You’ve seen and heard that you should be exfoliating at least your face regularly to keep your skin looking radiant and fresh, but did you know there’s a way to do it wrong? Exfoliation is a helpful habit but can cause irritation, discomfort, and even breakouts if you're not taking your specific skin type into account when looking for the best exfoliating products. Find out all you need to know about body exfoliation and how to do it right for your unique skin type.
Why Should You Exfoliate Your Skin?
The simple practicality behind exfoliation is that your skin is constantly cycling through cells at the epithelium - or surface of the skin - as older cells die off and are replaced by new, healthy ones. This means that, over time, dead skin cells can build up on the surface of the skin, which can lead to clogged pores and dull skin no matter what your skin type.
Exfoliation gets rid of those dead cells and other impurities that your normal daily cleansing and moisturizing routine can miss. This helps keep skin looking blemish-free while revealing the appearance of radiant skin underneath. The body also goes through a lot of wear and tear, which can lead to rough skin texture. The exfoliation process can give you smoother skin and protect the skin barrier from future damage.
When Exfoliation is Bad For Your Skin
The complication with exfoliation is that doing it every day or using the wrong kind of product can actually be bad for your skin. Exfoliation can be tough on the skin, as its goal is physically or chemically removing dead skin cells. Doing this too often or too aggressively can strip the body of its natural oil barrier, causing skin irritation or even inflammation. This, in turn, can cause quicker skin aging and interrupt the natural cycle of cell turnover.
Physical Exfoliation vs. Chemical Exfoliation
There are multiple ways to exfoliate your skin: physically sloughing off skin cells with natural ingredients like salt, sugar, or polished walnut shell fragments, or chemically dissolving the upper layer(s) of skin with gentle acids like glycolic acid. There are benefits and specific uses of each type, and variations within each type to customize your skincare routine to your unique skin type and concerns.
What is Physical Exfoliation?
Physical skin exfoliation uses small particles to remove dead skin cells and other debris. They can be irritating to the skin when used too aggressively, so make sure not to rub too hard when using physical exfoliants. Depending on your preference for scent and feel, Epicuren Discovery offers three great body scrubs for exfoliating your body: Cinnamon Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Polish, Mint Renewal White Sand Body Polish, and Papaya Pineapple Body Scrub for a tropical experience.
What is Chemical Exfoliation?
To exfoliate the skin chemically, you can use either alpha or beta hydroxy acids or a blend of both, these are classes of molecules that are naturally derived. Popular chemical exfoliants include glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid. Combining different acids leads to different results, and some are better for some skin types than others.
How Often to Exfoliate by Skin Type
As you probably know, different skin types require different skincare products and habits, which holds true when it comes to exfoliation as well.
Dry or Sensitive Skin
People with sensitive skin or overly dry skin should be cautious when exfoliating, as doing it too often or too harshly can irritate and harm skin rather than benefit it. This means they should stick to exfoliating at most once per week with a gentle exfoliator, and sensitive skin types may need to stick with an enzyme treatment rather than manual exfoliation.
Oily or Acne-Prone Skin
If you’re prone to breakouts, you may benefit from exfoliating up to three times per week with your preferred exfoliant. Physical exfoliants are a no-fail solution to clearing out pores and getting rid of excess oil, and blemish-prone skin may also benefit from salicylic acid.
Those with combination skin have the most freedom when it comes to exfoliating, essentially, you can do whatever feels right for your skin, paying attention to its moisture level after using a particular method of exfoliation. Like oily skin, feel free to exfoliate two to three times per week.
Luxurious Exfoliants from Epicuren Discovery
Epicuren Discovery carries some of the highest-quality skincare products you can find without needing a prescription. Our line of professional-grade exfoliants can give you a spa-like experience without having to leave your home. Get glowing skin with a regular exfoliation routine and check out what other products match your unique skin type by taking our Skin Quiz today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it okay to exfoliate your body every day?
Most people probably shouldn’t exfoliate every day, as this can cause your skin to become dry and irritated. Depending on your skin type and the exfoliant you choose, you should exfoliate once or twice per week.
How often should you fully exfoliate your body?
Your face benefits greatly from regular exfoliation, and your whole body can be exfoliated up to three times a week for people who want the appearance of soft, smooth skin all over.
Do you exfoliate before or after washing your body?
You should exfoliate your body after washing it gently with a mild cleanser.
What happens if you don't exfoliate your body?
Dead skin cells and calluses can build up in areas like your feet, knees, and elbows, and contribute to a dull, dry look in these areas. Exfoliating helps scrape away these buildups for a smoother, even-looking skin tone.