Good question! And I'm so glad you asked. I'm obsessed with exfoliating, my skin really needs it and looks dull and lifeless without a daily gentle scrub.
Here's the lowdown on everything exfoliant related and why it's such a big part of our routines here at Recreation HQ.
What is exfoliation?
It's basically anything that removes dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. You can exfoliate with either a physical exfoliant (grainy, scrubby, or even a konjac sponge or a brush) or a chemical exfoliant (AHA, BHA, glycolic acid, lactic acid etc), then there are enzyme exfoliants (pineapple and papaya) which gently eat through dead skin cells.
Which exfoliant is best?
All are good though experts say chemical exfoliants are superior, more gentle than a rough scrub and more effective in dissolving dead skin cells. That's not to say scrubs are bad - if that's your personal preference, you can use them - so long as you're not using one containing microbeads which are now a known environmental hazard.
Why do we need it?
Dead skin cells can build up on the surface of skin, making it look dry and dull. They can make pores look bigger and the texture of the skin less refined than it could be.
Exfoliation lifts the dead skin cells away, allowing new skin cells to be on the surface, leaving a naturally glossier colour and appearance, keeping skin smooth and the texture refined.
When should I start?
If you're old enough to read this, you're old enough to start. Natural exfoliation slows down from the age of 12 and gets slower the older we get, so it becomes even more important when you're older. All skin needs a little help in shifting those cells away.
How often should I exfoliate?
I'm a daily exfoliator. Sometimes I'll miss my exfoliation on the weekends and I can really tell the difference in my skin, so I go back to it and remind myself not to skip Saturdays and Sundays!
Other people might be more sensitive - you know your skin and overexfoliation IS a thing so don't overdo it. If you're using a chemical exfoliant, three times a week is the usual recommendation - you'll know immediately if you've overdone it by your skin's reaction. Any major redness, irritation or peeling and you can give a rest then bring it back, minus a day a week. If you're really sensitive, use a gentle enzyme exfoliant instead of a chemical or a scrub.
Here's a few clean exfoliants I personally love.
Josh Rosebrook, Active Enzyme Exfoliant, $57-$98. This has two exfoliants: fruit enzymes plus walnut shells for physical exfoliation.
Saya Detox Face Exfoliant, $28.95. This is gently enough to use every day - for me anyway. Always tailor your routine to your own skin and don't follow what other people do to the letter, it might not work for you.
Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel, $73. It's a resurfacing mask and I use this weekly for beaming skin.