Exfoliation 101

Reading Exfoliation 101 3 minutes Next BASICS OF HYALURONIC ACID

Exfoliation is a process of removing dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin.

Exfoliation is of two types:

  • Physical:In this method, particles such as a sponge, brush or bead-based scrubs are used for abrasion on the skin. The process of scrubbing with beads removes dead skin cells. However, one needs to be careful as harsh particles can sometime damage your skin barrier.
  • Chemical: In this method, chemicals such as alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids (AHA/BHA)are used. These acids, which operate at low pH dissolve the dead skin cells.

AHA: They work by dissolving the outermost layer of skin. AHA exfoliants work on the uppermost layers of skin’s surface, loosening the bonds between dead surface layers and skin underneath that.

Commonly used AHAs:

  • Glycolic acid: Derived from sugarcane,it is the smallest of all AHAs and hence penetrates deepest in skin layers
  • Lactic acid: Derived from lactose, it is less irritating and more moisturizing than glycolic acid
  • Mandelic acid: Derived from bitter almonds, larger molecules compared to both glycolic and lactic acids
  • Malic acid: Derived from apples, it is also beneficial for supporting collagen production and restoring skin vitality

BHA:Salicylic acid is an oil soluble BHA so it can penetrate into the pores of the skin. It’s commonly used to treat skin conditions like oily skin, acne and blackheads.

PHA: Polyhydroxyacid (PHA)is a gentle chemical exfoliant. The molecules of PHAs are much larger and therefore cannot penetrate as deeply as AHAs and BHAs; they work exclusively on the surface, without disturbing the deeper delicate layers.

When to exfoliate?

Frequency of exfoliation varies based on your skin type. A general recommendation is as follows:

  • Normal skin: 1- 2 times a week
  • Oily skin: 2- 4 times a week
  • Dry skin: Once a week

Type of exfoliator for each skin type:

  • Normal Skin: Go for a cream or gel-based cleanser with soft beads if you want physical exfoliation. Forchemical exfoliation, choose one with lower concentrations oflactic acid, malic acid, mandelicacid or PHA. (1% - 5% is sufficient)
  • Oily Skin: If you suffer from oily or acne prone skin or blackheads then go for salicylic acid, tea tree or neem-based exfoliators
  • Dry Skin:Use cream based gentle exfoliators with fruit AHAs or mandelic acid

How to prevent damage while exfoliating?

  • Don’t exfoliate if your skincare routine includes retinol, benzoyl peroxide
  • Do not scrub your skin aggressively
  • Avoid over exfoliation
  • Avoid hot water, soaps or cleanser immediately after the exfoliation
  • Follow up with a soothing treatment:applying any hydrating serum, gel or moisturiser can instantly soothe your skin

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