When it comes to #beautygoals, soft, supple, glowing and healthy skin have got to be right up there. Whether you’ve got 10 steps in your weekly body care routine or only a few, exfoliation should be one of them. Don’t believe me? I speak to skin and nutrition expert Fiona Tuck, Skin Doctors expert Krystel Tucker, and Nivea Skincare expert Robyn Hutch to find out the importance and many benefits of regularly exfoliating your skin.
Exfoliation is essentially the removal of dead skin cells. Exfoliating your skin, whether it be on your face or the rest of your body, instantly makes the skin look and feel smoother. Fiona explains, “Exfoliation removes the build-up of old, dead skin cells, giving the skin an instant pick me up.” Robyn tells us when dead, dull skin cells are removed, your complexion is brightened to reveal healthy, younger skin.
If you’re not seeing visible or drastic results from your regular skin care regimen, it could be because you’re not exfoliating on the reg. “Regular exfoliation will aid the penetration of active skin care ingredients,” Fiona explains. So, in the same way that primer helps your make-up stay on all day, exfoliation helps your additional skin care products (like serums and moisturisers) perform at their best.
“Over the long term, a good exfoliation routine will give you a more even skin tone,” Krystel says, along with immediately giving your skin a bright, soft appearance. Plus, Robyn explains it also, “Helps to visibly reduce skin discolouration and pigmentation as well as fine lines and wrinkles.” If this wasn’t enough, Fiona adds the cherry on top of this glowing skin cake: “Exfoliation encourages new cell production, hydrating and nourishing the skin and thereby decreasing the signs of premature ageing.” Oh, and it also improves circulation #superhero.
Failing to exfoliate
Breakouts, bacne, flaking, rapid ageing, blackheads, congestion. Sounds scary? We hear you. “If exfoliation isn’t part of your routine, you may have issues with clogged pores, congestion and pimples,” says Krystel. Cue flashbacks to your awkward teenage years. The reason you might get a resurgence of acne (on your face or body) if you don’t exfoliate is because, as Fiona points out, “dead skin cells accumulate in the follicle”. Aside from causing breakouts, this build-up of dead skin can also lead to dullness, dryness, flaky skin and, you guessed it, premature ageing. Last but not least, failure to exfoliate means you’re making your skin more susceptible to bacterial infections in your pores. Not ideal!
So, how often should you exfoliate?
Robyn gives it to us straight: “As a general rule of thumb, you should exfoliate once or twice a week, all year round.” As for the ideal time of day, Robyn explains, “Your skin is always regenerating itself but has more time to do this overnight, so it’s always best to exfoliate your skin in the morning to slough away any dead skin.”
Robyn recommends upping your exfoliating game in summer and winter. “The skin is exposed to the summer sun, salt water and sunscreen which can lead to the build-up of dead skin cells and result in excess oil and clogged pores.” As for winter, “Gentle exfoliation will help to repair dry, flaky skin as it will improve product action when applying a moisturiser.”
If you’re prone to congestion, suffer from psoriasis or have sun-damaged skin, exfoliation is particularly important. Having said that, if you have sensitive skin (which is likely if you suffer from these conditions) then be sure to choose an exfoliator that is suitable for sensitive skin. Robyn also reminds us there is such a thing as going overboard. “Exfoliating too often can be detrimental to your skin, causing it to dry out even more, or for those with oily skin – become even oilier.
So, now that you know the importance of exfoliating the skin on your face and body, it’s time to pick the right one for you! For sensitive skin, try NIVEA Face Care Daily Essentials Gentle Exfoliating Face Scrub, Skin Doctors Gamma Hydroxy and Kiehl’s Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub.
If your skin is more on the oily side give Alpha-H Balancing Moisturiser and Gentle Exfoliant, Clinique Exfoliating Scrub and Mary Kay Satin Body Buffing Cream a go.
On the flip side, if you suffer from dry skin you might like BioElixia Exfoliating Body Polish, Garnier Body Beautiful Oil Scrub and The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Africa Ximenia & Salt Scrub.
Last but not least, if you’ve got combination skin then try Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Retexturizing Pads, Ella Baché Earth Enzyme Body Exfoliant and Dermalogica Exfoliating Body Scrub.
Do you exfoliate regularly? What are your favourite exfoliation products?