Many skincare woes can be solved with a little TLC from an excellent exfoliant. From enlarged pores to adult acne, regular exfoliation can help your skin stay healthy and dewy. It helps improve tone and texture by removing pore-clogging bacteria and dead skin cells.
How Often Should I Be Exfoliating?
Of course, you can have too much of a good thing. Over-exfoliating can actually make these problems worse, as it leaves micro-tears on the surface of your skin. These micro-tears, while effective at removing debris that’s already on the surface of your skin, causes microscopic damage. When you exfoliate too often, you’re not allowing the top layer of your skin to heal before scrubbing it away again.
It also strips all of the good, natural oils that your face has, which makes it difficult for your skin to retain moisture.
A good rule of thumb is to exfoliate once a week, unless you have sensitive skin. Because exfoliants can be irritating, sensitive skin can be particularly reactive to over-exfoliating.
If you want to kick your exfoliation game up a notch, start by focusing on the right ingredients for your skin type:
Normal skin can handle pretty much all kinds of exfoliants, as this skin type is well-balanced and healthy. You can choose from scrubs or enzyme exfoliators, but be careful not to tip the scales. Scrubbing too often can break the natural skin barrier and start causing issues that weren’t there before.
This skin type tends to deal with clogged pores and acne more often than others, but they have the added benefit of having a naturally stronger skin barrier. Finding the right balance is the key to perfecting your complexion. Exfoliants with lactic acid or glycolic acid are best, as they can help treat your acne. Definitely avoid anything that is going to add more oils.
Dry skin needs more gentle treatments, as the lack of oils can make it more difficult for your skin to recover after an exfoliation treatment. It’s better to err on the side of caution, sticking with less-frequent scrubs and gentle ingredients, like lactic acid.
There’s nothing wrong with using two types of exfoliants! In general, people with combination skin tend to breakout in their T-Zone, but deal with dry, sensitive skin on their cheeks. On your T-Zone, opt for products catering towards oily skin. For your sensitive areas, use very mild exfoliants less often.
For people who already deal with temperamental skin, exfoliation can be a real challenge. More so than any other skin type, sensitive skin is more likely to react poorly. Redness, burning, and itching are all signs that your exfoliator is too harsh. Avoid anything with high levels of enzymes or acids. Be gentle when moving the exfoliant around on your face and be sure to follow up with a moisturizer.
If you’re tired of dealing with reoccurring adult acne, an exfoliant that both scrubs and treats the condition could be the right answer for you. Look for retinol or salicylic acid to help clean out your pores and kill acne-causing bacteria. Be sure to moisturize properly following your scrub-session, as overly-dry skin can trigger more breakouts.
Not sure which kind of exfoliation is right for you? The best way to find out is to talk to your dermatologist! At Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Institute, we can help you discover the products that will give you the healthy glow you’ve been dreaming of.