5 Things you Should know about Exfoliating
Chemical vs. Physical: What is the best Way to exfoliate?
Full disclosure, we are firmly in the chemical exfoliation camp. What does that mean?
There are two kinds of exfoliators: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliators use small, rough particles to slough away dead skin. That’s ok for maybe 30 years ago, but now, we have so many better chemical options, all possible to source naturally.
Chemical exfoliants are acids that penetrate the skin to breakdown the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together. They are not just working at the surface of the skin. There is no better pathway to dewy, clear skin than regular chemical exfoliation in your skincare routine. I personally did not know how much this step could dramatically improve my skin. I’m glad I know more now! Here are a few tips to remember when you start to add exfoliation to your routine.
It’s better to feel nothing.
Some like it rough. Okay, that sounds a bit naughty. Well, it is! Don’t get caught up in the marketing of tingling sensations or, God forbid, scrubs that are abrasive to the skin (eh hem -- Apricot scrubs). These may feel good on the skin and leave you feeling like you really put in the elbow grease. BUT! They can cause micro-tears on the skin that are a landing beacon for all future bacteria hoping to inhabit your skins’ microbiome. Yikes! We recommend selecting a product that doesn’t scratch, tingle, sting – just leaves a cool, clean sensation.
Slow beauty is the new Clean Beauty.
Yes, we all want fast results. In the moments where you feel most tempted to try ten new products all at once, stop. Breath. Remember. Skincare is a marathon, not a sprint. Better you support your skin by sticking to a consistent exfoliating schedule of twice a week, rather than waiting until things get out of hand and exfoliating every night of the week! Quality ingredients and quality actives will give you results, just give them time. Keep in mind: it takes a full six weeks for skin to regenerate. To really know what products are working for you, we recommend using the products according to the manufacturer’s instruction for a least a month and a half before determining if the product is right for you. Of course, discontinue if there is any irritation, stinging, redness, unexplained psychic or mathematical abilities… ;-)
Exfoliation & Sensitive Skin are not mutually exclusive
For those of you with sensitive skin and acne, it can feel like you’re moving one step forward, two steps back when your acne skincare causes other problems. We recommend a serum or toner with naturally derived AHAs and BHAs, formulated with no more than 10% and 2%, respectively. Look for ingredients like Glycerin, Panthenol and Allantoin to aid in deep moisturizing while you are exfoliating, this will protect the moisture barrier of the skin. There is nothing worse than aggressively stripping the skin of all its moisture trying to combat blemishes.
SPF is your Best Friend
I know, I know, everyone and their mother says to wear sunscreen. We hope you already do! But in case you need another reason: Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids can be photosensitizing (translation: they increase your risk of sun damage). Once you add chemical exfoliants to your routine, be sure to use an appropriate SPF. You don’t want to clear your acne only to have other sun damage related issues to address!
Bonus – Your Skin is Not an Apology
Lifestyle is really the top influence on our skin’s health. Proper sleep, nutrition and hydration will always go a long way. But, in these uncertain times, remember it is ok not to be ok. Taking some time to give yourself radical self-love, whatever your skin concerns may be, is a way to slough off the layers of undue expectation we put on ourselves. And that is some deep exfoliation my friends. We’re taking a page out of Sonya Renee Taylor’s Your Body is Not an Apology and adding on the mantra: Your Skin is Not An Apology.
You are already enough. Your presence is a beautiful addition to the world. My wish for all our skincare Stoic Beauties is that we all remember, first and foremost, we are enough. We deserve to be here. We deserve to live our best lives. There is no need to wait until all the “problems” are solved. Remember: the obstacle is the path. Allow your skincare routine and skincare goals to be an invitation to increase your self-care and invest in your own self-care rituals.
And, if you want to go one step further, you could imaginatively take yourself out of the equation… check out Reem’s take on Object Oriented Ontology to consider how your AHA/BHA feels about YOU. I bet it feels blessed to be caring for a unique individual like you.