Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells and built up debris from the skin's surface with the intention to promote healthy skin regeneration and deep cleanse.
We know that there's a plethora of products, treatments and tools that promise smooth and bright skin by means of exfoliation so we're creating this guide to breakdown these different methods with the hopes of helping you choose which is best for your unique skin type.
Chemical vs Physical Exfoliation?
Chemical generally uses acid or enzymes to exfoliate the skin whereas physical includes texture (often ground up walnut shells or sugar) to physically buff away dead skin cells.
There are now also products that combine the two with the ability to exfoliate the deepest layers of skin as well as the surface.
When it comes to choosing one, there are many factors to consider; you must first identify your skin type and choose a formulation that supports it. Chemical exfoliants have often been the preferred choice for those with sensitive skin as they they are usually considered to be more gentle. However, it really depends on the formulation of the individual product so this is a bit of a sweeping statement.
Physical exfoliants are great for oily/ thicker skin but use with caution on sensitive skin or reactive skin as you don't want to the damage the surface of the skin or exacerbate any existing skin issues.
How often should I exfoliate?
A less-is-more approach is always encouraged when it comes to exfoliation. Many people tend to over-exfoliate, using strong exfoliants too often which can throw your skin into an imbalanced state causing barrier damage amongst other issues. Once or twice a week should be enough as healthy skin should really be exfoliating itself but this will depend on the product you choose to use.
For those with Rosacea or extremely sensitive skin, I would reach for something like Activist's Manuka Honey which offers a gentle exfoliation in addition to potent healing abilities.
For Acne-prone skin, try products containing Salicylic Acid/ Willow Bark Extract (a natural form of Salicylic Acid) like the Dr Loretta Micro-Exfoliating Cleanser.
*For those with active breakouts, steer clear of physical scrubs as they can aggravate the inflammation.*
Morning or Night?
This depends on the product but we tend to have more time to dedicate to our skincare in the evenings. It's nice to add this step into your evening routine as it will help night serums and creams absorb better, and your freshly exfoliated skin can regenerate as you sleep.
Which facial treatments can I look into for a deeper exfoliation/ resurfacing?
It depends which approach you want to take. There are intense treatments like chemical peels that can yield great results but I would do lots of research before committing to a treatment like this as they are not for everybody.
From a more holistic standpoint, the view is that we want to support the skin's regeneration process and gentle exfoliation is considered to be the best way of doing this, not quick fixes.
Our Microdermabrasion + Ultrasound Facial is a minimally invasive treatment that combines the exfoliation technique of Microdermabrasion which helps to deeply-exfoliate and renew skin tone and texture with Ultrasound that boosts circulation and stimulates the protein that gives skin it's elasticity and firmness. Not to mention the relaxing hand, neck, arm and hand massage that practically sends you to sleep.
What are the signs of over-exfoliating?
Over-exfoliation causes barrier damage which can present a whole-host of issues from acne to dehydrated/ dull skin to chronic skin irritation and eczema.
Dry brushing is a great way to gently exfoliate the body as well as stimulate circulation and aid in lymphatic drainage. If time allows, once a day in the morning is a great way to wake up!
Hair and Scalp Exfoliation?
Yes, yes and yes! Biggest game changer for me personally in 2022 was investing in a good scalp and hair polish to get rid of product build-up, dirt and debris from city life. A scalp polish can balance the oils naturally produced to prevent oily or flat hair and dry ends resulting in healthy, shiny and fuller hair.
A good investment is also a Gua Sha Massage Comb to stimulate hair growth.
Recommendations? The perfect exfoliant exists for everyone but it can be tricky to find, pop by the shoppe, give us a call or send in an email if you're struggling and we'll do our best to guide you.
Here are some of our favourites:
Best to gently brighten and strengthen skin:
Best for Rosacea/ Eczema/ Irritated skin:
Best for Oily/ Mature skin:
Best for Acne:
Best for Sensitive Skin:
Best for Mature Skin:
Best for Body:
Best for Scalp + Hair: