A Dermatologist's Tips About Experimenting With Exfoliation

A Dermatologist's Tips About Experimenting With Exfoliation
  • Is there anyone who doesn't dream of flawless, glowing skin?
  • It's one way to improve your skin and get that Hollywood glow you've always wanted.
  • First, let's review the benefits of exfoliation, which can be found in the following breakdown:

Exfoliation is an important part of skin care, but what is it exactly, and how do I do it? We will discuss the importance of exfoliating in more detail as we continue reading!

What is Exfoliation?1

The benefits of exfoliation are obvious, but what is it exactly? Exfoliation involves removing dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin.

Unfortunately, many people believe they only need to exfoliate when they have acne, and they should avoid it if their skin is sensitive. Although exfoliation is safe for all skin types, your skin reaction is what determines how frequently you should exfoliate.

Types of Exfoliators2

Exfoliation is a relatively easy process, so everyone has options. Since there isn't a single method that works more effectively than another, it really comes down to figuring out what works best for you. Physical and Chemical Exfoliation are the two main methods of skin exfoliation, which can actually be quite harmless.

1. Physical Exfoliation2

To physically remove the dead skin cells from the surface, either a brush, sponge, or even oatmeal or sugar is used as a tool. This method's effectiveness is determined by the amount of friction and the type of abrasive material. A physical exfoliator should also be used cautiously, since excessive abrasion may cause irritation of the skin. Your skin's thickness and sensitivity will determine which product is best suited for you. In today's market, a wide selection of exfoliating particles is available, and there is a lot of choice. It's important to keep in mind that physical exfoliation depends on the particle's size and shape. Make sure the scrub you buy does not contain large particles that may cause micro-tears (small cuts) on your skin.

  • Larger Granules - Pumice or silicate crystals are examples of such substances. It is important to use these products with caution, and you should avoid abrasions by scrubbing harshly.
  • Smaller Granules - For skin that is drier and more sensitive, look for a product with smaller granules, so as to avoid skin tears. If you are looking for a light exfoliator, look for products containing ingredients such as jojoba beads. The natural oil beads can be formed and melted to provide a natural substitute for synthetic micro-beads. 
  • Seeds & Crushed Nut Shells - Although these products look all-natural and seem appealing, they may not always be appropriate for everyone's skin type. Some natural products, such as crushed nuts, shells, and ground seeds, have uneven edges that can injure the skin. Make sure you grind these ingredients finely into powder before using.


2. Chemical Exfoliation2,3

The process of chemical exfoliation involves a number of substances, such as acids and enzymes, that dissolve the cells on the surface of the skin. When it comes to chemical exfoliants, you can look for a number of different ingredients, including:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) - An Acid derived from natural sources, such as fruit, milk or sugar, which is among the most common types of light peels. There are two main ingredients in skin care products - Glycolic Acid, made of sugar, and Lactic Acid, made from milk [3].
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) - BHA is most commonly used as salicylic acid. In contrast to AHAs, BHA penetrates the hair follicle and exfoliates the pores, removing lingering dirt and grime. Exfoliants containing BHA can also be categorized as light chemical peels. 
  • Retinol – The most popular anti-aging solution, Retinol is a powerful exfoliant and anti-aging ingredient that is converted in the skin to Retinoic Acid. With regular use of Retinol, the visible effects of sun damage as well as natural aging are reduced.
  • Enzymes - The biological substances in these products digest dead skin cells chemically, which leads to exfoliation. The enzymes break down the proteins in dead skin cells into smaller fragments, causing a softening effect and making it easier to remove dead skin cells. Contrary to AHAs, the process is water-activated, rather than pH-dependent, and therefore limits exfoliation. It works similarly to acid-based exfoliants, but at a much slower speed, which allows for a much more gentle and safe exfoliating process.

Exfoliation Tips4

Dermatologists recommend the following tips to prevent skin damage while exfoliating:

  1. Examine your existing skin care products. There are some medicines and over-the-counter products that may irritate or peel your skin, such as prescription retinoids or products containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide. Exfoliating while using these products can aggravate dry skin or even cause acne breakouts.
  2. Exfoliate according to the type of skin you have. It may be better to use a washcloth and a mild chemical exfoliator on skin that is dry, sensitive or acne prone, as Physical exfoliation may be too irritating in this case. Oily, thick skin may benefit from stronger chemical exfoliation or Physical exfoliation. If you experience burns, bug bites, or acne breakouts, or if you have a darker skin tone, avoid harsh chemical or Physical exfoliation. Those with darker skin tones may experience dark spots on their skin after more aggressive forms of exfoliation.
  3. You should be gentle with your skin. Scrubs and chemical exfoliators should be applied gently in small circular motions. Rinse your face with lukewarm water - not hot - after this for about 30 seconds. When sponging or using a brush, use short, gentle strokes. If your skin is sunburned or has open wounds, please don't exfoliate.
  4. Follow up with a moisturizer. Exfoliating can dry out the skin. Maintain healthy and hydrated skin by applying moisturizer immediately after exfoliation.
  5. Find a schedule that works for you. The frequency at which you exfoliate depends on your skin type and exfoliation method. Exfoliation is generally less frequent the more aggressive it is. Don't over-exfoliate, as this could result in red and irritated skin.


Which Exfoliator Is Right For Your Skin Type?

Different skin types require different types of exfoliation. Furthermore, since the skin's cell turnover rate decreases with age, the frequency of exfoliation needs to be adjusted accordingly. In case you're unsure about the best type of exfoliator or how frequently to use it, consult with the rue therapy expert.

Here you can find out more about your skin and which products would be best for you using The Therapy Planner AI-driven questionnaire. A skin type-specific exfoliation routine can help you achieve the best results.

1. Oily skin

Exfoliators such as physical scrubs, Chemical based exfoliating products (like Salicylic Acid), or even electronic skin scrubbers are excellent if your skin is oily or sebaceous. Excess oil can be controlled with two to three treatments per week. 

2. Dry skin

If your skin is not adequately hydrated, it can become rough and flaky. In order to minimize moisture loss, mild chemical exfoliant with AHA and PHA (Polyhydroxy Acids) are recommended for use on dry skin.

3. Combination skin

In case of oily and dry patches on the skin, both must be addressed. To exfoliate, use a combination of mild physical and chemical exfoliates.

Salicylic acid is a versatile exfoliator that gently removes dead skin cells and excess oil from the deep pores of your skin.

4. Sensitive skin

When you tend to react adversely to most products, you may have sensitive skin. It is best to consult your true therapy consultant before adding any new procedure to your skin care routine in such cases. After examining your skin condition, we will determine how we should proceed. 

5. Acne prone skin

You can reduce breakouts by using exfoliators with glycolic acid, retinoids, and salicylic acid.

6. Normal skin

Normal skin types can choose any exfoliating agent according to their comfort. Keep your skin glowing by exfoliating twice a week.


Benefits of Exfoliation

Exfoliation routines can have a wide range of amazing benefits, some of which are listed below.

1. Unclogs the pores

  • By exfoliating, you remove excess oil, dirt, and cells from your pores, thus opening them up. By doing so, blackheads can be removed and breakouts can be reduced.

2. Enables deeper penetration of other skin care products

  • Dead cells are removed from the skin and pores are opened, enabling skincare products like serums, growth factors, and moisturizers to penetrate deeper. By doing this, the products function is more efficiently.

3. Prevents acne

  • An exfoliating treatment removes the germs along with the dead cells they feed on. Preventing acne breakouts is made easier with this.

4. Evens out skin tone

  • Hyperpigmentation can be removed with exfoliation. Furthermore, it smooths out fine lines, flaky patches of skin, and light scars, giving you a skin tone that is bright and even.

5. Boosts blood circulation and lymphatic drainage

  • Your skin receives more blood flow after massaging the exfoliant. This is followed by the removal of toxins and the nourishment of skin cells. Additionally, it promotes lymphatic drainage, which leads to a glowing and fresh appearance of the skin.

6. Increases cell turnover

  • Dead cells and other impurities are removed from the surface, resulting in a faster cell turnover. Your skin looks younger and healthier when new cells appear on the surface.

7. Stimulates collagen synthesis

  • Keeping your skin exfoliated regularly stimulates collagen production. The collagen in your skin tightens your skin, giving your skin a taut and youthful appearance. It also reduces lines and wrinkles.





Over-exfoliation: Signs and Symptoms1

You will damage fresh new skin cells on the surface of the skin if you exfoliate your skin more frequently than your cell turnover. Over-exfoliation is characterized by the following signs:

1. Redness or irritation

When skin is exfoliated too harshly or too frequently, it may be red, irritated, inflamed, or burned. You may notice a dramatic change in your skin and be extremely sensitive to subsequent products.

It is important to avoid rubbing your wet skin as much as possible. You can help reduce your irritation by using creams with rich emollients.

2. Dry flaky skin

Using too much exfoliation strips the skin of its natural oils. This causes the skin to become dry by removing moisture. Due to excessive drying, you may also experience flaky skin with fine lines and wrinkles. This condition can be alleviated by using a good moisturizer.

3. Increased breakouts

Excessive exfoliation damages the protective barrier of the skin, leaving it vulnerable to bacterial infections. Acne breakouts will increase as a result.

If this occurs, switch to milder products and stop exfoliating. You can also consult a dermatologist if your skin doesn't improve.


FAQs on Exfoliation

1. Is exfoliation beneficial to skin?

Skin benefits greatly from exfoliation if done correctly. A skin-type-specific exfoliation regimen will not only make your skin look and feel great, but it will also help you deal with acne and excess oil production problems.

2. Do I need to exfoliate regularly?

Exfoliant should only be applied to your skin two to three times per week. If you exfoliate too much, you will not only slough off dead skin cells, but also damage the skin's protective layer (your skin barrier is incredibly important!). Due to this, your skin is more sensitive and susceptible to irritation and inflammation, including acne, of course.

Several exfoliating products are available on the market, including multi-purpose products that contain a lower percentage of exfoliating ingredients. You should read the instructions carefully to determine how often you should use these products. 



Exfoliation is safe and effective. Healthy, youthful skin is the result of a good exfoliation regimen. It is important to consider carefully your options before choosing an exfoliation method. It is also important not to over-exfoliate, as over-exfoliation may lead to the very conditions you aimed to eliminate.



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