Why Your Skin Needs Exfoliation

Any skincare expert will tell you that cleansing, toning, and moisturising isn’t enough. If you really want to take your skincare routine up a notch, exfoliation is a must. For many people, it’s actually their favourite skincare step. For those that haven’t tried it, you have no idea how satisfying it can be to slough off all the dirt on your face and be left with skin as soft as a baby’s. So if you’ve never exfoliated before, or are perhaps nervous about adding a new step to your skincare regimen, let us put your mind at least. Below, we highlight some of the top benefits of exfoliation and give you some tips on the best ways to add it to your routine. 


What is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation refers to the process of removing dirt and dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. However, there are two different ways to go about this process. Both physical and chemical exfoliants exist. The former is when you use a product or tool that requires you to manually scrub your skin. Examples of this are a facial scrub or loofah. On the flip side is chemical exfoliation, which uses retinols or hydroxy acids such as alpha hydroxy acids, to rid your skin of dirt and bacteria simply by applying a particular skincare product to your skin. 


Why Your Skin Needs It

Although your skin cells naturally regenerate every 30 days, dead skin cells don’t always shed fully. This means that you’re left with them on your face that can result in dry, flaky patches of skin and clogged pores. That is where exfoliation comes in. Exfoliation aids this regeneration process by ensuring all the dirt and dead skin cells that have built up on the surface of your skin are removed. Not only does this result in softer skin, but also a clearer complexion. A few of the specific benefits of exfoliation are as follows:

  • Exfoliation unclogs pores: The act of exfoliating your skin is one of the best ways to unclog pores. Scrubbing away all those leftover dead skin cells and dirt guarantees that it doesn’t make its way into your pores, which we all know can wreak havoc on one’s complexion.
  • Exfoliation fights acne: This benefit relates to the first. One of the most common causes of acne is clogged pores. Pores get clogged when your glands secrete sebum (the oil your body naturally produces) and that oil has nowhere to go because the skin’s surface is covered in debris, such as dead skin cells or dirt. The result? The oil gets “stuck” under the skin, causing blackheads or whiteheads to appear. Using an exfoliant helps keep the pores clear, providing a place for the oil to escape and preventing acne. If you have acne-prone skin, chemical exfoliants are generally recommended as they are gentler on the skin and are less likely to result in redness or irritation. 
  • Exfoliation evens skin tone: In addition to removing dry and dead skin cells, exfoliation also works to smooth out the texture of the skin. This makes it appear brighter, as well as more uniform and even. So if you’re someone who suffers from hyperpigmentation, dark spots, or even acne scars, exfoliation can help. 
  • Exfoliation enables other skincare products to penetrate deeper into the skin: This is one of our favourite benefits. As mentioned above, exfoliating your skin helps unclog pores. While this is certainly great for certain skin conditions like acne, it also aids in the rest of your skincare routine. That is because when your skin is clean and your pores are open, the other skincare products you apply will have a much easier time penetrating the skin. The deeper a product is able to penetrate, the more effective it will be. Thus, exfoliating regularly can actually help the other skincare products in your arsenal, like serums or moisturisers, become even more powerful. 

  • How to Start Exfoliating

    If you have sensitive skin and you’ve never exfoliated before, it’s best to start off easy. Remember, both chemical and physical exfoliants are much harsher on the skin than other skincare products, so you shouldn’t treat exfoliation like cleansing or moisturising. Generally speaking, unless your skin is extremely oily, exfoliation should not be a daily occurrence. For normal or dry skin, aim for two to three times a week with a physical exfoliant or one to three times a week for a chemical exfoliant. Ultimately, striking a balance where you can unclog your pores without leaving your skin dry or irritated is key.