Every minute of every single day, your skin sheds up to 40,000 dead skin cells. That is if your skin is generally healthy to begin with.
Factors such as dry skin and age, however, could mean that your body isn’t capable of shedding dead skin cells as efficiently as it should. When these accumulate, they could make your skin look pasty and rough or worse, contribute to clogging your pores. This, in turn, could lead to acne.
Fortunately, routine use of physical and chemical exfoliants or exfoliators could help in sloughing off these pesky dead skin cells.
These work by loosening dead skin cells using mildly abrasive ingredients. They usually come in facial cleansers, scrubs, or masks with rough exfoliating particles, such as the exfoliating facial mask of Kedma Skin Care, with walnut shell powder and Dead Sea minerals.
Physical exfoliators are especially great for people with acne-prone and oily skin, as they get rid of debris and dead skin cells that clog pores. Do note, though, that some physical exfoliators could be quite harsh, especially if you have particularly sensitive or reactive skin. You would need a light and gentle hand when applying them.
These use acids for dissolving the bonds that keep the dead skin cells’ outer layers from being sloughed off. Chemical exfoliators come in two primary types — alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).
As AHAs and BHAs are considered gentler than physical exfoliators, finding the specific ingredients and concentrations of acids could be a challenge. This is because chemical exfoliants in improper concentrations — too low or too high — won’t work or could lead to increased sensitivity and irritation or worse, chemical burns. They likewise make your skin more photosensitive, so when using chemical exfoliators, you should apply sunscreen, which is something you should be doing anyway regardless if you exfoliate or not.
Some Tips for Using Exfoliators
Never use an exfoliator every day because your skin requires sufficient time to recover and regenerate its uppermost layers.
In general, individuals with oily skin could use exfoliants for two or four times weekly. Individuals with dry skin, on the other hand, should stick to exfoliating once or twice weekly. This would also depend on the exfoliator you’re using.
Always hydrate and moisturize after exfoliation and stop exfoliating if you develop a rash or if your skin becomes irritated. When in doubt, discuss your options with a dermatologist.