A radiant and youthful skin will always be the hallmark of beauty and health. Exfoliation is a way to rejuvenate your skin and get that glow all over your body. But what exactly do exfoliates do and is it necessary to include them in your skincare regime?
In this article I will cover what exfoliation is, how to decide your exfoliating routine and discuss safety of exfoliation products.
First, what is Exfoliation?
Our skin is made up of multiple layers of skin cells called epidermis. Exfoliation is the process of removing the outermost layer of skin on your body. It clears away dead cells and impurities in your pores and brings up the new skin underneath.
The process of shedding old skin is natural in all humans and it takes about 28-30 days for the skin to renew itself. As we age, skin shedding process becomes uneven and slower. This could be because of many factors like aging, environmental stress or hormonal imbalance. Needless to say, eating healthy, resting and drinking plenty of water helps in this natural shedding of skin.
Exfoliates aid the natural process of renewing your skin. It brings to the surface skin that is fresh, youthful and radiant. But that’s not all. Below are more compelling reasons to make exfoliation a regular part of your skincare.
Do I Really Need to Exfoliate?
Exfoliators do much more than remove dead skin. Textured scrubs and massaging improve blood circulation and move lymph underneath the skin. This also helps in removing cellulite deposits. The result is a smooth and glowing skin.
New skin readily absorbs moisturizers and other skin care products so that your skin care becomes more effective.
Many of the exfoliators have other beneficial ingredients such as hydrating agents, pH balancers, nutrients and anti-ageing elements.
Besides these benefits, the experience of caring for your skin in itself is very stratifying and healing.
What type of Exfoliator Should I Choose?
From activated charcoal to herbal scrubs, there are many skin exfoliators out there. It can be overwhelming to choose from so many options, especially when it’s your skin that is at stake.
An easy way to narrow down on exfoliators is to choose them based on your skin type. There are two broad categories of exfoliators – mechanical and chemical.
The mechanical ones remove your dead skin by scrubbing action of granules or micro particles. These are suitable for normal, oily and combination skin. Avoid these if you have acne prone skin or dry skin.
Chemical exfoliators remove the dead skin by weakening the dead cells and dissolving them. These will work best for most acne prone skin. Chemical exfoliators are of two types namely – AHA (water soluble) and BHA (Oil soluble). AHA are a good option for dry skin, although if you have a flaky skin, micro granules may work for you as well.
BHA and clay masks are great for oily skin.
If you have a sensitive skin you have to be a lot more careful with products having artificial ingredients. Fragrances and preservatives are most likely to cause break outs on sensitive skin. Even for a normal skin type its best to avoid most artificial ingredients.
Mother Nature has gifted us with plenty of textured exfoliators and cleansing ingredients. If you are worried about harmful preservatives and irritants in skin care products, you have many options.
Chemicals in cosmetics and skincare products is a concern for anyone who is health and safety conscious. There aren’t many conclusive study on most of the chemical dosages used in these products. Nonetheless they do cause irritation and issues for many people. These could be mild irritants at best or carcinogenic agents at worst. In any case it’s better to avoid these especially when we do have organic and 100% natural exfoliators like the Coffee Body Polish by Shae.
As a thumb rule avoid preservatives like parabens and formaldehyde; harsh cleansing agents like sulphates; fragrances and neurotoxic ingredients like aluminum and lead.
Instead here are natural ingredients you should look for in a healing and safe exfoliation regime:
- Sugar – Sugar granules not only scrub away dead skin gently but also hydrate the skin as sugar has humectant properties (meaning that it attracts and retains moisture)
- Salts – Salt is a great scrub to remove flaky dry skin. It is also said to have healing properties. Himalayan salt is one of the natural salts used for a luxurious exfoliating experience.
- Oats – Oats with milk work wonders for sensitive skin. Oats are gentle and naturally soothing, making it a great ingredient for a face exfoliant.
- Rice – Ground rice can remove dead cells effectively. It is also said to have whitening properties making it perfect for a post beach holiday exfoliation. Its best used as a body scrub and can be harsh for the delicate skin on the face.
- Citrus – Citrus is a natural chemical exfoliant. It has AHA that reduces dark spots and blemishes too.
- Natural Oils and Butter – Moisturizing and soothing agents are essential in an exfoliant. Some of the natural moisturizers used in exfoliants are coconut oil, shea butter, sesame oil, argan oil and mango butter.
- Coffee – Caffeine has methylxanthine that breaks down fat stores under skin and fights cellulite. Coffee is a popular ingredient in organic body scrubs due to this property.
Exfoliation aids the natural renewal process of your skin. A healthy lifestyle and regular exfoliation will keep your skin radiant, youthful and even toned. Be sure to use a soothing exfoliant according to your skin type.
Since exfoliation affects your tender new skin, you need to be extra careful about chemical irritants and harmful ingredients. Nurturing and gentle natural options like sugar scrubs and coffee body polish are your best bet for a beautiful skin in the long run.