How to Exfoliate Your Face
There are right ways and wrong ways to exfoliate. The wrong ways fall into one of these categories:
- Not doing it at all
- Doing it too often
- Doing it too harshly (too scratchy or too burn-y)
What's exfoliation? Exfoliation is the process of removing some of the outer layer of skin. Doing it "right" can work wonders for skin, including:
- Reducing the appearance of wrinkles
- Causing skin to look brighter and healthier
- Improving the texture of skin
- Removing flakiness and bumps
- Encouraging long-term collagen production
Additionally, gentle exfoliation can be part of the recommended treatment for inflammatory conditions like rosacea, acne, and keratosis pilaris.
Exfoliation is so great that lots of people go overboard and do too much, too often. Why does this matter?
In short, over-exfoliating is a stress on the skin. It literally reduces the skin’s ability to function as a barrier between you and the world (which is full of UV rays, pollution, dirt, etc.). Also, over-exfoliating kicks the skin into recovery mode, which shows up differently on different skin types. For some, this means breakouts and irritation. Or dry patches and redness. Or hyperpigmentation that won’t fade.
How much your skin can take varies by age, skin type, and what your skin is used to. It may sound confusing, but we’ve got some suggestions.
How to Exfoliate
- If you’re new to it, start slowly. No more than once or twice a week at first. We love the Mitty Ex for newbies or for people with sensitive skin, because it polishes instead of scratching. It’s hard to go overboard with a Mitty Ex.
- If you’re already using retinol or a chemical exfoliant, be very careful about adding a physical exfoliant. Maybe skip the rotating brushes or gritty face scrubs.
- SPF is ALWAYS important, but it’s most important if you just started exfoliating. Put it on every day, preferably several times a day.
- If you’re going to increase the exfoliation, do it gradually. If you get a reaction, reduce the frequency. Remember that breakouts can be a sign of over exfoliation.
The Mitty is all about the OPPOSITE of taking your face off (the company name is intended to be ironic). "Skincare" is skin + care, not skin + punishment. ; )
We should mention that the first step for healthy skin is washing your face. If you're not doing that, back up and make that a habit. Right now. Once you've got the face washing routine going, then layer on the exfoliation.
Also in Company stories, skincare tips, and environmental news from Take My Face off
- Avoid the temptation to go overboard! Harsh cleansers, astringents, and scrubs can make problems worse.
- Cleanse skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.
- Avoid harsh soaps and creams (unless recommended by a dermatologist).
- If you want to try topical acne treatments, start off slowly.
It’s been a long time since astringents were the prom queens of the skincare world (that’s not the scientific term). What changed and why?
Skincare experts used to think that the way to manage oily, blemish-prone skin was to remove the oil and bacteria. Hence, they loved harsh, bacteria-killing astringents (among other products). But in the last few decades, those experts started changing their minds.