Is Exfoliation Beneficial for Your Skin?

We're often asked if exfoliation is really necessary for healthy skin or if it's just a waste of time, since skin sheds itself anyway. There seems to be a lot of debate around the subject of exfoliation but to understand why it's good for your skin, we need to understand the different types of exfoliation and how they work for different skin types.

What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skins surface.

New skin cells are created in the skins lower layer, the dermis. Over time, cells migrate to the surface of the skin and become more acidic. Through the ageing process - especially after menopause - the natural process of skin shedding becomes uneven, which gives the skin a dry and rough texture. Exfoliation removes the outer layer to revel the newer skin beneath. This removal of the outer layer unclogs pores, keeps the skin clean, improves texture and tone and helps prevent acne breakouts. 

Exfoliating should always be done after cleansing and always be followed by a moisturiser. Exfoliation is not just for women; when men exfoliate their face it exposes the hair follicle and allows for a better shave.

What is a mechanical exfoliant?

The mechanical exfoliation process involves scrubbing the skin with something abrasive - this is what you can feel buffing away at your skin. It’s important to use gentle mechanical exfoliants like pumice powder or clay as harsh materials like apricot kernel can scratch and damage your skin, leading to dry and sensitive skin.

Mechanical exfoliation is great for thick, congested, combination, oily, dry or acne prone skin. People with sensitive skin can benefit from mechanical exfoliation but only using a very gentle hand. Tailor Polish is a great gentle mechanical exfoliant.

What is a chemical exfoliant? 

Chemical exfoliators are used mainly for the treatment of acne/oily skin. Chemical exfoliators work by breaking down the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Some chemical exfoliating scrubs contain fruit enzymes, baking soda, salicylic acid or glycolic acid. Tailor Polish contains natural salicylic acid to provide a gentle level of chemical exfoliation which helps to brighten and decongest dull flaky skin. 

Gentle chemical exfoliators such as salicylic acid are great for the treatment of oily, congested or flaky skin. Some chemical exfoliator treatments are very strong and cause many layers of skin to peel off to revel the newer, smoother and less wrinkled skin beneath. There are many different types of chemical peels, and I recommend you tread carefully; the deep chemical peels can lead to complications such as scarring, photosensitivity, redness and textural changes.

How frequently should I exfoliate my face?

If your skin is dry, oily, acne prone, uneven, prone to redness, congested, flaky or just lacking a healthy glow exfoliating 2-4 times per week using a gentle mechanical and chemical exfoliator will improve your skins appearance and texture. Exfoliants prep the skin to also allow your serums and moisturisers to penetrate deeper into the skin to keep your skin hydrated, smooth and protected.

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