It’s time to turn your attention to preparing your skin for the sunnier days ahead – exfoliation! There are many different ways to exfoliate your skin, but it is important to know which exfoliant is best for your skin’s individual needs.
There are plenty of products on the market that can be too abrasive and actually do more harm than good… so it’s important to get a recommendation from one of our qualified beauty therapists to ensure you are using the right products to achieve the best results for your skin.
Benefits of Exfoliation
- Prepares your skin for further treatment and allow your serums and lotions to penetrate deeper
- Increases cellular turnover
- Creates an even skin tone
- Increases blood circulation and lymphatic drainage
- Stimulates collagen
Types of exfoliants and how they work
Chemicals exfoliants can come in the forms of acids or enzymes.
Let’s break it down. There are 2 types of acids used in skin care: AHA’s and BHA’s.
AHA’s, or Alpha Hydroxy Acids, such as glycolic, lactic, malic and citric acid are derived from sugary fruits, they are water soluble and they do most of their work on the superficial layer on the skin.
BHA’s, or Beta Hydroxy Acids, such as salicylic acid, are oil-soluble, meaning they can penetrate deeper into the pores. These tend to be great for acne prone skin because they clean out the excess sebum produces through your pores. Both types of Hydroxy Acids speed up cell turnover, which slows with age. They both can help reduce pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and more.
Don’t get too carried away when introducing a chemical exfoliant into your skincare regime as over-use will damage the skins barrier function, leaving your skin red, irritated and dry.
Particularly if you’re a sensitive skin type, you must ensure you are introducing this product slowly to ease your skin into it. Sun protection is a MUST when using AHA’s and BHA’s as the effects make your skin much more sensitive to the sun. Apply sunscreen daily to avoid sun damage, age spots and pre-mature ageing.
Enzymes are chemicals that work specifically by breaking down the keratin protein found in the dead skin cells on the upper layers of the skin. They are effective exfoliants and can be more gentle than other exfoliants like scrubs, and also work as an anti-inflammatory. Enzymes are great for sensitive skins as they have less potential to damage your skin barrier than acids, and they don’t aggravate the skin by scrubbing.
A mechanical exfoliant is one where there is a physical component used such as corn cob meal, rice bran, jojoba beads or oatmeal. These most commonly used granules are gentle on your skin. Steer clear of ground up nut shells as they will cause micro tears on the skins surface…
How often should I exfoliate?
Exfoliate 1-3 times per week depending on the type of skin you have. For sensitive skin once a week is perfect, you don’t want to irritate or dehydrate your skin from over exfoliation. 3 times a week is fantastic for thick, tougher skin. Exfoliate after you cleanse at night time as your skin will regenerate faster overnight.
Which exfoliant should I use?
As a general rule:
Dry dull skin – a mechanical exfoliant like the Gentle Exfoliating cleanser
Oily, problematic skin – BHA’s like the Clarigel Exfoliating Cleanser
Sensitive skin – an enzyme exfoliant like the Enzymo-Spherides Peeling Cream
It is important to hydrate your skin with a high-quality serum and moisturiser after exfoliating, to nourish and protect.
See the body treatments we offer at Lux Spa & Wellness, including our body wraps and exfoliations, here.