Let’s Talk About Exfoliation


If you think about it, exfoliants look really good on paper—they claim to remove dead skin cells, reduce breakouts, and improve skin absorption, making skin look better than ever. It feels ultra-satisfying too, especially after sloughing off all the dirt with a gritty cleanser that makes your skin look poreless, glassy, and tight.


Unfortunately, a doll-like face means that you’re exfoliating the wrong way. Tight and shiny skin means that your skin has been stripped of all its moisture and that dead cells are building up! Scrubs are not meant for everyday use, and when you do use them it’s important to make sure that they are gentle.

There are two ways to exfoliate: You can do it physically, or chemically. Physical exfoliation gets a bad rep because it involves scrubbing the skin, and bad products often cause redness and irritation. These types of exfoliators shouldn’t be used on flaked or sensitive skin with active breakouts, and should also only be used up to twice a week. When done correctly, physical exfoliators can do some real good; but your success is contingent on what product you’re using. For cleansers, make sure to get the type that contains small beads that melt into your skin. Gritty beads cause microdermabrasion, and these usually do not degrade, which is bad for the environment. If you’re not into scrubs but still want the pros of exfoliation, try using a washcloth designed for sensitive skin.

Chemical exfoliation uses alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHA/BHA) to remove dead skin, and usage is on a case-to-case basis. Gentler than physical exfoliation, the acids of these kinds of products loosen up the bonds that keep your dead skin cells together. AHA can also give the skin some extra moisture, which is good for those with skin on the drier side. If you’ve got the budget, a chemical exfoliator is a no-brainer!


Monitoring your skin is an important step when it comes exfoliating. We know that it can be addicting with its almost-immediate effects, but that irritated skin can’t lie and is there are a reason—it’s protecting the new delicate skin that’s growing. Taking off this protective layer will cause you a lot of pain and maybe even scarring, which you do not want.

The logical next step to getting dried out skin back on track seems to be loading up on the lotions and creams, but hold that thought! Your skin’s now more sensitive to your regular products, so make sure to natural oils and mineral or organic makeup.

Switching out your creams in favour of oils actually gives your skin an edge when it comes to healing. The lipids in the oils reinforce the stratum corneum, the layer of skin that keeps the harsh elements at bay and preserves moisture, giving your skin a chance to heal without scarring.

The road to good skin after a bout with over-exfoliation is a bumpy one, make sure not to overdo it!

Do you have an experience with over-exfoliation? Let us know in the comments below! #beautybytes

Featured image via AHCO Foods.