While exfoliation should always be simple, it can seem a little complicated when you’re faced with all the endless options out there. That’s why we have broken it down for you, to help you make the best decision based on your skin type so you can say bye-bye to dull skin and hello to healthy, glowing skin.
Mechanical is the most common type of exfoliation and involves physically sloughing off dead skin cells. Unfortunately, most mechanical exfoliants often contain harsh abrasives (think: jagged, sharp-edged salt, sugar, nut kernels, etc.) that scratch the skin, creating small, microscopic tears in the skin. Not only is this just plain wrong, but it also causes inflammation (watch out for post-inflammatory pigmentation) and can create areas of infection.
We highly recommend treating your skin with a gentle mechanical exfoliant like Clay. Clay has a rounded edge like a golf ball and provides a gentle mechanical exfoliation (think: how a snowball rolls to gather up more snow) instead of scraping the skin.
Don’t let the name scare you off. Chemical exfoliants aren’t unnatural, but rather rely on natural chemical acids from fruit enzymes such as papaya or pineapple to work at a deeper level to stimulate cellular turnover, clearing out the pores and leaving skin radiant. There are two types of chemical exfoliants: namely AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids).
AHAs are better suited for dry skin, as they help to break down the “glue” “hat holds dead skin cells together. Sounds crazy, but the end result of baby soft skin is well worth it. AHAs are also water soluble, meaning they can’t penetrate too deep into the pores.
BHAs, on the other hand, are ideal for oilier skin types, as they are oil soluble and can sink deep down into the pores to clean them out and remove old cell build-up. They also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits, which is exactly what you want to hear when dealing with sore, inflamed skin prone to breakouts.
The beauty of fruit acids as exfoliants is that they gently remove the dead cells, lift off unwanted sebum, and help to brighten the skin. They can be used every night as a toner or exfoliant and even layered to do a mini “peel” type of exfoliation. This is ideal in the winter months. Always use sunscreen during the day when using a product that contains fruit acid.