How To Exfoliate The Face Effectively

Face scrub

Last post, we had seen the benefits of exfoliating the skin and why we need to do this regularly.
Today’s post will focus on how to exfoliate the skin in a safe  and effective way, so that we can attain our desired benefits, without damaging the skin.
The truth of the matter is that excessive exfoliation can actually produce the direct opposite of the intended results.
I once met a customer whose skin was so dry as result of damaged protective barrier caused by over exfoliation.

Here are some facts to consider when exfoliating the skin:

Chemical Exfoliation

When using at home chemical exfoliants like lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, mandellic acid  etc, be sure to verify that confirm that the acid are not at very high concenterations.
At home peels should have concentrations of not more than 10% (lactic acid), 5% (glycolic acid), 2.5% (salicylic acid). Higher concentrations may need to be administered by skincare professionals to limit the risk of skin damage and adverse skin irritation.

Ensure that your exfoliating acids are formulated in combination with other soothing ingredients. Combining exfoliating acids with calming and soothing agents help to protect the skin from irritation.

Due to the aggressive nature of exfoliating acids, sensitive skin individuals should use either mandellic or lactic acid exfoliants as thees are less irritating than other acids. Lower concentrations of the acids should also be considered instead.

Dry skin individuals can  benefit more from lactic and glycolic acids, while oily skinned individuals will fare better with salicylic acid.

Exfoliating acids should be applied mostly at  night time to limit the phytotoxicity that occurs when exposed to sunlight.

To avoid over exfoliation, acids should be applied alternate nights, so no more than three (3) times in a week.

Other forms of exfoliation can be combined with exfoliating acids, BUT not at the same time.
You can choose to add an exfoliating enzyme/face scrub to your routine on the nights when you are not using exfoliating acids.

Enzymatic exfoliation

These exfoliants are very mild and gentle and can be used by most skin types

They are less aggressive than the scrubs and the acids

Their effects may take a longer time to be noticed, but the results are definitely worth waiting for!

Physical exfoliation

This is the removal of dead skin cells by rubbing with a physical abrasive to mechanically remove loose and dislodged dead skin cells instantly from the skin surface.

Most important points to note, when using this method of exfoliation is:

Be gentle, apply the same amount of pressure you would when scrubbing a new baby (always imagine that your face is a new baby, while scrubbing)

It’s better to go through 3 episodes of weekly and constant gentle scrubbing than to do one episode of lengthy harsh scrubbing. While the former will leave your skin looking refreshed and rejuvenated over time, the latter could lead to dryness and dull skin.

The choice of exfoliants used should also be paid attention to. if using granules, the right choice would be those made of symmetrically even edges. Sharp, uneven and asymmetrical edges can lead to micro tears and damages to the skin barrier structure.

So things like salt and sugar granules should NOT be used for scrubbing your face. You can save these for the other parts to the body that are not as sensitive.

Same goes for brushes and loofas, avoid any sharp, pointy or uneven edges.  Natural, rounded tips are preferred.

People with active acne, should completely steer clear of mechanical exfoliation as the process of rubbing and scrubbing can lead to skin irritation and may cause further spread of acne causing bacteria.

Essentially, it’s important to incorporate at least one of these methods of exfoliation in your weekly skincare routine. However, to get the best results, I will advice a combination of either 

Acid/ Mechanical exfoliation for Normal/ acne free skin,


 Acid/Enzymatic exfoliation for Acne prone skin, 


Enzymatic/Mechanical Exfoliation  for Sensitive Skin.

While exfoliating acids and Enzymes can help weaken the bond (natural Glue) that holds or sticks dead skin cells together and attached to the skin surface, Physical exfoliation will help to speed up their exit from the skin by mechanically removing the already weakened skin cells from the skin surface, revealing brighter looking skin.