Exfoliation implies getting rid of the old dead cells on the skin in order to reveal the smooth skin lying underneath it. The exfoliate definition states that there are many types of exfoliating means out there. Mechanical or chemical methods can be used both on the face and the body to get rid of unappealing flakes that make the skin look dull.
Exfoliating is an essential step in any rigorous beauty routine. If you want to properly tend to your body, consider removing dead skin cells before cleansing, toning and moisturizing your skin. Dermatologists even argue that a good exfoliator will enable serums and creams to do their jobs tenfold better. These can easily penetrate the skin and the active ingredients can thoroughly nourish the epidermis.
How to Exfoliate Dry Skin: Different Methods of Exfoliation
Any skin treatment should start off with proper exfoliation. To learn how to exfoliate your skin, you should first learn about the different methods you can choose from.
1. Mechanical Exfoliation
With a self-explanatory name, mechanical exfoliation uses a tool (such as a brush or a sponge) or a substrate (such as oatmeal or rice bran) to apply friction on the skin. This abrasive process removes dead skin cells and polishes the body and face.
Mechanical exfoliation is highly efficient, however, caution is required. The method is not gentle and, used in excess, it can irritate or dry out sensitive skin. The International Dermal Institute does not support the use of crushed shells or other substrates for mechanical exfoliation of the skin. The harsh agents can cause micro-tears at skin levels, which can further lead to inflammation or irritation. Exfoliation should not be done on a daily basis, but rather once or twice a week.
2. Chemical Exfoliation
Skin renewal through chemical exfoliation uses various active ingredients that are gentle on the skin but still successfully remove all dead skin from its surface. Hydroxy Acids are some of the most efficient chemical exfoliation agents. These aim to normalize cell turnover at the epidermis level. As a result, new, healthy skin formation is stimulated and dry scales are less inclined to pop up.
- Salicylic Acid. Included in numerous face and body creams, salicylic acid has the unique property of penetrating the hair follicle, exfoliating the pores in the process. This makes salicylic acid very effective in treating acne, especially since it also comprises anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the skin and minimize blemishes.
- Retinol. Also known as Vitamin A, Retinol did not use to be included in exfoliating products until a few years back. Recent discoveries showed that the skin has the ability to transform Retinol into Retinoic Acid. This powerful skin exfoliator has anti-aging properties and can help prevent premature aging.
- Enzymes. These are highly beneficial in the exfoliating process because they break down protein into smaller fragments. As a result, the skin is softened and corneocytes shed off. The activity of enzymes does not depend on pH, but it is rather activated by water.
3. Electrical Exfoliation
Manual exfoliants are recommended for at-home uses. They do their job of removing cell build-up and clearing out debris, however, they can’t penetrate the skin like electrical machines.
- Microdermabrasion. This peeling technique enables products to deeply penetrate the skin and rejuvenate it from within. Used separately from any other exfoliating substances, microdermabrasion employs a hand-held tube that contains either Sodium Bicarbonate crystals or Aluminum Oxide crystals. A vacuum is used to remove the used crystal that draws out dead skin particles.
- Ultrasonic. A high-end electrical exfoliation machine, ultrasonic devices use low-frequency sound waves that carry out a gentle molecular penetration and mechanical exfoliation. Ultrasonic devices comprise a crystal that receives an electrical charge. This gives rise to mechanical pressure which, in its turn, makes the crystal vibrate, producing sound waves.
How to Exfoliate Face with Natural Exfoliants
Exfoliating your skin on a regular basis does not have to mean expensive appointments for facials at lush SPAs. While microdermabrasion and ultrasonic exfoliators can be kept for a yearly special occasion, there are also natural ways to exfoliate your skin at home, in a budget-friendly way.
1. Baking Soda
This universal ingredient can be found in any kitchen and has sundry uses and benefits. Baking soda is not only great for odor control, it can also make a gentle and highly efficient scrub for the face and the body.
The powder works as a microdermabrasion agent, exfoliating dead skin and revealing the polished new one underneath it. Baking soda is often employed in high-end SPAs and makes for a great at-home facial. It can be mixed with water to form a thick paste or combined with your favorite everyday facial cleanser to give it a scrubbing boost.
A great natural exfoliant, sugar can help you get rid of the annoying bumps on arms and legs caused by ingrown hairs. Made from sugar cane, sugar comprises glycolic acid which breaks down the protein that keeps dead skin cells from falling off.
Sugar can be too harsh to exfoliate face, but it can safely be used on the body. To reap all its benefits, you can concoct a homemade scrub from white or brown sugar and your oil of choice (coconut oil or grapeseed oil are the best). The thick paste can be used in circular motions all over the body, especially on the thighs, where it stimulates blood flow, besides exfoliating the skin.
Oatmeal is a cheap alternative to high-end exfoliators. Not only does it successfully remove dead skin cells, it also deeply nourishes the skin, acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. Sensitive skin can benefit from oatmeal masks since they are gentle, soothing, and hydrating.
If you want to give yourself a pampering day on a budget, you’ll only need three ingredients you can probably already find in your cupboard: finely ground oat flakes, plain yogurt, and honey. Combined together, these three create a thick paste that can be left on the skin for up to 15 minutes. On rinsing the mask, the skin feels smoother and looks brighter.
4. Lemon Juice
Alpha hydroxyl acid has the property of penetrating the skin, fighting off the protein glue that makes dead skin stick to the epidermis. Lemon juice contains alpha hydroxyl acid, which makes it a great ally to exfoliate face and body.
The best exfoliator if you’re on a budget, lemon juice will deeply clean your pores whether you use it on its own or together with other potent ingredients. For a strong citrus exfoliating mask, you’ll want to mix lemon juice with grape and apple juice in a glass jar, adding a teaspoon of cane sugar. The mixture can be applied to the face and left for 10 minutes.
An unusual face exfoliator, papaya comprises papain, a potent enzyme that dissolves dead skin cells while protecting the new cells underneath them. This fruit can easily be used as a home remedy without restrictions. It doesn’t cause flaking, irritation, or redness.
This natural exfoliator acts gently and leaves the skin feeling smooth and revitalized. Contrary to popular belief, green papayas are preferable to ripe ones. The former contain more potent active ingredients for the skin and can help it regain its natural glow. For a DIY papaya mask, mash a green fruit in a bowl and apply the concoction on your face. Leave it on for ten to fifteen minutes before removing it with a wet, warm cloth.
How to Exfoliate Lips
A good lip exfoliator will take care to remove the dead skin and hydrate the lips at the same time. There are many products on the market to choose from, from scrubbers that only cost a couple of dollars to high-end beauty products with expensive ingredients.
The easiest solution to keep your lips looking their best during winter months is to use a DIY lips exfoliator. To achieve the perfect product, you will need an ingredient to act as a scrub (baking soda, white or brown sugar) and a hydrating ingredient to nourish the lips (honey, coconut oil, or olive oil).
One of the best combinations is brown sugar and coconut oil. The sugar will take care of the dead skin and the oil will leave the lips ready for balm or lipstick.
- Mix half a teaspoon brown sugar with half a teaspoon coconut oil in a glass or on a small plate.
- Once you achieve a homogenous consistency, apply the paste on clean lips and gently scrub them in circular motions for a minute.
- Rinse the scrub off the lips with lukewarm water.
- Use the towel to wipe off any remaining dead skin.
- Apply your favorite lip balm.
If you want to exfoliate your body on a daily basis, you can choose dry brushing. For this, you only need a body bristle brush that prevents the skin from flaking and stimulates blood flow. Dry brushing is beneficial both to normal and dry skin. It promotes a healthy, glowing skin, especially when it is followed up with an intensely hydrating body butter. Body brushing can be a great way to wake up in the morning, warming up your body and improving blood circulation.