Exfoliation 101 with James

Exfoliation 101 with James

A comprehensive guide to considered exfoliation for the face and body!

Lets kick it all off by covering how regularly one should be exfoliating. Unfortunately, there is never a one size fits all approach when it comes to skin and exfoliation is no different.

Every skin requires a unique frequency regarding exfoliation as skins range in thickness and sensitivity (and other factors, too.) Whilst certain exfoliants exfoliate the skin more effectively and deeply than others, the main goal around exfoliation is finding the best exfoliant for your skin and to use it as regularly as possible.  

This sweet spot in the middle of the Ven diagram of right frequency of exfoliation and correct exfoliator is where you’ll be receiving all the gifts that exfoliation brings without any sensitivity. Once you find your best exfoliation fit, you can increase its frequency as your skin builds up more resilience whilst also being mindful to pull back when our skin needs a little less. We can always help guide you in finding either of these exfoliation factors, simply get in touch.

Personally, how do I like to exfoliate?
Well I’m glad you asked! My favourite exfoliant for my skin, as well as for many of our clients, is the Viviology Liquid Exfoliant. It contains a blend of alpha hydroxy acids and poly hydroxy acids to exfoliate, brighten, smooth and hydrate and can be used as frequently as tolerated. I personally use it every night before my serums (yes without any irritation or barrier impairment) to help increase the penetration of my skincare and to maintain regular exfoliation without irritation. 

If we’re taking it a step back from products, and instead focusing on some of my favourite exfoliating ingredients, I cannot go past the alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid. Not only is a very effective yet gentle way to exfoliate the skin by chemically separating our skin cells from one another, thereby brightening, smoothing and evening skin tone, but it also activates natural hydration processes in the skin to help activate natural hyaluronic production to plump and improve dry skin types. Lactic acid exfoliation can come in a range of strengths and formations and can be applied to most skin types. It’s gentle, effective and we la-la-love it at the clinic.

Next up is salicylic acid. Due to being more oil soluble in nature, it is fabulous for thicker, oilier and breakout prone skin types. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits further assist preventing and reducing symptoms of breakouts and congestion.

Poly hydroxy acids and enzymes, such as papain and bromelain, are often best fits for sensitive skins as they still gently exfoliate the skin with less opportunities for further sensitivity. You'll find PHAs in the Viviology Liquid Exfoliant.

And when it comes to exfoliating the skin on our bodies…
The skin on our body is often much thicker than the skin on our face so it needs more exfoliation to assist with common body skin concerns, such as keratosis polaris (KP), ingrown hairs, flaking skin, knees and elbows.

Granular exfoliants work to buff away dead skin cells and when used for the body can be worked into the skin more aggressively than the face. Loofas, body brushes and pumices can also achieve similar exfoliation for the body too. Look out for body moisturisers that contain lactic acid to both exfoliate and hydrate at the same time, like PCA Skin's Body Therapy.

So we’ve chatted about types of exfoliators and the frequency in which you should exfoliate, but when exactly is the right time to carryout exfoliation regime? Due to the potential for photosensitivity, I prefer exfoliation be performed at night.

Here’s how it should go-
Cleansing the skin is such an important step in any skincare routine, especially in the evening. Always start by washing your hands and ensure that you give your cleanser enough time to actually cleanse your skin, rather than rinsing down the sink 20 seconds later. Aim for 1 - 2 minutes, as the longer your cleanse the more you will stimulate your circulation and prepare your skin for your next steps. If you’ve been wearing SPF and makeup, perform a quick first cleanse to remove product from the skin and then a second cleanse to really wash the skin.

Then, use your preferred exfoliant as directed, followed by the application of serums to help repair the skin and target your unique concerns, such as Vitamin B, hyaluronic acid and my favourite for pretty much all skin concerns, Vitamin A.

Follow up with a moisturiser to help seal in your active ingredients and to help support hydration levels in the skin.

If any of the above left you feeling lost, dry or irritated, please get in touch so we can help guide you through the process of proper and effective exfoliation.