Exfoliating is a skin care step you should never skip, especially during winter when your dead skin cells tend to build up a bit more than usual. And as exfoliating your skin is so important, it is also crucial to know how to do it the right way.
In this post, we will answer some of your frequently asked questions about exfoliation, and discuss the basic fundamental rules to keep in mind when doing this crucial skin care step.
When is the best time to exfoliate?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the type of exfoliator you use. If you use physical exfoliators (containing ingredients like sugar, salt and coffee grounds), you can exfoliate during your daytime or nighttime skin care routine with no worries at all. On the other hand, if chemical exfoliant is your staple, it is normally recommended to exfoliate at night as these acids can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. But either ways, you should be applying sunscreen daily!
Related article: Exfoliation Explained: Physical VS. Chemical
How often should you exfoliate?
It is recommended that you should only apply exfoliants on your skin 2 – 3 times per week. Going overboard on exfoliation will do your skin more harm than good since you will not only shed the dead skin cells, but also disturb the protective layer of the skin (remember how important your skin barrier is!). As a result, your skin will be more sensitive and prone to irritation and inflammation, including acne, of course.
There are plenty of exfoliating products on the market, including multi-purpose products that contains a lower percentage of exfoliating ingredients. For these products, you should read the instructions carefully to find out how often you should use them. For example, the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner is a toning product which can help exfoliate dead skin cells from the skin surface, while still being gentle enough for everyday use.
Luckily, the signs of over-exfoliation can be visibly recognised so you will know instantly if you have been doing too much. As your skin barrier, or the skin’s suit of armour, is shed constantly, it will eventually be weakened. This can cause harmful bacteria and dirt from the environment to attack your skin easier, leading to all kinds of skin woes such as acne, redness or irritation.
Related article: Over-exfoliated? Here's How You Should Heal Your Skin
If you had suffered from over-exfoliation, after your skin is back in shape, you should adjust your exfoliating process. Switching to a gentler product, like Klairs Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish, a physical exfoliant formulated for gentle scrubbing while moisturising your skin with Shea Butter and Vitamin E, or gentle peeling products like Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea which contains manual exfoliation pads combined with chemical peeling effects and antioxidant properties from green tea serum.
How should you add exfoliator in your skincare routine?
The answer is: right after you cleanse your face. Why? Because exfoliating will clear your pores and help your skin absorb the later treatments better. Just remember, after exfoliating, you should apply toner right away to balance out your skin and allow your skin barrier to work at its optimum.
Do you have other exfoliating tips? Share them with us in the comments!