Exfoliating your face
If you don’t exfoliate, you won’t have good skin. Eve Lom compared it to polishing a kitchen floor that you haven’t cleaned. No matter what oils, potions and lotions you apply, you won’t see the full benefit without proper prep.
If you can exfoliate once week then you are off to a good start. Your skin will feel smoother, your makeup will go on better, and you will get fewer blocked pores and blackheads. That’s enough for some skins, especially sensitive or dry ones. These skins tend to be finer, and don’t need as much exfoliation.
Oily skins can be exfoliated twice or three times a week, as the skin is thicker. Normal skins, well, in between will work for you. Mature skins have a slower cell turnover, so we can do less as we get more awesome.
Some people benefit from extra exfoliation in the colder months, try adding an extra exfoliation in to your routine and see how it goes.
What should I use?
Even sensitive skins can use an exfoliator. You just need to find the right one for you! I idly picked up an exfoliator in the supermarket recently. Scanning down the ingredient list, I was HORRIFIED to see that the exfoliating particles were pumice. No-one’s face needs that. Keep pumice for your feet!
I am a huge fan of using enzymes to exfoliate. They are gentle, but effective. Pineapple is a commonly used fruit enzyme which breaks down the bonds holding the dead skin cells to the surface. This allows you to gently massage them away- no scrubbing required!
At home I use Nimue’s Exfoliating Enzyme, which has a blend of pineapple and papaya enzymes. It is suitable for all skin types. Mine lives in the shower, and I exfoliate while I have conditioner on my hair- great for when you don’t have time to sit down and “do your face” a couple of nights per week!
If you can’t live without that “scrubby” feel, find something that will still be gentle on the skin. No kernels, pumice, salt or sugar. These granules can be rough on the skin, sometimes enough to push a previously normal skin over into sensitivity. In the Bees’ Knees facial I use Bimble French Polish, which uses oatmeal and naturally occuring AHAs (https://www.bimble.co/product-page/french-polish-facial-clay-cleanser). That one is amazing for normal to oily skins, as it doesn’t strip oily away. My other option is Bimble’s Three King Awesome, with ground almonds. I adore the texture of this one, it’s like an old fashioned French gommage. Work it all over to exfoliate, then brush it off as it dries. https://www.bimble.co/product-page/three-king-awesome-facial-clay-cleanser
Usually Alpha Hydroxy Acids like Glycolic acid. It works in a similar way to fruit acids, but can be aggressive on sensitive skins. Start slowly and build up to regular use.
okay, this is more about how products are mis-sold to the public. There are a lot of ones out there advertised as “daily exfoliators”, or “exfoliating cleansers”. When I worked in London, I saw a lot of clients using a popular daily rice bran exfoliating cleanser. Not one had good skin. Not A Single One. The product might have been great, if used properly, but no-one was. You can’t just wash your face with a cleanser with bits in it and declare job done. You still need to take the time a couple of times a week, and *gasp* exfoliate with it. Have a good scrub. Wiping it on and off again does nothing!
Don’t worry, there’s a lot involved in getting your skin just right. That’s why I offer 1-2-1 consultations to help you find the right path and products for you to use. Book in for a skincare consultation and take the first step to having great skin!