Spring Cleaning: Exfoliation Best Practices
As the changing season inspires good habits, take the opportunity to refresh your skin regimen.
Each year spring’s longer days, additional light and milder weather inspire us to get our affairs in order. We clean our homes, we organize our finances — if we’re feeling particularly inspired we might even revisit our January goals. So why not take the opportunity to clean the slate with your skin care regimen too, by incorporating proper exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the removal of the surface layer of skin. The generations-old practice is done to instigate skin cell renewal and increase collagen production — two things that will keep your skin looking and feeling young, healthy and vibrant heading into summer. For many species, this process occurs naturally — animals shed their fur and snakes shed their skin. While our skin does regenerate on its own, the process can benefit from a bit of added effort.
Here’s a breakdown of why and how you should be exfoliating.
First of all, it feels good. Like a good back scratch or a deep tissue massage, exfoliation inspires a sense of physical relief that feels refreshing. Second of all, it cleanses. Exfoliation removes oil and dirt from your pores, to give your skin a deeper clean. But beyond these obvious benefits there are plenty of advantages to regular exfoliation:
- Smoother, softer overall texture
- Reduced ingrown hairs
- Improves skin radiance
Once exfoliated, your skin is primed for absorption, helping any other skin care treatments you’re using to be more effective.
“Gentle exfoliation makes such a difference for my skin. I love the delicate facial brush from the Clarisonic Pro system. I use it weekly with the SkinMedica AHA/BHA Cleanser to buff and polish my skin. This exfoliation helps my antioxidant serums penetrate more effectively and it provides a smoother canvas for the mineral cosmetics.” Catherine, Registered Nurse, Carruthers & Humphrey
There’s no hard and fast rule on how often you should be exfoliating. If your skin is particularly sensitive, exfoliating twice a week could cause unwanted irritation. On the other hand, if you’re combatting oily skin, you may want to exfoliate more often. Speak with your dermatologist to determine what frequency is optimal for your skin.
Regardless of frequency, your exfoliation routine should look more or less the same:
- Choose a facial scrub with some texture. If you choose a traditional scrub with pumice and sea salt exfoliants, we recommend a gentle, spherical, eco-friendly bead such as Jojoba. Alternatively, you can find products with glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid that will slough off dead skin (without the scrub) and helps to prevent breakouts.
- Rinse your face with warm water.
- Begin to apply the exfoliant in circular motions for at least 30 seconds (up to one minute).
- Rinse the exfoliant away.
The Final Step
Because exfoliating will often leave your skin feeling slightly tighter, drier and more sensitive than normal, it’s best to follow up with a serum and moisturizer that will encourage dermal recovery. Whether you are looking for hydration or skin firming, we can help you choose a moisturizer that will be beneficial to your unique complexion.
For instance, if you have oily skin, you will want to choose a light moisturizer like the SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture. The combination of natural extracts can help to reduce the look of enlarged pores, and the lightweight composition will keep your skin feeling hydrated, not greasy. If signs of aging are your biggest concern, try SkinMedica’s Dermal Repair Cream. With high levels of vitamins C and E, it will hydrate your skin, inspiring a refreshed, youthful look.
Exfoliation is just one piece of the larger skin care puzzle and helpful to incorporate if you’d like to see real change and achieve truly healthy skin. By removing barriers to skin rejuvenation, a simple exfoliation routine will help to unlock the true potential of your skin.
Still feeling lost about the process, your skin needs, or the other elements of a proper skin care regimen? Visit the skin care boutique at our West Broadway clinic, where we can help whether you’re searching for the perfect product or a customized 360° skin care program.