Last month, when we were in Vegas for Cosmoprof, North America’s biggest beauty tradeshow, we interviewed dozens of women who are in the industry and take skincare seriously.
Surprisingly, the majority of women we interviewed said that they didn’t take the time to exfoliate regularly. Many of them agreed that it’s easier to remember to put on serums and moisturizers since that becomes a part of the daily ritual than it is to remember to exfoliate which happens 1-3 times a week or a couple times a month.
We’re pretty adamant about exfoliation because it’s a really easy way to see major skincare benefits in various ways. It’s one of those low-effort/high-impact things in life that is worth doing ten times over.
So, what are the benefits of exfoliating?
1. Acne-prone folks: this is for you. Did you know that acne-prone skin sheds extra skin cells? And to make that worse, the skin cells are more prone to sticking to the skin and clogging the pores. As pores and hair follicles get clogged and dead skin cells pile up, the skin actually can produce excess sebum leading to whiteheads, blackheads, acne and infections. Exfoliation is vital and will help clear up all the debris that only exacerbates the acne-prone-ness of your skin.
2. Reduce appearance of larger pores: exfoliating alone won’t actually change the pore size, but it’ll certainly make them a lot less visible. Instant pore minimizing. We don’t turn that down around here.
3. More youthful texture: dead cells are swept up and new healthy cells form. This skin renewal process slows down as we age. It’s unfortunate because new fresh skin cells are bright and smooth while dead cells result in a dull and dry appearance. Exfoliating forces the skin renewal process to keep pace and reveal a more radiant and refined texture. Polish that skin regularly!
4. Fight fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots: those hallmark signs of aging are tough to battle. Keeping cell turnover high and renewing skin is one of the key ways to keep skin youthful and help curb the signs of aging.
5. Make more out of your skincare regimen: the less there is in the way between active ingredients in your serums and the deeper layers of the dermis, the more these skin-benefitting ingredients will reach the layers of the skin where transformation takes place.
6. Hydrate skin more effectively: this is related to #5, but I call this one out separately because dehydrated and parched skin is a surefire way to accelerated aging. Clear skin of debris so serums can penetrate deep into the skin and actually deliver moisture to create a healthy skin environment with proper moisture balance. Throw this off and you can age faster, get more breakouts, and increase skin sensitivity. (And oily skin can also be dehydrated!)
7. It’s cathartic: this one is more of a personal reason, but exfoliating is such a feel-good activity for me. It’s one of the rarer skincare steps where results are instant. It gets pretty addicting once exfoliating becomes a very regular part of the routine.
Some key risks of exfoliating!
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. Exfoliating too aggressively will actually result in far more damage than benefits. Irritation, redness, and rawness can occur. More problematically, exfoliation can cause you to become much more photosensitive, which results in more sun damage if not followed up with proper sunscreen. Different types of exfoliators can also damage skin: microbeads can cause microcuts, harsh tugging or pulling can harm’s skin structure and weaken it, harsh acidic products can cause skin to become irritated and react with redness or breakouts, clarisonic brushes can be filled with bacteria and tug too harshly and cause skin to become infected (read: acne) or become weaker.
General rule of thumb, for most exfoliating products, they should be used 1-2 times a week (max up to 3 if your skin is oilier and can handle it). If your skin is raw, red, more sensitive, too tight, too translucent, more flaky and dry, experiencing more unusual breakouts, PAUSE, assess and tweak the exfoliating cadence and/or products.
What product we love for exfoliating:
We love, love, love this gentle and natural Morihata konjac and charcoal puff to exfoliate. The charcoal gently detoxes the skin of impurities. The konjac naturally buffs the skin and keeps it polished without the acid. Great for super sensitive skin. The other awesome benefit is that konjac is naturally alkaline and pH neutral which leaves skin perfectly pH balanced to better absorb serums and fight acne. Sometimes, Mother Nature has the best skincare products.
Good luck finding the perfect exfoliating product for your skin…and include it regularly in your skincare regimen. Ten years later, you’ll be thanking yourself. Really.