Are you exfoliating your face all wrong? Here are 3 do's and 1 don't

Your skin is constantly renewing itself, but you can’t see that new glowing layer unless you get rid of the old cells. That’s why, for  radiant results, exfoliation is as important as cleansing and moisturizing. But the task can be tricky. Choose the wrong treatment or technique, and it can damage your skin. So avoid pursuing the newest, flashiest formulation and consider these practical points to find the best regimen for your skin.

Do check the ingredients on your moisturizers and serums. Some skin-care products, such as acne cleansers or night creams, have ingredients that can make skin more sensitive than usual. For instance, if any of the active ingredients end in the word “acid,” then be extra careful—these components also exist in chemical exfoliants (i.e., the kind that uses an acid or enzyme to loosen the bonds that make dead cells stick). Spot test your exfoliator before using it on your entire face. Inadvertently doubling up on exfoliating ingredients can end up in dryness, redness, flaking, or general irritation. When in doubt, consult your dermatologist.

Do be extra-careful when exfoliating acne-prone skin. In acne-prone skin, dead skin layers are slow to slough off, and as a result, they plug up pores and result in acne. Yet, this skin type is also very sensitive. (And as we learned above, certain acne treatments can make skin even more sensitive.) You may even need to resort to something extremely mild—like a soft washcloth or chemical exfoliators labeled as gentle.

Don’t overdo it. Dead skin cells stick to the surface, not deep beneath, so gentle pressure is all you need. Apply a small amount and use fingertips to apply in small circular motions. Stick to a once-a-week regimen, and avoid harsher ingredients on the days you’re exfoliating.

Do follow up with moisturizer. The new skin is prone to dryness, so pat your skin dry until it’s only slightly damp, and add a layer of a gentle hydrating moisturizer (such as Calendula Nourish).

(Photo by Mareefe from Pexels)
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