The Ultimate Guide On ExfoliationPosted on 30/08/2018
[By Biscuits & Makeup] [Thursday, 30 AUGUST 2018]
Exfoliation is one of the easiest steps you can incorporate into your skincare routine that will give you dramatic and immediate results to healthier and clearer skin. Exfoliation is the ability to remove dead skins cells, impurities and the “gunk” that has accumulated on your skin to reveal a better you! This method is nothing new and has been around for many years. No matter what skin type, age or gender you are, exfoliating is guaranteed to make a big difference to your complexion.
In Korean Skincare, exfoliation has become one of the most effective and trendy ways to treat your skin. It’s super easy to do and it’s a step in your skincare routine that you cannot be without!
Why is it essential for us to exfoliate our skin?
If you have noticed that your skin is dull no matter how many skincare products you use to brighten your complexion, or no matter what foundation you use it just doesn’t sit well on your skin, exfoliation could be the answer you have been praying for!
By exfoliating, you buff away dead skin cells and impurities that create the dullness in your skin. This, as a result, stimulates skin cell turnover (which is the process of shedding dead skin cells and the replacement of new ones) allowing your skin to look younger, softer, smoother and more radiant! Yes, this one extra step in your routine does all that for your skin. You best believe it!
Unlike other skincare steps, exfoliating products are readily available and incredibly easy to use. Let’s Face It has got you covered in this department too! But before we get into our recommendations, what can you expect to achieve if you exfoliate?
Benefits of Exfoliation
By exfoliating your skin religiously, you can:
- Prevent wrinkles, rough patches, flaky skin and age spots from appearing.
- Fight against acne, clogged pores and breakouts – live comfortably in clear, glowing, healthy skin.
- Put dull skin behind you and look and feel younger within seconds after exfoliating.
- Expect your other skincare products to work more effectively and efficiently (as they are supposed to be).
- Get a smooth and flawless application with your makeup products.
Types of Exfoliation
There are two types of exfoliation: Physical Exfoliation & Chemical Exfoliation. You can use these exclusively, in turns or together. Choosing the right one for you will be key to getting the results that you want!
Physical exfoliation is the more commonly known way of exfoliating your skin. It is where you use large particles (like sugar), to scrub away dead skin cells mechanically. This method is primarily dependent on the pressure that you apply to your skin and how diligently you work it around your skin. What’s great about physical exfoliation is that you get immediate results as soon as you start scrubbing. In comparison to Chemical Exfoliation, it doesn’t’ require additional tools such as a cotton pad, a brush or a cloth for it to be effective. All you need is the two things you were born with – your hands!
The skincare world has evolved in the past two decades. There are now physical exfoliants in different forms. These include;
- Scrubs – the process of using particles to buff away dead skin cells. These particles may include such things like sugar or salt particles, grounded coffee (more commonly used on the body), oatmeal, jojoba beads. This method is the harshest method of exfoliation and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Dependent on the scrub you use and its brand, you may noticeably see redness and it may even increase your sensitivity temporarily.
- Peeling Gels and Gommages – these are gel-like products which contain ingredients such as cellulose, that roll up to form soft fibre balls which gently help to remove the dead skin cells from your skin. The balls are mistakenly said to be your dead skin cells but a majority of the balls are made of the cellulose. However, you can visibly see the balls change colour from a light grey to a darker grey and this gives you a small indication of how much dead skin cells you have removed. This is the most satisfying type of physical exfoliant as you get to see the action with your own eyes!
- Brushes, cloths and Sponges – are tools or devices used to help to physically take away the dead skin cells from your skin. You can mechanically use circular motions with pressure to remove the dead skin cells. There are some devices that also have sonic vibrations that help to remove impurities from your skin on a deeper level. What’s great about this method is that there are different textures in the brushes, cloths or sponges and you have the choice of which one is best for you! However, the disadvantage to using this method is that these brushes and sponges must be replaced periodically, which can be quite costly.
As satisfying as it is to feel your skin is getting cleaner, physical exfoliation isn’t for everyone, especially those with sensitive skin. Hence, we turn over to the other method of exfoliating.
Chemical exfoliation essentially does the same thing as physical exfoliation in that it removes dead skin cells and impurities. However, rather than using a physical motion, it uses acids and other ingredients to dissolve or detach the bond of skin cells to remove dead skin cells and impurities from your skin. Not only that, it also promotes cell turnover as well!
This form of exfoliation is more popular in Korean Skincare products as Asian skin tends to be more delicate and softer, hence require a gentler treatment. Compared to physical exfoliants, chemical exfoliants are more forgiving, user-friendly and also have the capability to penetrate the skin on a deeper level. It also delivers more skincare benefits such as, brightening, smoothing, pore reduction and more, that physical exfoliants fail to demonstrate. Even though you do not physically see the action happening, you definitely see the distinct and amazing difference after a period of time.
Now that you’re intrigued, let us introduce to you the common hero ingredients in chemical exfoliants that you see commonly in Korean Skincare.
AHAs (short for Alpha Hydroxy Acids)
AHAs are a group of water-soluble chemical compounds that ideally work best on dry to sensitive skin types. The most common types of AHAs include lactic acid, glycolic acid and malic acid with great skincare benefits. This is all in addition to promoting cell turnover and helping your skin look brighter and softer. AHAs do most of its work on the top layer of your skin and because of this, it may increase the sun sensitivity in your skin. So, in addition to using AHAs, you must use make sure you use sunscreen regularly as well. But we do not have to tell you sunscreen is a must!
AHAs are amazing acids that can;
- Work to rid blemishes, patches of pigmentation or minor breakouts.
- Dissolve the little skin bumps under your skin that no physical exfoliant can treat.
- Even out your skin tone and prevent dark spots from appearing (granted that you have been using sunscreen with AHAs)
- Help give anti-ageing properties to your skin and reduce wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
- Hydrate your skin as well (in some products).
BHAs (abbreviated for Beta Hydroxy Acids)
Also known as salicylic acids. BHAs are perfect for those with acne-prone, oily or combination skin. However, in most Korean products, Betaine Salicylate is used as a substitute. AHAs and BHAs are commonly mistaken for each other but they’re very different acids. BHAs are oil-soluble acids that work more deeply and help to break down the oils in your pores as well as on the surface of your skin. Not only does it have great exfoliating abilities but it has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial properties that help to treat acne-prone skin and prevent breakouts from happening. Some have claimed that BHAs can be quite drying and hence, those with dry skin should stick with AHAs.
Now some great skincare benefits you can expect from BHAs include;
- Having the ability to reduce and dissolve blackheads and even little stubborn white heads.
- Helps to clear pores from sebum, dirt and other impurities without the harshness of a physical exfoliant.
- Cleans and clears bacteria from the skin that could be trapped inside your pores.
- Helps to enhance your skin tone while also brightening up the complexion to reveal smoother looking skin
- Work to improve the skin’s barrier and collagen production.
PHAs (short for Polyhydroxy Acids)
Of the three acids mentioned, PHAs such as gluconolactone and lactobionic acids are the newest kids on the block out; especially in the Korean Beauty world. It is similar to AHAs in that it works to detach the bonds of dead skin cells but is said to be “less stinging, burning and causes even less irritations” on the skin. Most products containing PHAs are hydrating and help to control the skin’s water permeability which, in turn, helps retain the water levels in the skin. This makes it the perfect ingredient to be used on dry and sensitive skin types, including those with Rosacea. However, even though it has been incorporated in skincare products for a few solid years, there aren’t many claims or supportive evidence on its performance and effectiveness.
But, PHAs have said to provide the following benefits;
- Allows increased hydration and elasticity to the skin, giving the skin a smoother and healthier look.
- It has anti-oxidant properties to fend off free radicals and protect the skin from harmful UV rays (unlike AHAs).
- Increased the skin’s barrier functions.
- Has anti-flammatory properties which helps with those with redness or Rosacea.
- Improve the skin’s brightness and radiance.
What’s right for you?
A common question when it comes to exfoliation is – “Can I use different types of exfoliations in my skincare routine?” The answer is YES! Depending on your skin concerns, you may use different methods of exfoliations to treat your skin. For example, those with combination skin may need a physical exfoliant to buff off the dry parts on the face, while treating the sebum and blackheads on their oily T-zone with some BHA. The best thing to do is to write a checklist of your skin concerns and see which ingredient treat those concerns.
Tips & Advice
Even though exfoliation is simple, there are some tips and tricks to make your experience a whole lot better!
Here are some tips or advice to think about when you’re exfoliating;
- When it comes to physical exfoliants, it is better to apply less pressure. Take your time when exfoliating. This prevent abrasions on the skin and increased sensitive skin.
- Use sunscreen with exfoliants!
- Religiously incorporate exfoliation in your skincare routine at the very least once a week!
- For best results, exfoliate right after cleansing, before applying toner.
- Do not over-exfoliate! Your skin needs time to generate new skin cells.
Here are some of our favourite products that will help you to exfoliate away the “gunk” and dead skin cells;
- COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid CE
- COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid CE
- Neogen Bio Peel Gauze Green Tea CE/PE
- Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off PE
- Dear Klairs Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish PE
- COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad CE/PE
- Pyunkang Yul Peeling Gel PE
(PE = PHYSICAL EXFOLIANT, CE = CHEMICAL EXFOLIANT)
Now that you know the ultimate secret to clear, bright skin, what are you waiting for? Get on the bandwagon and head over to our website to see what exfoliating products will do the job for you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Biscuits n Makeup is a talented Beauty & Skincare Blogger based in Sydney. On her own blog, she writes in depth product reviews of both Korean beauty and Western beauty products for her readers. She also guest blogs on our website to help us educate and inform our readers about skincare and Korean beauty. Check out her honest product reviews on her blog here.
If you love all things Beauty & Skincare related, be sure to follow her Instagram account (@biscuitsnmakeup)!
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