To hear some people speak, the goal of exfoliation is to forcibly remove every single dead skin cell without exception. That is not really what it’s all about. The human body naturally sheds dead skin cells on its own. We exfoliate just to give the body a little extra help.
Assuming you exfoliate on a regular basis, how you do it makes a difference. There are good ways to exfoliate, and then there are better ways. There are also things you can do to maximize your efforts. Some of them are explained below. If you are not exfoliating regularly, now is as good a time as any to start.
Avoid Extremely Hot Showers
A lot of people know that extremely hot showers can dry out the skin by washing away the body’s natural oils. But did you know that those same hot showers can be counterproductive to exfoliation?
Whether you shower before or after you exfoliate, extremely hot water can cause problems. Let’s say you exfoliate first. Exfoliation generally irritates the skin somewhat, so exposing exfoliated skin to extremely hot water is likely to cause further irritation. A similar experience can occur in the opposite direction. Exfoliating after taking an extremely hot shower can cause significant damage to your skin.
Be Gentle About It
Some amount of skin irritation will occur no matter how you exfoliate. The goal is to exfoliate effectively while minimizing irritation. What is the key? Being gentle about it. Do not scrub aggressively or use exfoliates containing harsh chemicals. Use a natural product that works with less effort.
Do Not Exfoliate Inflamed Skin
Along those same lines, experts recommend not exfoliating already inflamed skin. Massachusetts-based Poethique says it is okay to skip exfoliating if you are in the middle of an acne or rosacea outbreak. Let the skin calm down before you resume exfoliating. Otherwise, you’re only going to make the breakout worse.
In the interim, you can use a natural deep cleansing product to gently clean the skin without further irritation. Poethique recommends looking for an oil-based product that dissolves makeup and loosens dirt and debris. It can be wiped away without the need for soaps or foaming cleansers.
Start Natural Exfoliation Slowly
Assuming you intend to maximize your exfoliating efforts by using a natural product, start out slowly. By this, we mean choosing your ingredients wisely. It’s best to begin with ingredients like fruit enzymes that are more easily tolerated by the skin. Only after your skin is used to such products should you start looking at alpha hydroxy acids.
If it helps, think of it in terms of shaving. A young person’s skin is normally sensitive to shaving when she first starts doing it. But after a while, the skin gets used to the process. By the time she has been shaving for over a year, sensitive skin is no longer an issue.
Drink Plenty of Water
Hydration is something that doesn’t get talked about much during discussions of exfoliation. Believe it or not, staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do to maximize whatever means you use to exfoliate. To understand why consider how important water is to the human body.
The majority of the body is made up of water. As the body’s largest organ, skin requires plenty of water to function properly. Proper hydration leads to fewer dead skin cells, which lead to easier exfoliation. Proper hydration also makes it easier for the body to naturally sheds dead skin cells by itself.
Now you know the secrets to maximize exfoliation. Put them into practice and see what happens.