Exfoliating your skin with a good quality scrub and ending up baby smooth is one of life's greatest pleasures.
But exfoliate too much and you will face all sorts of issues, from sensitive and dry skin to breakouts and more.
Finding the sweet spot in terms of an exfoliation product and routine is the skincare holy grail for many people.
We have detailed in previous guides that 2-3 times per week is the sweet spot for most people, and it remains a great place to start.
We would never recommend more than this, however, for certain products and certain skin types, it may be necessary to reduce the frequency even further.
It can be, but this is why we've put together this simple guide to exfoliation to make things easier for you.
How to Exfoliate Your Body
To exfoliate effectively, make sure you first wash the skin with warm water (or ensure your shower is warm enough). This will help to open your pores, remove any surface debris and ensure the exfoliant can do it's job effectively.
Then, gently scrub the skin with your exfoliant. Use a circular motion rather than scrubbing back and forth to help reduce recontamination and irritation.
It's important to follow both sets of advice from above - as even a highly skilled exfoliator with the perfect technique can still cause skin problems if exfoliating too regularly.
These problems can include irritation, redness, itching, pain, dry patches, rashes and more - generally things anyone interested in skincare wants to avoid!
When to NOT Exfoliate
When we say exfoliate 2-3 times per week, it's best to spread these out, and never exfoliate if you did the previous day.
For example if you exfoliated daily from Monday to Wednesday then not at all for the rest of the week, this is just going to shock and damage your skin then have it spend the rest of the week trying desperately to recover, which will cause oil imbalances, irritation and a build-up of more issues over time.
You should also never exfoliate if your skin is already sensitive for another reason, such as sunburn, injuries, rashes, or if you've recently used products or treatments such as chemical peels.
Why is Exfoliation Important?
You may be thinking, "if it's so easy to get exfoliation wrong and damage your skin, why bother?".
In reality, a proper exfoliation technique is arguably THE best thing you can do for your skin.
Every single day, your skin sheds tens of thousands of dead skin cells, and grows new ones to replace them. This process is what allows us to heal from skin irritation, as well as keep our skin youthful, healthy and elastic.
Most of these dead skin cells naturally fall off over time, but there is a constant layer at the top of the epidermis, which generally remains there and builds up over time.
This can leave skin looking rough, dull and aged.
It can also cause many additional problems, as the remaining dead skin cells can get stuck in pores, attract further dirt and grime, or irritate your skin.
Exfoliation gently removes this layer of dead skin cells, leaving your skin looking brand new, fresh and angelic. It also makes it easier for other skincare products to lay directly on the surface of your skin and get absorbed into those brand new skin cells, rather than being absorbed into dead skin cells, which essentially blocks the results those products may otherwise provide.
The most common and effective type of chemical exfoliant in recent years is Alpha hydroxy acids, otherwise known as AHAs.
Our own AHA exfoliant serum is specifically designed to help avoid these issues and work well with your skin. It is made from glycolic acid, which has been found by researchers to be one of the most gentle AHA based exfoliants around, allowing to absorb quickly with no sticky residue and minimise the chances of nasty side effects related to sensitive skin or over exfoliation.