"Your skin renews itself about 30 days. If the old cells remain on the surface and build up," cosmetic dermatologist Naila Malik, MD, says, "they can contribute to a flat, dull appearance, blemishes, and scaling. Exfoliation also helps improve the penetration of your other skin products"
Dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD, agrees. “While exfoliating has year-round benefits, as the weather gets colder and the humidity levels drop, more cells dry out and accumulate on the surface,” Wu says. “They need to be removed to uncover smooth, fresh skin.”
We've read it well that our face needs exfoliation. But what is it exactly, how do we do it, and how often should we do it?
1. What is exfoliation?
It is basically a process in which you remove old skin cells on the surface.
As stated by Naila Malik at the very top, if we don't remove the old skin cells, our face will look dull and the blemishes will stay there. Besides helping in removing the old skin cells, exfoliation also helps preparing our skin to absorb skin products.
2. How do we exfoliate our skin?
There are two types of exfoliation: Physical and Chemical.
Physical exfoliation is through scrubbing. So you will need some textured product to be rubbed on to your face, whereas chemicalexfoliation is letting the chemical substance sits in your skin and exfoliate the skin layer.
I, personally, prefer the chemical one because physical exfoliation might damage your skin since some products have too abrasive scrubbing particles.
Another thing about physical exfoliator that I don't like is that most of them use microbeads and they are not biodegradable. Or to put it in a simpler way, they are not good for the environment. Some more environmentally friendly exfoliators use natural fibres like walnut shells but they are too abrasive for the skin and abrasive = irritation.
However, some people prefer physical exfoliator because it suits them better. That is fine. All in all, we all have personal preferences in taking care of our skin :D
Examples of physical exfoliator:
I don't use physical exfoliator anymore so I took the pic from some sites (click the picture to go to the site)
Examples of chemical exfoliator:
My personal favourites:
You can get Novexpert and Sebamed at sociolla, but the Neutrogena and Paula's Choice are not available in Indonesia yet so you'll have to buy it overseas. Ristra, on the other hand, is easy to get. I got them from Hypermart Kemang Village.
3. How do we integrate 'exfoliation' into our skincare routine?
I highly suggest exfoliating only at night because using exfoliator increases your skin's sensitivity to sunlight, meaning that your skin can get sunburned more easily. Therefore it is safer to use exfoliator only at night.
The step is: Cleansing (Oil Cleansing/Milk Cleansing + Facial Wash) - Toning - Exfoliating - (if you have dry skin, Moisturise after Exfoliating)
4. How often should we exfoliate our skin?
It depends on your skin condition.
Dry and sensitive skin generally need less frequency of exfoliation in a week. 1-2 times per week is enough. But for oily and combination skin, more than twice a week is needed.
I, personally, use chemical exfoliation product 4 times a week only at night. To be safe, I only use products that contain exfoliator with percentage less than 9% (I use Paula's Choice AHA Gel 8% or Ristra AHA Night Cream 5%).
If you want to read more about exfoliation you can look at this article, I think they explain it very nicely: