You should NOT exfoliate everyday.

Unless you want to feel like this.

You should aim to exfoliate once or twice a week. For those with dry or sensitive skin, it is not recommended that you exfoliate as often. This is because your skin is already thin, and so if you exfoliate, it will only make your skin become thinner.

For teenagers, skin cells regenerate new skin cells every 14 days. For adults (until the forties), skin regenerates every 30-40 days.

So you can imagine, if you exfoliate everyday, your skin will eventually become thinner, and it will also become easily sensitive, highly irritant, more prone to sun damage, and premature ageing. And when that happens, only a dermatologist can help you.

Why Exfoliate?
Your skin has a natural physical way of losing dead skin cells from the top layers of the skin, and this process is called desquamation. Exfoliation is the term used to ‘accelerate’ this process by using facial exfoliating products. You can get exfoliation treatments done at home, or in the salon.

Exfoliating masks are also available.

You would usually exfoliate after the skin has been cleansed and toned, and before applying further facial treatments such as masks.

Exfoliation has the following benefits:

– to remove dead skin cells, grease and impurities from the surface of the skin….
– allowing fresh new cells to be exposed, therefore improving the appearance of the skin.
– skin preparations after exfoliating such as moisturizers, mask products penetrate easier into the skin.
– the blood circulation increases, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells, therefore improving the skin colour.
– hyperpigmentation improves as the pigmented surface skin cells is removed.

Exfoliation for Oily Skin

Exfoliation is excellent for those with oily skin. People with oily skin have a thicker Epidermis layer, which is prone to excessive sebum being produced and most commonly, acne. Exfoliation therefore helps to act as ‘deep cleansing’ for oily skin, removing dead skin cells, grease and impurities from deep inside the pores.

Exfoliators for oily skin usually contain a mild astrigent effect (for antiseptic and tightening), with ingredients such as witch hazel, tea tree oil, calendula, or cucumber to help soothe the skin, and that can also help to lessen acne. For those with oily skin, you can exfoliate twice a week.

Exfoliation for Men

Men love exfoliating. Not only because it gets rid of the grease from their skin, but it also helps to soften it, giving it a better appearance. Men and women (that have oily skin) both have something in common: they have a thick Epidermis, prone to shine and acne. Exfoliating products for men are often stronger with more granules in them, because men generally have thicker skin than women.

Exfoliation for Mature Skin (40yrs+)

You probably come second on the charts. As we mature, our skin cell regeneration deteriorates –– the rate of skin cells renewing and growing weakens. This means that more and more dead skin cells are unable to desquamate. Exfoliation is strongly recommended for people with mature skin as the removal of the surface dead cells has a rejuvenating effect on the skin’s appearance.

Exfoliation for Normal Skin

This is also great for people with normal skin, but choose a facial exfoliator that is mild and gentle to use. Exfoliating helps to brighten the facial appearance as dead skin cells are removed. Aim to exfoliate once or twice a week.

Exfoliation for Combination Skin

Especially for those oily areas prone to acne and blackheads, you can exfoliate these areas with a facial exfoliator. An oily T-Zone is the most common area. You can exfoliate once or twice a week, depending on you.

Exfoliation for Dry Skin

If you must exfoliate, exfoliate with a product that is gentle, and do this once a week. Your skin needs all the natural sebum it can get produced to help keep your skin stay moisturized.

Important things to remember:

– Always work with warm water when exfoliating. An exfoliating product can be too uncomfortable when applied on it’s own.

– NEVER use body exfoliators on your face.

– Do not apply make-up immediately after exfoliating. This is why you should exfoliate at night.

– Do not exfoliate after shaving facial hair.

– When exfoliating twice a week, do not do this two days in a row. Seperate these days within the week so that your skin cells can regenerate well.

– Try to use exfoliating products on your neck area also.

– Exfoliation is not recommended for those with highly sensitive skin, or pustular, blemished skin.

– Avoid exfoliating products that contain sharp grains of nut shells, as these can scrape, split and damage your skin.

– Always test the product on the back of your hand before purchasing.

Do you exfoliate? How often? What products do you use?

Editor’s Note: This post has been abridged. Read the full entry here.