Did you know that your skin is constantly shedding dead cells? Your body gets rid of 30,000 to 40,000 old skin cells every day! That means the average person sheds approximately 1 1/2 Ibs of dead skin cells each year. With so much natural turnover, your skin needs a little help sloughing off the dead weight to reveal smooth fresh skin below. Cleansers remove dirt and oil from the skin, but they don’t always remove all of the dead skin cells. To effectively slough off dead cells you need to use an exfoliator.
Winter is the perfect time to add an exfoliator to your skin care regimen. With colder temperatures and lower humidity, skin cells can dry out and accumulate on the skin’s surface. This can lead to dull looking skin and clogged pores that can lead to a break outs on your face, chest, back. Read on to learn how to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy from head to toe.
How often should you exfoliate:
Exfoliating has important health benefits year round, not just in winter. How often you should exfoliate will differ based on the body part and your skin type. The goal of exfoliation is to leave skin feeling softer and looking healthier. Over-exfoliating could end up doing more harm than good to your skin.
There’s a fine line between not exfoliating your facial skin enough and exfoliating too much. Not enough – you could end up with dull skin and acne. Too much and you can end up with red, irritated skin. The skin on your face is more delicate and should be exfoliated less often then the body. People with normal skin type can handle exfoliating 2 times per week. Those with dry or sensitive skin should only exfoliate 1 time per week. If you have extremely sensitive skin you need to be careful not to overdo exfoliation. It can lead to irritation and scarring. Those with extremely oily skin may need to exfoliate more often to clear pores.
While exfoliating helps to keep acne in check, excessive rubbing or using harsh exfoliants can lead to irritation and increase in acne. To ensure you don’t cross the line, pay attention to your skin. If it is becoming overly dry or irritated, scale back on the number of days you exfoliate or try a gentler exfoliator. Avoid any type of exfoliation near your eyes. The skin near your eyes is far too sensitive and doesn’t need exfoliation.
In addition to helping prevent acne on the body, exfoliation can also help you avoid ingrown hairs by preventing dead skin cells from clogging follicles where you’ve shaved or waxed. It can also help even out skin tone and keep your skin hydrated and soft. Skin on the body can handle a bit more exfoliation then the face. People with normal skin can exfoliate 2-3 times per week. Those with sensitive skin may need less.
As with the face, pay attention to how the skin on your body reacts. If it gets overly dry or red, you know it’s time to cut back on the number of days, ease up on how vigorously you are scrubbing or opt for a more gentle form of exfoliation.
Types of exfoliation
There are 2 types of exfoliation, physical and chemical.
Physical exfoliation, also known as mechanical, involves physically scrubbing the skin with a tool or scrub to remove dead skin cells. Tools such as microfiber cloths, adhesive exfoliating sheets and hand held devices like Clarisonic are gentle enough to use on your face. More abrasive materials such as sloughing sponges and loofahs should only be used on your body. The tough skin on your feet may require and even harsher tool such as a pumice stone or file to remove dead skin from heels.
Physical exfoliant scrubs that include gentle exfoliating micro beads, or ingredients like oatmeal are suitable for use on your face or body. Scrubs made with salt, sugar, crushed apricot kernel, almond shells or other tiny granules are great for exfoliating the body, but the particles can scratch the face.
Chemical exfoliators are available for at home use in a scrub form as well as in professional treatments. Chemical exfoliators contain acids, which loosen and lift dead cells, leaving new, vibrant skin behind. Studies have shown that chemical exfoliators including hyroxy acids like Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid (better for dry skin) and Salicylic Acid (best for acne) can also deliver results in improved skin texture and a reduction in fine lines and hyperpigmentation. Those that contain Retinol have also been found to improve the visible signs of photoaging as well as normal chronological aging. Chemical exfoliators can be more drying to skin then physical exfoliators, so you may need to limit usage to 1 time per week.
How to use:
Your skin is your largest organ. It requires special attention to keep it looking and feeling great. Incorporating an exfoliator into your regimen will help along the removal of dead skin cells and leave your skin with a healthy glow.
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