It is important to know how often you should exfoliate to gain the benefits without risking the damage your skin but due to the many variables there is no one answers. The correct times for you depend on your skin type, condition of your skin and what type of exfoliation you tend to use. There are two methods of exfoliating – physical, such as the use of scrub or with a chemical such as a Acid (AHA or BHA) or Enzymes. Chemical exfoliators work by dissolving the “glue” between the skin cells, allowing for the ease of removing dead skin cells. In this blog we will not be going into depth of the types of exfoliators this will be in a future blog.
I am more conservative than many of my peers when it comes to exfoliation. I believe “less is more” as I believe in protecting the skin’s natural protection barrier and Acid Mantle. If you damage these two important skin mechanizes you are going to have a large variety of skin issues including sensitivity, irritations, change of pigmentation, breakouts, premature aging and even permanent scaring. Exfoliating daily with a chemical like AHA which is found in many skincare products, is both unnecessary and potentially damaging to you. Below is a general guide to how often you should and when to Exfoliate in accordance to your skin type and Conditions.
How and When to Exfoliate – Skin Types and Conditions
Dry or Thin skin or Sensitivity Skin, exfoliating once a week – Maximum. Use a very mild chemical exfoliation like enzymes peel, lactic acid, mandelic acid or low levels of salicylic acid especially if you are fighting acne at the same time. Defiantly no Glycolic Acids no harsh mechanical and chemical exfoliation, especially if you can see broken capillaries as they will lead to more damage to your skin and increase Rosaceous and more damage to the capillaries,
Inflamed or cystic acne, No Mechanical Exfoliation as it can irritate acne lesions and cause more breakouts. Use a mild salicylic acid peel, as it will help fight the acne at the same time.
Thick, rough, leathery, or sun-damaged skin, you can exfoliate more frequently. It’ll just depend on what exfoliation type you are using. AHA’s including glycolic can be used up to 3 times a week anymore than this you risk damage to the acid mantle and dehydrate your skin. Soft and gentle mechanical exfoliation like a face brush, gentle scrub or cloth can be used everyday. But hash mechanical exfoliation like electric face brush and harsh scrubs should be limited like the chemical exfoliants to no more than 3 times a week.
If you have clogged pores, breakouts, non inflamed or cystic acne, underlying congestion, or oily skin, To avoid stripping the skin of oil all together which leads to increase oil production and further clogged pores and breakouts a soft and gentle mechanical exfoliation like a face brush, gentle scrub or cloth can be used everyday to help de-clog the pores and remove excess oil without dehydrating or drying the skin. Then once a week use a stronger exfoliant, like AHA’s, face brush and harsher scrubs.
Combination Skin. Then you will need to exfoliate in accordance with the above in their respective zones. If you have an oily t zone then daily exfoliate with a face brush, gentle scrub or cloth and then do a whole face exfoliation once a week.
I know that I am going against most product instructions as I see so many patients with over exfoliated skin due to too much AHA skincare products being used. Please never exceed the manufacturer’s recommended frequency or time left on skin. When used incorrectly, chemical exfoliates can harm skin
Rest Periods and Professional Exfoliation
I also recommend that you give your skin a rest ever now from your normal home exfoliation program and have a professional exfoliation treatments. A series of chemical peels, micro-dermabrasion or a combination will do wonders for your skin. The best time of the year to have these types of treatments is spring and autumn as the skin is not fighting the harness of the summer or winter.
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