Like a good moisturiser and sunscreen, exfoliation is an important step in creating and maintaining healthy skin. These are the reasons why:
Your skin renews itself every 28 days (up to around 80 days if you’re over 50) so if you don’t help move the dead cells, they can get trapped leading to dry, dull, rough skin. Exfoliating helps remove the dead skin cells by breaking the bonds that glue them together, allowing the new cells below to reach the surface, which equals radiance and clarity.
It helps clear excess dirt and oil that may have been missed when you cleansed your face, which can get stuck in pores. Exfoliation effectively unclogs pores, minimising their appearance and lowering the chance of breakouts as blockages in your pores can lead to whiteheads and blackheads.
Sloughing off dead cells regularly helps even skin tone over time, as well as improving the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation and acne scars.
It preps your skin for the next step. Dirt and dead cell build-up make it harder for the ingredients in your products to penetrate and be absorbed. If you’re spending good money on skincare treatments, you want to ensure they’re doing their job.
Smoother skin allows for better makeup application, reducing the chance of makeup settling in lines and pores.
Regular and ongoing exfoliation has anti-ageing benefits as it helps stimulate collagen synthesis. Collagen is what gives skin support and plumpness – the best way to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Men’s skin is up to 30 per cent thicker than women’s and produces more oil so it is necessary to keep those cells turning. In addition to the reasons above, exfoliating will also help you to achieve a closer shave and reduce the risk of ingrown hairs and razor bumps.
How often should you exfoliate?
This depends on the product and your skin type. A physical exfoliator has a slightly coarse texture as it is made up of small beads or tiny grains that manually remove surface debris when you massage the scrub into your skin. These can generally be used twice to three times a week, or even daily on normal skin. A chemical exfoliator contains a combination of acids that are safe to use on the skin, such as alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) – often salicylic acid – as well as enzymes, that chemically dissolves debris. Some of the newer exfoliators combine physical and chemical action. As a rule of thumb if you suffer from any redness or sensitivity, only exfoliate once a week.
3 glow-giving skin resurfacers
NeoStrata Glycolic Microdermabrasion Polish (R1190) has a dual action and contains lactobionic acid (PHA) which provides skin-plumping and firming effects. It’s suitable for all ageing skin types, except sensitive skin.
Exuviance Professional Glycolic Polish (R1291) offers dual physical and chemical action (AHA and PHA combined with Alumina crystals). It’s best for normal, combination skin, or oily, acne-prone skin with early ageing concerns.
QMS Gentle Exfoliant Daily Lotion Sensitive Skin (R1650) is a gentle exfoliating lotion containing a fruit acid complex. Applied with a cotton pad, the liquid remains on the skin as it neutralises itself after five minutes. This is perfect for delicate skin.