Tip # 2.
Exfoliate your skin.
And not with grainy scratchy products like apricot scrubs. Trust me, I know from experience (Did I already mention I was a child of the 90’s already? Hey-O St. Ives!) These types of products will cause micro-tears on the surface of your skin which will cause your skin to look flaky and dull over time. Instead, use products that have either round beads or natural sugars to exfoliate and dissolve dead skin cells. This helps to shed layers of dead skin so your pores don’t get congested and clogged and it leaves your skin clearer and fresher. On top of that, when you don’t have layers of gunky old skin on the surface, your moisturizer is then able to actually penetrate and hydrate your skin.
Exfoliating around 3 times a week is ideal. However, be careful not to over-exfoliate your skin as that can irritate sensitive skins and aggravate oily acne-ic skins. Exfoliating every two to three days is enough.
There are two different types of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation is when you are using something physically abrasive when to scrub the skin. Loofahs, facial scrubs, pumice, sugar or salt crystals are examples of this. Microdermabrasion is also a type of mechanical exfoliation using finely ground crystal or diamond and a suction type machine to remove dead skin cells.
The second type, chemical exfoliation is just that, chemicals. This may include glycolic acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA’s), BHA’s, salicylic acid, or enzymes. These chemicals are used to loosen the glue that holds your dead skins cells together and remove them.
I find I like to vary the types of exfoliation I use. I like to have products that both chemically and mechanically exfoliate my skin. People that are prone to breakouts may have better luck with chemical types as the mechanical types may aggravate skin because of the scrubbing action.
These are some of my favorites:
MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator – I love this. Don’t be turned off by the black color. It has real volcanic ash in it which exfoliates the skin at a very fine level as well as silica and sugar. When MAC first re-released this about a year ago, it was just limited edition. And having had a tube before and using it oh-so-sparingly because I loved it and since it was limited, I scooped up 3 tubes of this – although now they’ve made this product permanent. Yay! Maybe it’s because of the black color, but I prefer to use this product in the shower. I usually use this a couple times a week. This one is really great for when you’re skin’s a little on the flaky side as I find it takes care of it in one fell swoop. Well, maybe two.
Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser – I’ve tried this product in the past and I have to say, I really liked it. This is a cleanser and an exfoliator all in one and it contains both AHA’s and sugar crystals for exfoliation. If you want to simplify your routine, this product (at the risk of sounding cliche) really kills two birds with one stone. If I didn’t already have a rotation of cleansers and exfoliators that I am quite happy with, I would definitely replenish this jar of essential oil-packed goodness.
NeoStrata Toning Solution – I just recently started using this. I have it in level one. If you haven’t checked out Neo Strata products before, I would highly recommend looking into them because they really are effective. This particular product has glycolic acid and I use it just like a toner after cleansing my skin and then follow with my regular moisturizer. I bought this with Neo Strata’s Oil Free Smoothing Lotion (non-daytime) and have been using this more just because the oil free lotion also has glycolic acid and I find using both all the time to be a little too much as you are supposed to gradually build up tolerance when beginning to use products with glycolic acid. I’ve been noticing that my skin is much brighter and clearer since using this and my breakouts are minimizing and it has been clearing up some congestion on my chin.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – For those obsessed with exfoliation. I know about you. And it’s okay. You’re in good hands for this one. This is a mild exfoliant that can be used everyday. This one starts out as a powder and your pour a little in your hand and mix a bit of water with it and massage it on your skin and then wash it off. It’s rice-based and when you add water, it activates the enzymes in it (Papain, rice and salicylic acid) so it is a combination of both a mechanical and chemical exfoliant.
G.M. Collin Phytoaromatic Gommage – This can be used as both a scrub or a mask. I prefer to use this one as a mask. If my skin has been behaving badly, I will mask up with this at night, causing my husband to groan about my ‘green face’ – yes it is green. But after I wash it off and moisturize, I wake up in the morning with brighter, happier skin. On the website it says that it has essential oils that provide an antimicrobial effect which balances and purifies the skin. I’ve been using this product here and there for the last 5 years whenever my skin needs a boost.
Fresh Sugar Face Polish – So I haven’t tried this one before but I’ve heard good things about this so I am planning on trying this at some point…if I ever run out of the MAC Volcanic Ash (I still have two tubes in my drawer!). This could be a good option if you’re looking for something else to try. It’s key ingredients are brown sugar, wild strawberry seeds, grapeseed and plum seed oil.
Lush Buffy the Backside Slayer – So this one isn’t a face exfoliant. It’s for the body. But I probably won’t be talking about body scrubs any time soon so I thought I would mention this one here. It’s a body butter and exfoliant all in one. You just massage a little bit of the bar over your wet skin in the shower and scrub a bit more with your hands and then rinse it off and pat yourself dry. The cocoa butter and shea butter in it will leave you with smooth, moisturized skin. I have pretty dry skin so I love how soft my skin feels after using this.
So that’s it for Tip # 2. Exfoliate! Exfoliate! Exfoliate!
I really think that exfoliation is one of the most important steps for getting healthy glowing skin. It is one that is often forgotten about as it is not in most people’s skin care regimes. But it is one that will eventually make a big difference!