Why exfoliate? Gentleness with skin is usually the path for most of us – especially on the face! Exfoliation seems counter intuitive ‘ey! Well my dear, breaking this down to mathematics, gentleness 90% of the time and exfoliation 10% of the time (depending on your skin type) is a GREAT habit for skin health (wealth?) and definitely happiness! Let’s get to the 6 reasons why you should ‘get your facial exfoliation’ ON! Oh, and remember, exfoliation can be chemical (that’s skin acids) or as simple as a good old manual rub or scrub!
1. EXFOLIATE TO GET RID OF DEAD SKIN CELLS
Making sure skin is super moisturised is usually our first defence against signs of aging. Thing is, moisturising is SUPER good at stopping DEAD skin cells from leaving our faces. Your top layer of skin is dead anyway, and it has a ‘natural’ speed of ‘turning-over’. When we use moisturiser, it make’s everything more MOIST. Those dead skin cells that were dry and ready to leave your face, get to stay for a bit longer. Think of moisturiser being a bit like glue to those dead ‘n flaky skin cells. This is great because it means our skin looks radiant and full of moisture, not scaly and flaky. The down side is when too many dead skin cells ‘build-up’ it can start to make skin look dull, leather-like, a bit bumpy ‘n rough, and just lacking in that ‘Je ne sais quoi’!
This is when exfoliation is your friend! Exfoliating gets rid of those old ‘n long gone skin cells. This makes skin SMOOOOTH and soft as a baby’s bottom. Skin texture is back to ‘baby like’ texture. This means your skin looks radiant, healthy and young once again. A+ to that!
PRO-TIP: Smooth skin makes for much better BB cream or foundation application. Who needs primer, when your skin is already as smooth as a baby’s bottom *wink wink*.
2. EXFOLIATE TO PREVENT WRINKLES
Now there is a headline we can all get behind. Exfoliating your face helps to stop fine lines and wrinkles pulling up a seat on your face. Somehow seems a bit simple with all the rave anti-aging ingredients out there, but this really is your first defence. Exfoliating gets rid of old skin, that means it reveals younger and more nourished skin. With science eyes on, exfoliating increases ‘skin cell turnover’, that means new skin is encouraged to grow.
If we moisturise well, there is a side effect of reducing ‘skin-cell turnover’, that’s why every skin routine should be a balance between moisturisation and exfoliation. #RulesOfSkincare. So how does dead skin encourage fine lines and wrinkles? Good question! Think of your skin getting more and more like an Elephant’s the thicker that dead-skin-cell layer gets. It’s got that characteristic leathery, dullness of dead skin. Now, dead skin has less elasticity than skin that is alive and younger. Less elasticity means it forms wrinkles more easily, it sags, it pulls and it doesn’t ‘ping-back’. Its just gotten a bit tired! Helping that dead skin layer to ‘shred’ means skin stays away from the elephant look *wink wink*.
3. EXFOLIATE TO IMPROVE ABSORPTION OF YOUR ACTIVE SKINCARE
So, you’ve made the decision to get serious about your skincare and after seeking out a carefully chosen active paired for your skin type, you’ll want to make sure it works. Let’s be honest, you’ve probably shelled out a few £’s more for it than your usual skincare, so it better do its job *wink wink*. Exfoliation is your best friend when it comes to giving actives in your skincare the BEST chance of working. Dead skin build-up is a DEFENCE. The thicker that layer, the more defence there is. Dead skin defends by stopping ‘stuff’ from getting through it, even the sun! That’s one of the reasons why people who have a lot of sun exposure, tend to have thicker skin!
By exfoliating away dead skin cells, you ‘normalise’ skins defence against ‘things’. There is less skin to ‘get through’, so your actives have less to do, before they can beautify skin! It’s like giving the ‘guard of your skin’ a chocolate cake to distract them, while your active sinks in! #I’llHaveOneOfThose.
4. EXFOLIATE TO KEEP BLEMISHES AND SPOTS AT BAY
There is nothing that encourages spots MORE than dead skin! Dead skin is like a play ground for bacteria, and there ain’t nothing gonna stop them from having a party in there… UNTIL we get to the exfoliating that is! #BeGoneSpots. Dead skin plays a role in ALL types of spots. Dead skin is the key cause of black heads, get’s those ‘white ones’ on their way and if you have ance, and therefore the P.acnes bacteria, dead skin is your worst nightmare.
Why does dead skin give you spots? Here comes a super yummy analogy. Think of your face like a bin, and dead skin, like the rubbish in the bin. Put a banana peel in the bin, and first of all its fine, its fresh and still banana-ery. THEN, time ticks on and that banana skin turns brown, makes some bin juice and begins to WIFF like it was never a banana in the first place! This is your dead skin. It basically starts to ROT on your face, if it’s not exfoliated off. Dead skin becomes dinner for any bacteria you might have on your skin. That means they get stronger and start to expand ‘The family’, which can then give you an ‘out-break’ of spots. This is the number 1 reason for people with acne to exfoliate. If you have acne, then naturally you have the P.acnes bacteria in your ‘skin flora’, this causes spots, and the more of it there is, the more spots you’ll be getting.
5. EXFOLIATE TO INCREASE BLOOD FLOW AND CIRCULATION
A bit of exfoliation gets the ‘juices’ of your skin flowing. That means things like blood get to come and ‘feed’ your skin with all the foods it needs and anything bad, that has built up in your skin, gets to be ‘drained away’. This is why exercise can make skin crazy radiant, exercise has the same effect. To give KUDOS to how ‘good circulation’ is beneficial to skin, you only need to think what happens when it stops. We gotta face it, skin is nothing without good circulation. Like literally would be blackened and dead, doh!
6. EXFOLIATE TO STOP PORES FROM GROWING
While you can’t ‘shrink’ your pores, you can stop them from getting any bigger. Pores can seem to get much bigger as we get older, that’s because, skin ‘builds-up’ in our pores. Just imagine it sitting there collecting, skin tries to squeeze more in, like you were trying to smuggle that extra pair of heels into a weekend-away suitcase. The more dead skin sat in your pores, the bigger they will get and look. Dead skin not only helps pores to grow, but also makes them MUCH more visible. Once skin is dead, it ‘festers’, gets sticky with your skins oils and attracts any and ALL dirt. This is the culprit of black heads. Also with the result that as your pore now looks grey inside, it is way more visible that it would be without that gunk in there. Exfoliation is your pores best bud!
Do you make sure to exfoliate your face? What’s your FIRST reason for exfoliating?
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.