Cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturising are the steps to follow to rejuvenate your skin. Exfoliation is a crucial part of the skincare routine for a healthy glow. Discover in this article the reasons why it is important to incorporate an exfoliant into your skincare routine.
Exfoliant: Is it necessary to include one in your skincare routine?
- What is an exfoliant?
- Why incorporate an exfoliant into your skincare routine?
- How to use an exfoliant?
- The frequency of using an exfoliating skincare product
What is an exfoliant?
Used in conjunction with a cleanser, an exfoliant is a skincare product whose ingredients are designed to exfoliate the skin. Its role is to remove dead cells that have accumulated on the skin's surface to make it smoother, revive its radiance, and even out the complexion. It also deeply cleanses the skin while getting rid of excess sebum. There are two types of exfoliants: those categorised as "mechanical" and those as "chemical".
The mechanical exfoliants :
This type of exfoliation involves the use of granular exfoliating products, commonly known as scrubs. These products lift dead cells from the upper layer of the epidermis through a mechanical action, such as rubbing or circular movements. Micro-grains, such as powders derived from fruit kernels, are often preferred for gently exfoliating the face and chest. Conversely, larger grains are used to exfoliate parts of the body where the skin is thicker and less sensitive, like the feet or legs. It is recommended to perform this type of exfoliation a maximum of once or twice a week.
Scrubs with fine grains are suitable for all skin types. However, it is advised against using overly large and abrasive grains on damaged skin, such as dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin.
A chemical exfoliation, unlike a mechanical exfoliation, does not require scrubbing. It relies on active ingredients that work on the skin to remove dead cells and impurities, thus allowing the pores not to be clogged. Formulated with enzymes or fruit acids, the chemical or enzymatic exfoliant is both gentle and effective, offering optimal exfoliation.
This process utilises active ingredients such as AHA and BHA, which have diverse origins. The AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids, act like proteases by breaking the bonds composed of glycoproteins that connect dead cells to the stratum corneum. The BHAs, also known as beta-hydroxy acids, differ from AHAs in their keratolytic properties. They are capable of detaching and eliminating dead cells present on the surface of the epidermis. These acids can be of plant origin, derived from fruits such as pineapple, figs or apricots, or extracted from yeasts.
Why incorporate an exfoliant into your skincare routine?
First and foremost, it is crucial to remember that the skin naturally exfoliates itself: this is cellular renewal. In the case of a young adult, skin cells regenerate every 28 days. However, this process slows down with age and due to external factors such as pollution, stress, or sun exposure. That's why it may be necessary to stimulate cellular renewal by using an exfoliant. It rids the skin's surface of dead cells, making it softer and more beautiful with a more radiant complexion.
Here are the main benefits of a facial exfoliant:
It detoxifies the skin and promotes its oxygenation to make it healthier.
It revives the radiance of the complexion.
It optimises the penetration of other treatments used subsequently and enhances their benefits.
It combats skin ageing by promoting cellular renewal.
It diminishes and eradicates blackheads and other skin imperfections.
It contributes to reducing acne by eliminating excess sebum.
How to use an exfoliant?
The aim of facial exfoliation is to rid the skin of dead cells. Therefore, above all, it is essential to choose an exfoliant that is suitable for your skin type. Once the appropriate treatment has been identified, here are the steps to follow to use it correctly:
On a clean face, place a small amount of exfoliating treatment on the fingertips.
Begin the treatment by ensuring to gently rub the skin while making circular movements, focusing on the area. The treatment should be brief and swift to avoid damaging the skin.
Rinse the product with water.
Apply a moisturising cream to complete the treatment.
It is essential to moisturise the skin after exfoliating it for protection. Indeed, the epidermis is temporarily weakened as the hydrolipidic film has been compromised. Proper hydration thus provides it with softness and protection.
The frequency of using an exfoliating skincare product.
Even though exfoliation revives the skin's radiance, ridding it of dead cells and other embedded impurities, it is better not to apply it too often. While it's pleasant to have clean skin, excessive exfoliation can potentially harm the skin, which may react by producing an excess of sebum in defence, leading to an acne outbreak. Moreover, the skin tends to become thinner, more fragile and increasingly sensitive.
For the face, a weekly exfoliating treatment is generally sufficient. Individuals with normal to combination skin can perform up to two scrubs per week. However, for those with sensitive or mature skin, it is advisable to limit exfoliation to once every two weeks due to skin sensitivity, in order to avoid irritation.