Skin exfoliation: all about the types and the right time

Dust, pollution, grime, scorching heat, all of it adheres to your skin every day when you venture outside. Well, after years of glorification, everyone is aware of the much-publicized CTM routine. For the uninitiated, it is a sequential process of cleansing, toning and moisturizing your skin at least twice a day to achieve healthy skin. However, exfoliation is also important! It penetrates deeper layers of the skin to remove any dirt, grime, makeup or clogged pores to deeply cleanse the skin. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and helps rejuvenate the skin to give it a fresh glow.

Health Shots contacted Dr Kashish Kalra, Head of the Department of Dermatology at Max Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, to understand everything about skin exfoliation.

Why exfoliate your skin?

Exfoliation is an important step in preventing your skin from aging and keeping it healthy. According to the expert, here are two major reasons why we should exfoliate our skin.

You can make exfoliation a permanent part of your skincare routine, but be careful as too much can dry out your skin! Image provided by: Shutterstock

1. Removal of dead skin cells

“Our skin renews itself every 30 to 40 days. Thus, almost daily, these dead cells accumulate on the surface layer of the skin called the stratum corneum. These dead cells can sometimes clog your pores, speed up the aging process and lead to breakouts. So, for general hygiene, you need to exfoliate your face,” says Dr Kalra.

2. Helps in better absorption of moisturizer

The expert says that if we exfoliate our skin regularly, it helps to better hydrate the deeper layers of the skin.

Also read: Does your vulvar skin need exfoliation? Here’s everything you need to know

How to exfoliate your skin?

There are 2 methods of exfoliation: chemical exfoliation and physical exfoliation.

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• Physical exfoliation occurs when we use scrubs. The expert says that one should refrain from over-exfoliating using this method as it can lead to dryness and breakouts if you have sensitive skin.

• Chemical exfoliation involves the use of acids to remove dead skin cells. Awareness around AHAs, BHAs, salicylic acid, glycolic acid and many others that help the skin gently exfoliate has increased over the years.

Know more: Physical or chemical – which is the best exfoliation technique for your skin?

Who should exfoliate the skin?

Exfoliating may not be the best thing to do if you have sensitive skin, especially severely. This can lead to redness and dryness. In this case, you can start with gentle facial cleansers that contain a light concentration of exfoliating agents. Additionally, you can start by doing it once or twice a week and then continue, suggests Dr. Kalra. People with oily skin can also exfoliate daily.

how to heal exfoliated skin
Excessive exfoliation can lead to breakouts and dry skin, especially in people with sensitive skin. Image provided by: Shutterstock

When is the right time to exfoliate?

Exfoliation largely depends on your schedule, says the expert. You can exfoliate in the morning. This is because when we sleep at night, our skin enters a state of repair and all the dead skin cells tend to accumulate in the surface layer of the skin. So, in the morning, you can wipe them all off using a cleanser that contains exfoliating agents. Thus, cleansing, moisturizing and sun protection (CMS) are generally suggested in the morning.

Nowadays, cleansers contain scrubs, so you don’t need to buy a separate scrub for that.

“In the evening, when you get home from work, you can use the same cleanser or another one again to exfoliate your skin. At the same time, people who wear makeup daily should also exfoliate at night. Unremoved makeup can clog your pores, so you should wipe off all makeup with a good micellar water, use a cleanser (you can also exfoliate twice a week), then finish your routine by applying a moisturizer before going to your bathroom. go to bed,” says the expert.

A word of warning: Nowadays, people love to apply serums on the skin. What they don’t realize is that sometimes these serums contain AHAs like glycolic acid, mandelic acid, and salicylic acid which add to the extra burden of exfoliation. Remember that excessive exfoliation is bad and can dry out your skin. Retinol is another ingredient that exfoliates the skin, and people who use retinol in their 30s or 40s end up with dry skin. We must remember that as we age, we lose the natural moisturizing factor present in the skin.

You must therefore exfoliate according to the needs and type of your skin. Excess would lead to poorer results.

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