Exfoliating within your weekly skincare regime can make your other products go further, last longer and therefore save you money. Fact. Not to mention the skin health benefits. Read on and I’ll show you how…
Our skin sheds naturally, all by itself. Things like friction speed up this process: just the movement of your clothes against your skin dislodges millions of skin cells everyday. This natural process of skin cell shedding is called desquamation. Something we can do to (manually or chemically) remove dead skin cells is called exfoliation. Including this as part of your weekly skincare will dramatically improve the condition and appearance of your skin, plus it will also help you get the best benefits and value out of other skincare products in your regime.
The top most layer of our skin (the layer that we see on the outside) is the layer that’s almost all dead and getting ready to flake off (if it isn’t already). It can make our skin look dull and lacklustre. No amount of moisturiser or pearlescent primer will brighten those babies up. But under that layer, there are multiple other layers of skin cells that are living, healthy, plump, juicy little things that actually still benefit from the absorption of products.
If we exfoliate, we do a whole lot of good in one fell swoop. We’ll stimulate blood supply, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the living skin cells quicker, so that they work more efficiently. We’ll remove the dead skin cells to reveal the healthier, living cells beneath, giving our skin a brighter, healthier glow. By removing the dead skin cells, we’re also actually removing all the useless cells that don’t enjoy or make use of the products we put on our skin, so these products will better reach the living skin cells below, where they’re needed. The smooth skin you’re left with after exfoliation is a dream for make-up application too: it’ll look more even and flawless. If you moisturise but don’t exfoliate, your moisturiser is essentially sitting on top of a dead barrier and not doing what it was designed to do for you = a waste of money. If you exfoliate, you’ll also get away with using less product too. Win/win.
There are so many different forms of exfoliation out there, it can be so tricky to know what’s right for you. Perhaps people don’t even consider that there is a right and wrong form of exfoliation for them… Choose something too stripping and your skin will react angrily, perhaps feeling tight, looking dry and feeling sore, itchy and sensitised. Choose something too gentle and you won’t feel the difference, you’ll be wasting your money and you won’t reap the rewards. Generally speaking, there are two types of exfoliants:
- Physical (abrasive) exfoliants (that scrub or scuff off the dead skin cells)
- Chemical exfoliants (that have active ingredients to dissolve and dislodge dead skin cells)
Being a beauty-product-hoarding-obsessive, I’ve tried loads of different exfoliants in my time. I personally love a good scrub (and would happily use sandpaper if it didn’t draw blood!) but my facial skin isn’t so keen on the abrasive type. In my late teens and early twenties, my skin was at its oiliest and I just put it down to my age. At the time I was using St Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub, which I loved the scrubby-ness of and I happily polished my face with this stuff every other day (good god)!!! Turns out, I was over doing it and by stopping using this quite so frequently I reduced my oiliness. Once or twice a week (tops) was plenty but even that would be too much for me these days (getting older!).
Currently I’m using Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which looks (believe it or not) like a powder. When mixed with water it creates a beautifully smooth paste, with no abrasive action whatsoever. Instead, this is known as a chemical exfoliant. Papain, rice enzymes and salycilic acid work together to munch away at the glue that holds your dead skin cells on, gently releasing them to be rinsed away, revealing beautifully smooth skin. Despite what the name suggests, I find using this twice a week is perfect for me. I think it’s important to test out different frequencies of using products; just because the name of a product says “daily”, you shouldn’t feel obliged to follow that, as it might not suit you. Plus, if you do prefer to use it less frequently, you’ll make it last longer!
The skin on my body on the other hand really benefits from a good rub down, although I haven’t found many salt or sugar based scrubs that I get on with. I normally exfoliate my body in the bath or shower and find that, upon contact with water, most salt and sugar scrubs just dissolve and you’re left with no more scrubbing action, whereas I might’ve like to continue a bit longer! So I try to find products that have natural abrasive particals in them that won’t disappear in water and I’m currently loving the Coconut Exfoliating Cream Body Scrub by The Body Shop (or The Shody Bop, as I’ve always called it!):
I’ve also loved Life’s A Beach by Lush, which is made from sand – hurrah! Really scrubby, I love it! It also contains sea salt and smells sweetly with the addition of vanilla, tonka, gardenia and jasmine. Sand as an ingredient is a fantastic thing as it just keeps going and going, so you can scrub away for as little or as long as your heart desires, customising your body exfoliation to suit you.
A gentler body exfoliant I’ve tried that’s suited for more frequent use (the title suggests daily) is Champney’s Citrus Blush Enlivening Daily Scrub:
Now surprise surprise, this is a sugar AND salt scrub! But I find it stays nice and scrubby and the granules are fine; not too abrasive on the skin, which is why I’m happy to use it more frequently (although not daily: I don’t want to get through the bottle too quickly and I just don’t fee the need). It contains lemon and orange oils, so it smells delicious!
The professional in me can’t not mention how important it is to moisturise after exfoliation. The havoc it could play with your skin if you get a bit scrub happy and don’t moisturise is quite uncomfortable, especially this cold time of year! I recently posted about the basics of skincare and, in this post I explain the whys and wherefores of it, so please check it out, as it’s quite closely linked to today’s post:
I hope this post has been informative and perhaps explained a little about the idea behind exfoliating and what it can do for our skin. If you’d like to receive my posts to your inbox then subscribe and you won’t miss out! Also please check out my YouTube channel: Lady Eversmith where I upload all my videos on these topics and more!
I’m interested to know, what’s your experience with exfoliation: are you a lover? And what are your favourite products?
Champney’s Citrus Blush Enlivening Daily Scrub, link to product and image obtained from: http://m.boots.com/h5/cat_hub?path=%2Fen%2FChampneys-Citrus-Blush-Enlivening-Daily-Scrub-250ml_1571738%2F&unCountry=uk
St Ives Invigorating Apricot scrub, link to product and image obtained from: http://m.boots.com/h5/cat_hub?unCountry=uk&path=%2Fen%2FSt-Ives-Invigorating-Apricot-Scrub-150ml_1110525%2F
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, link to product and image obtained from: http://www.dermalogica.co.uk/uk/html/products/daily-microfoliant-11.html
Lush Life’s A Beach, product link and image obtained from: https://uk.lush.com/products/lifes-beach
The Body Shop Coconut Exfoliating Cream Body Scrub, link to product and image obtained from: https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/range/view-all/coconut-exfoliating-cream-body-scrub/p/p000725?utm_source=Google_PLA&utm_medium=sem_brd&utm_campaign=161004_PXShoppingBrandBodycare&utm_term=%7BKeyWordTerm%7D&utm_content=GenericTrade&gclid=CKLlh9OlgdECFW4R0wodPrsBTw&dclid=COT3o9OlgdECFUSlUQodoSAGWg