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Exfoliation Myths

October 20, 2021

Exfoliation Myths

It's so easy to get confused about exfoliation. How often is enough? Which method is better? Is an AM or PM exfoliation routine better? The list of questions goes on. Get the answers you need once and for all in this must-read, myth busting article!

We MUST exfoliate for skin to renew itself.

The truth is your skin naturally exfoliates its superficial keratinocytes about once per month. You don't have to do anything for this to happen. When your skin is healthy and you're using quality products, this process is supported and you will need to exfoliate less. 

The reason for exfoliating is to remove what may be stuck on the surface of the skin. Improper cleansing can leave dead skin cells on the surface of your skin which can lead to flakiness, clogged pores, and certain kinds of acne.  

You have to scrub or use harsh chemicals to exfoliate properly.

Absolutely not! Human skin is not raw hide needing to be tamed. In fact, scrubbing too hard or too often will damage your skin. Gentle is the way to go with exfoliation and less is more! This means scrubbing is a no-no and harsh chemicals are not necessary. Harsh scrubbing will strip the skin of its natural moisture and damage the skin barrier leaving the skin prone to infection and premature aging.

A physical exfoliator is better than a chemical exfoliator.

 A physical exfoliator will use small grains or texture, like crushed sugar or jojoba beads, to lift them for washing away. A quality chemical exfoliator uses fruit acids and enzymes to dissolve dead skin cells.

Though the use of acids sounds like it’s harsher, it’s actually gentler (providing you’re getting a quality product) than using potentially harsh abrasives. Using gentle chemical exfoliation is better for those with sensitive skin.

When choosing a physical scrub, look for ingredients like jojoba beads which actually break down when massaged on the face and will not scratch the skin. Abrasives like sugar or pumice should be reserved for the body where skin is thicker, and not used on the face or where skin is thin.

The bottom line is you should choose the method that your skin responds to leaving it in favorable condition.

We don’t need to exfoliate if we don’t have dry, flakey skin.

Wrong. Exfoliants can be used as a preventative measure to protect your skin against acne or clogged pores by dissolving dead skin from the surface. If you don’t have any pressing skin concerns, you will only need to exfoliate once a week.

We should exfoliate daily.

Exfoliating daily would be too much for skin and would lead to irritation. Most only need to exfoliate twice weekly, three if there is ongoing issue, but only once a week for super sensitive skin or as a preventative measure.

We should only exfoliate during our PM routine.

While it might seem like we should exfoliate at night to more effectively remove makeup and grime, this may not be the best. If our nighttime routine is used for strong (potentially irritating) ingredients like retinol, it is best to schedule exfoliation in the AM and start with a fresh face. OR alternate between exfoliation and the use of products like retinol on different nights.

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