Exfoliating For Your Skin Type | Best Practices According to Derms
Exfoliation improves the health and appearance of your skin. Just like buffing your nails prepares them for a manicure, exfoliating skin on the face creates a clean canvas for your makeup and other skincare products.
Using chemical or physical exfoliants removes dead skin cells that build up on the surface of your skin. The skin’s natural cleansing process needs a boost from time to time, especially as age slows it down.
Beneficial results of exfoliating range from cleaning out and tightening your pores to increasing shine and radiance.
Results of exfoliating vary for each individual skin type. Over-exfoliating or performing the wrong method for your skin type can cause irritation issues.
Dr. Mary P. Lupo from the American Academy of Dermatology reminds us, “Before you exfoliate, you really need to understand your skin and skin type. A board-certified dermatologist can help you choose the exfoliation option that’s best suited to your skin’s unique needs.”
Let’s delve into recommended exfoliation techniques for normal, dry, oily, and combination skin. Ask your dermatologist if these techniques are right for you.
Exfoliating Normal Skin
Normal skin has optimal sebum production (the skin’s natural oils) and is therefore not excessively oily or dry. Normal skin types do not have blemishes or skin conditions and are not overly sensitive.
Although normal skin types have optimal skin, it is still beneficial to exfoliate. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, increasing the shine and brightness of your skin. It also helps the products you use work more efficiently by increasing their absorption into the skin.
If you have normal, healthy, and clear skin it is recommended to exfoliate with gentle chemical or physical exfoliants. When choosing a physical exfoliant, choose something that won’t create irritation. Exfoliation brushes with soft bristles work well to clean the face and stimulate cellular turnover. Use circular motions with a gentle face wash.
There are two types of chemical exfoliants, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). With normal skin, there is no need for the oil-loving chemicals in BHA exfoliants, so AHA chemical exfoliants are a great choice. AHA exfoliants are derived from natural moisturizing ingredients, the most researched and available being glycolic and lactic acids. Glycolic acids come from sugar cane while lactic is derived from lactose or other carbohydrates. AHA exfoliants are known for being the least likely to cause irritation and provide great moisture.
It is often recommended to exfoliate no more than once a week to maintain your healthy skin. Take care to listen to what your skin is telling you. Over time, exfoliating will provide amazing benefits including an increase in collagen production and promoting your skin’s youth.
Exfoliating Dry/ Sensitive Skin
Dry skin is flaky and can be itchy and sensitive. Exfoliating can be a great tool for dry or sensitive skin to promote healing and enhance the skin’s natural processes but must be done with caution. It can be tempting to exfoliate flaky dry skin right away, but over-exfoliating can make the condition worse.
Dry or sensitive skin requires delicate hands and gentle exfoliants. Mechanical exfoliants such as a brush, sponge or scrub, may be too harsh for dry skin. Chemical exfoliants gently dissolve away dead skin cells that have accumulated on the skin’s surface, preventing the harsh scrapes and tears physical methods can create on sensitive skin.
Dr. Lupo from the American Academy of Dermatology recommends for dry skin, “sticking with milder chemical exfoliation options, such as ‘chemical’ peels administered in a dermatologist’s office.”
Moisturizing is important after exfoliating for any skin type, but especially important to stay on top of for dry skin that has lost the ability to moisturize itself.
Exfoliating Oily Skin
Oily skin is caused by an overproduction of the skin’s natural oils from the sebaceous glands. Exfoliating is a great way to clean deeply and strip unwanted oil.
Dr. Lupo suggests, “Those with oily, thicker skin may be able to use stronger chemical treatments, such as an over-the-counter 2 percent salicylic acid wash, or mechanical exfoliation methods, such as a motorized brush or a scrub that contains exfoliating particles.”
Unlike more sensitive skin types, those with oily, thicker skin may need to exfoliate as often as once a day. Pay attention to the effects exfoliating is having to avoid overdoing it.
Oily skin is acne-prone, in which case it is important to consult a board-certified dermatologist before selecting an exfoliation method.
Dr. Lupo says, “More aggressive chemical or mechanical treatments could actually make their condition worse. The same is true of people with rosacea, as many forms of exfoliation may increase facial redness.”
Tips for Success
1. See a dermatologist for any skin concerns you may have. Dermatologists can diagnose and treat skin conditions as well as offer more advanced medical exfoliation techniques.
2. Incorporate exfoliation products and techniques gradually into your routine to ensure there is no irritation or adverse effects. The skin needs time to adapt to changes in any skincare routine.
3. Use a moisturizer after exfoliating. Exfoliating allows skincare products to absorb more fully, so be careful to choose topicals with safe and effective ingredients like Oxygenetix Oxygenating Hydro Matrix. Hydro Matrix is pro-healing and gentle with aloe vera soothing sensitive dry skin and PCA and HLA providing a powerful moisture boost.
4. Protect your skin after exfoliating with an SPF. A fine protective layer is removed when exfoliating dead skin cells away, making it important to protect from the sun’s UV rays. Use Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation to conceal and heal your skin. With an SPF 30 to protect your skin throughout the day and ingredients that allow the skin to breathe, Oxygenating Foundation is a flawless choice. Mix Oxygenating Foundation with Hydro Matrix for a tinted moisturizer that cools, moisturizes, and protects all day.