Scrub-a-dub-dub! All of us have been schooled in the virtues of a regular exfoliation. Exfoliation “sloughs away dead skin cells” and “keeps your pores clear, clean and uncongested” have become mainstream mantras.
There is no doubt that exfoliation is an important practice for healthy, glowing skin. But overdoing it or using something too harsh can leave you with bigger problems. So we thought we would share the different ways in which you can exfoliate, and their pros and cons.
These are products that use Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s), glycolic acid and salicylic acid to peel off the dead skin cells. They work really well but there a couple of cons.
- They can be expensive, and
- They can irritate the skin causing redness and dryness which can trigger other issues
There are gentler and more affordable options though – many natural ingredients have exfoliating acids. Fruits like pomegranate (in the Raindrops on Roses Hydrating Tonic) have naturally occurring AHA’s which give products some exfoliating properties. Interestingly Papaya (in the Tickled Pink Perfecting Tonic) has an enzyme which is also a nifty little skin cell slougher.
Natural yoghurt and milk contain lactic acid which exfoliates more gently than the other acids. This is why we recommend mixing the Pig In Mud Mineral mask with yoghurt, especially for blemish-prone skin
These are products that use sugar, tea tree leaf, jojoba beads, walnut shell, oatmeal, salt or even tiny plastic beads, just to name just a few. They are cheaper than their chemical cousins and work.
The only issue is that they can be too abrasive and can tear your skin leading to irritations, sensitivities, breakouts, dryness, and other skin problems. You probably don’t need to use a physical exfoliator more than once or twice a week to give your skin time to recover.
Other physical skin scrubbers are loofah mitts, body brushes and even Konjac Sponges for something super-duper gentle (you can safely use your sponge twice per day without worrying about over-exfoliating).
You can even use the Pig In Mud Mineral Mask as a physical exfoliator by massaging it gently into your face either just after you have applied it and it’s still wet, or with wet fingers just before you wash it off.
If you’re going to use a physical exfoliator please avoid one that uses plastic beads (often listed on the ingredients as polyethylene) – these tiny beads wash down our drains and into our oceans where they never biodegrade.
There is a 3rd option – Devices.
These are whiz-bang battery powered machines that can supposedly do it all. We don’t know much about them ourselves so if something like the Clarisonic is your go to beauty tool then feel free to let us know.
Remember that your skin has its own natural process of shedding old skin cells. All we want to do by exfoliating is to help it along a bit, so take it easy whenever you’re exfoliating because your skin tissue is very delicate!