The biggest advantage to physical exfoliation is the ease of access. You can do this at home with as little as a muslin washcloth or a do-it-yourself (DIY) scrub. It also offers immediate results.

If performed incorrectly, physical exfoliation can sometimes irritate your skin and may result in transepidermal water loss. Following up with a humectant oil or serum can help minimize irritation and lock in moisture.

Chemical exfoliation

This method uses different chemicals, including hydroxy acids and retinol, with enzymes to renew your skin.

While DIY and OTC scrubs can help enhance your skin’s appearance, chemical exfoliation can offer more dramatic results.

As with physical exfoliation, chemical exfoliation can irritate the skin if done incorrectly. If you’re unsure about how to incorporate a chemical product into your routine, see a dermatologist or other healthcare provider for guidance.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)

AHAs are a group of water-soluble acids typically derived from sugary fruits. Popular AHAs include:

  • glycolic acid, which comes from sugar cane
  • lactic acid, which is found in milk and pickled vegetables
  • citric acid, found in citrus fruits
  • tartaric acid, from grapes
  • malic acid, found in apples

These acids help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place.

Depending on the type, AHAs may also help with:

  • mild hyperpigmentation like age spots, melasma, and scars
  • enlarged pores
  • fine lines and surface wrinkles
  • uneven skin tone

Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)

BHAs, on the other hand, are oil-soluble. These acids go deep into your hair follicles to dry out excess oils and dead skin cells to unclog your pores.

Because of this, BHA products are primarily used to treat acne and sun damage.

Salicylic acid is the most common BHA. It’s well known as an acne treatment, but it can also help calm general redness and inflammation.

Retinoids

Retinoids are a class of medications derived from vitamin A. They’re used to soothe sun-damaged skin, minimize signs of aging, and treat acne.

They work by protecting your skin from free radicals and promoting collagen production.

There are several topical retinoids available, including:

  • retinol
  • adapalene
  • alitretinoin
  • tretinoin
  • bexarotene
  • tazarotene

Retinoids vary in concentration. If OTC options aren’t working, talk to a dermatologist. They may be able to prescribe a stronger formula.

What works best for my skin type?

Choosing the right exfoliating technique for your skin type will minimize your risk of irritation and help you achieve the best possible result.

Sensitive

If your skin generally stings or is otherwise irritated after using new products, it’s considered sensitive. BHAs are typically less irritating than other chemical or physical exfoliants.

In some cases, sensitive skin is a symptom of an underlying condition. You should always talk to a dermatologist or other healthcare provider before using new products if you have conditions such as eczema and rosacea.

Normal

Normal skin is clear and not easily irritated. Many people who have “normal” skin find that they can try any exfoliating technique or product without experiencing adverse effects. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Dry

Dry skin is flaky or rough. AHAs such as glycolic acid can break through the surface layer of your skin, allowing your moisturizer to hydrate your new skin cells more effectively.

Oily

Oily skin appears shiny and feels greasy. People with oily skin are often able to use stronger chemical and physical exfoliators, such as motorized brushes. Store bought and DIY scrubs may also be a good option.

Combination

Combination skin is characterized by a mix of oily and dry sections. You should focus on each area individually and alternate products as needed.

For example, you may be able to use a chemical exfoliator or scrub on oily areas one day and a low-level AHA on dry areas the next day.

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