Questions We Get Asked About Exfoliation
The process of exfoliation is a part of any skin care routine, that primarily involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells, and it helps deep clean one’s pores. It is key for achieving brighter, smoother and clearer skin and complexion.
Exfoliation is an integral part of the every skin care routine but if used too frequently or if used incorrectly, in terms of how it suits your skin type, an exfoliator can do more harm than good. Since it is extremely crucial to an individual’s skin care, one may have several questions before they begin exfoliating, and we, in this blog have answered the most common questions. Continue reading to understand exfoliation as a whole and to be able to care better for your skin!
How often should you exfoliate?
It is suggested that individuals with a normal skin type must exfoliate at least thrice a week. This would allow for softer and more luminous skin apart from preventing irritation. However, individuals with acne-prone skin are advised to exfoliate on an every day basis before cleansing to ensure the maintenance of completely clear skin, to get rid of the excess dirt and help reduce future breakouts.
How do you know if you are over exfoliating?
One may say that there can never be too much of a good thing, but that is not the case here and it really isn’t hard to over-exfoliate your skin. Over-exfoliating can be caused by including exfoliation to your skin care routine more often than required. Whether you choose to apply an exfoliating acid or use a physical scrub (exfoliator), it is possible to cause harm to your skin but it is not easy to tell when too much is enough, especially in the case of exfoliation as the warning signs of over-exfoliation are sometimes confused with the desired results which may make it hard to draw the line.
To ensure that you are not over-exfoliating your skin and causing harm to it, look out for the following signs:
a. Breakouts: especially those that do not get better over time
b. Increased dryness and flakiness
c. Increased oil production
In case you find that you have been over-exfoliating your skin, do not panic! Just make sure that you don’t use an exfoliator for a week and give your skin time to recover and ease your exfoliator back into your skin care routine. You may also want to consider switching to a gentler exfoliator to see if that helps. If you still aren’t able to judge if you over-exfoliating your skin, we recommend seeing your dermatologist.
Should I be using a chemical exfoliator or a physical exfoliator?
There is no definite answer to this question because a person’s choice of the kind of exfoliator she or he wishes to use is based on his or her skin type and personal preference. However, we think that it is best to provide you with all the information required to make a choice between the two kinds of exfoliators.
A physical exfoliator would include the use of small granules, such as sugar, walnut shells, salt or ground coffee to clear out the dead skin cells and help unclog pores. There exfoliants have a grainy texture and can be bought in the form of scrubs and gels. If you notice that your skin feels tight or extra sensitive after using a physical exfoliator, you may opt for a chemical exfoliator. Chemical exfoliators are those that use chemical compounds such as AHAs and BHAs to help rid the dead skin cells. some chemical exfoliators use PHAs, and these do not seep into the skin in comparison to the exfoliators causing lesser irritation.
We urge individuals with sensitive skin type to opt for gentle exfoliators, individuals with acne to avoid the use of harsh physical exfoliators and for those with acne prone skin to go for chemical exfoliants.
What can I mix with AHAs and BHAs?
Before we dive into the answer for this question, we must know what AHAs and BHAs are. The abbreviation AHAs stands for alpha hydroxy acids and these are water soluble and ensure smoother skin while BHAs stands for beta hydroxy acids and these are soluble in oil and they enter your pores to help clean them.
Using AHAs along with BHAs help gain maximum cleansing but here are some products you must not use along with these products.
a. Do not use retinol or vitamin C supplements along with AHAs and/ or BHAs as this could cause peeling, irritation or redness of skin. This does not mean that you should not at all use retinol or vitamin C supplements, it just means that you should not use them together.
b. Hyaluronic acid works very well especially when layered with AHAs and BHAs. These two or three components when layered hydrate and nourish your skin and ensure happy and healthy skin.
Should chemical exfoliants be used in the morning or night?
There is really no ideal time of the day to exfoliate your skin (sorry we know, this isn’t helping!) as this depends on your routine and schedule. But if you wear make up on a daily basis, you should consider exfoliating every night as this would help remove all the make up particles completely and open your skin pores and allow your skin to be completely cleansed. However, if you have oily skin or if you notice that your face looks dull, then exfoliating in the morning would be ideal as this makes your skin glow! No matter what, you should exfoliate your skin once or twice a week on an average,
Can AHAs and/ or BHAs be used with hyaluric acid?
Yes, you can use AHAs and/ or BHAs along with hyluric acid, and we recommend that you do so. Hyaluric acid as the name suggests is an acid, but it does not exfoliate your skin and does not work in ways similar to an AHA or a BA. It only helps hydrate your skin and hyaluric acid is good for all skin types. So, if it is layered with an AHA or a BHA, it will hydrate, replenish and nourish your skin!
Can I use an acid moisturizer, a toner and an exfoliator or is that too much?
Using an acid moisturiser, a toner and an exfoliator isn’t too much but is just unnecessary as all of these are chemical exfoliants which are powerful and extremely effective. So one of the above mentioned products should suffice. We would like to remind you to use SPF, especially, if you use a chemical exfoliant or acid in the morning as these products make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Are exfoliators okay for super sensitive skin?
We understand that exfoliating sensitive skin can be extremely tricky and even frustrating at times, but it is necessary and we recommend individuals with sensitive skin to dedicate time at least once a week to exfoliate their skin. It is important to remember that exfoliation is necessary for all skin types as it helps remove the dead skin cells, nourishes the skin and adds a glow to the skin.
We recommend individuals with sensitive skin to start their exfoliation journey slowly, gently and with lots of patience. They could use PHAs or lactic acids as these are mild on the skin and improve the skin’s natural moisture, prevent feelings of dryness and improves the texture and tone of the skin.
And here’s some food for thought, your skin has a memory. In ten, twenty or thirty years from now, your skin will show the results of how it was treated today, so make sure you treat your skin kindly and with lots of love and respect.