Exfoliation is often one of the biggest gaps in a new skincare-enthusiast’s knowledge base. Many people who aren’t that into skincare have no idea why they should exfoliate their skin, or what the benefits are.
Let’s begin with a dictionary definition of exfoliation: –
exfoliation [ eks-foh-lee-ey-shuhn ]
“The process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, on order to improve its appearance.”
So… now we know what exfoliation is.
Why should we make exfoliation a key part of our skincare routine?
If you DON’T exfoliate your skin regularly, it can result in dull skin, clogged pores, blackheads and breakouts, rapid ageing of the skin, and the expensive products you’re applying to your skin won’t absorb properly (so you’re wasting your hard-earned money). The dead skin cells act like a barrier, preventing dirt, oil and bacteria from being washed away, and preventing quality skincare from being absorbed to it’s full potential.
If you adhere to a good exfoliation routine, you can expect the following benefits: –
♥ Unclogged pores
♥ Less breakouts
♥ Other products will penetrate better and more deeply
♥ More even skin tone
♥ More even skin texture
♥ Improved circulation and lymphatic drainage
♥ Increased cell turnover (skin will glow more)
♥ Increased collagen production
♥ Better makeup application
How often should you exfoliate your skin?
Two to three times a week, maximum of twice if you have sensitive skin or skin prone to redness.
How can you include exfoliation into your skincare routine?
You can choose either a physical exfoliator (a scrub with granules in), a chemical exfoliator (using acids or enzymes) or a tool (such as a cleansing brush or a face cloth) to exfoliate your skin.
While a lot of people prefer a physical exfoliator or a tool, as you can see and feel the difference as you scrub at your skin, it’s a lot easier to over-exfoliate your skin, leading to a multitude of new problems, such as microtears in the skin, tightness, flaking, stinging, sensitivity, redness, burning, dehydration and more. If physical exfoliation is your preference, just go carefully, don’t overdo it, and dial back, treating your skin with a little more TLC until it’s back to normal.
If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to use a chemical exfoliator, but the selection of the RIGHT chemical exfoliator is key.
I myself have reactive skin – it’s not sensitive per say, but it’s quick to redden or become irritated. I find that products higher in glycolic acid, or using glycolic acid too frequently leaves my skin tight and my barrier really unhappy. Lactic acid does the same job a little more slowly for me, but more gently – ultimately the same end result but with less irritation.
Both glycolic and lactic acid are AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), and these also include citric, tartaric and malic acid. BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) such as salicylic acid. Other actives that exfoliate the skin are retinoids (derived from vitamin A).
There are many different chemical exfoliators on the market, but once again – you need to do your research. Not all brands are equal, and the more scientific research that has gone into your product, the best. This is why, without a doubt, I will happily choose Optiphi products as my go to for active ingredients.
The Optiphi Refine Foliant is, without a doubt, my all-time favourite exfoliant. Optiphi Refine Foliant is a potent chemical exfoliant that helps to smooth skin texture, brighten skin, soften skin and moisturise skin. It contains lactic (AHA), salicylic (BHA) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and is basically a ‘home-peel’.
With strong acids like this, you need to allow your skin time to get used to them. It’s recommended that you start off by applying the Refine Foliant to clean, dry skin (avoiding lips and delicate eye area), and leave it on for 5 minutes before washing it off. As your skin becomes accustomed, you can build this up to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 20 minutes. I’m now at a point where I apply a thin layer and leave it on overnight, rinsing off in the morning.
Honestly, you can feel a difference after that very first use. My skin feels softer to the touch, with reduced texture. It has an added glow to it – plus with the addition of salicylic acid, I know my pores are being cleaned too. If I have any breakouts at the time of use, they heal that much faster, and no marks linger afterwards either.
Once I’m used to using the Refine Foliant twice a week, and leaving it on overnight – the compliments on my skin flow. I’ve started using it again after a short break due to trialing a different range of skincare, and having it back in my routine, seeing such strong and fast results, means I will DEFINITELY ensure I’m never without it again!