CR’s Guide to Exfoliating Your Face

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Most forays into exfoliation begin with a single, hormonal acne-induced drugstore purchase of a certain gritty, apricot-smelling scrub. And while, buff as we might, the wash never seemed to scratch the acne off our faces completely, it did introduce us to the wonders that exfoliation can do—and the havoc that over-exfoliation can have on our skin. Far past the days of pubescent breakouts, we’re taking a look at exfoliation for what it is (when used correctly!): a dead skin-sloughing savior.

Exfoliants break down into two general categories: physical and chemical. The latter uses ingredients such as an acid that help dissolve the connections between skin cells so they can be shed from the surface of the skin. Meanwhile, physical exfoliators use gritty ingredients to scratch the skin’s surface and physically remove these cells. All exfoliation generally does the same thing—“both are used to remove dead skin cells from the surface,“ says Dr. Leslie Baumann, dermatologist and author. „This helps the skin reflect light, making it more radiant, and helps remove dark patches of skin by removing pigmented cells.“

How exactly you choose to exfoliate depends on your skin type, according to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Dermatology Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital. For oily or acne-prone skin, Zeichner suggests using a chemical exfoliator that contains salicylic acid. This beta hydroxy acid (BHA) helps remove excess oil from the skin and penetrates into the follicles. Meanwhile, for duller skin, he suggests an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) like colic acid that will exfoliate and stimulate collagen production. Today, many cult-favorite chemical exfoliants combine the two, like the tried and true Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum and Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment. For sensitive skin, Zeichner suggests sticking to a gentle, manual exfoliator like Tatcha’s Rice Enzyme Powder, as you have control over how much pressure is applied to the skin (not much is needed!).

However, don’t feel like you need to stick to just one type. Dr. Shari Marchbein, New York Board Certified Dermatologist, says you can use both physical and chemical exfoliation. Some products, like Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliation Treatment feature both physical and chemical properties that help to slough away dead skin. Especially if you don’t have sensitive skin, Marchbein suggests using both a chemical exfoliant and some sort of gritty scrub.

If you’ve held off on the exfoliation trend until now, start slowly. It’s important to note that over-exfoliation is real, and it is not pretty. „Over-exfoliation means disruption of the outer skin layer with microscopic cracks, inflammation, and loss of skin hydrations,“ says Zeichner. Dr. Marchbein warns that over-exfoliation can even worsen acne. Dr. Baumann suggests exfoliating one to two times weekly, while Zeichner suggests starting around every other day and building up slowly. Marchbein says it’s not a one-size-fits-all formula, but in general she suggests once or twice a week for sensitive skin and every other day or daily for less sensitive skin.

And despite popular belief, exfoliation should not be a discomfort. „No matter what type of exfoliating product you are using, if you develop redness, irritation, burning, or singing, immediately remove the product from your skin,“ Zeichner warns. In short: stay safe, find what works for you, exfoliate weekly (without overdoing it), and your skin will thank you.

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createdAt:Mon, 30 Jul 2018 17:06:07 +0000
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