Exfoliation: Why this is the key to clear, smooth skin

By Kens Apothecary

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Are you tackling any of these persistent skin concerns?

  • Dull skin that lacks radiance
  • Fine lines starting to creep up
  • Clogged pores and recurring blemishes
  • Dark spots and an uneven complexion

If your skincare goal is to achieve clear, smooth skin but you’ve not been exfoliating, then read on to see how this essential step could be the game changer.

All skin types benefit from exfoliation

You might be hesitant to exfoliate because you think it’s too harsh for your sensitive, blemish-prone skin.

Perhaps you have dry skin and think that exfoliating products will only dry out your skin further.

The good news is, all skin types can benefit from regular exfoliation.

By removing dead skin cells so that newer, youthful skin can surface, exfoliation allows for better absorption of skin-loving products like hydrating serums and nourishing moisturisers.

The key is to choose the right exfoliant for your skin type and use it correctly and consistently.

What’s the right exfoliant for your skin type?

Normal, dry, combination, or oily skin

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid and mandelic acid are effective exfoliants that are generally suitable for most skin types.

Working hard to renew the skin’s surface, AHAs also boost collagen, plump up fine lines and improve hydration levels. Quite the superstar, isn’t it?

If you’re new to AHAs, a wash-off mask formulated with glycolic and lactic acids like the Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask can be a gentle introduction to exfoliants since you rinse it off after 5-10 minutes, rather than leave it on overnight.

Looking for a fuss-free way to exfoliate? Then exfoliating pads like the Malin+Goetz Resurfacing Glycolic Pads are your best bet. Since each pad is already soaked with the right amount of product, it’s hard to get it wrong and easy to use just once to three times a week to unclog pores and improve texture.

Exfoliating procedures can be found in cosmetic clinics, too. For example, dermaplaning is a popular treatment where a doctor uses a surgical scalpel to shave the face, sweeping away dead skin cells to reveal smoother, glowing skin.

But if you’re not keen to get under a knife, the Dr Brandt Radiance Resurfacing Foam is the blade-free alternative that can be done safely at home. Featuring a blend of AHAs and a no-blade tool, the foaming cream sweeps away dead skin cells while hydrating it at the same time to allow younger skin to surface.

Exfoliating fruit enzyme from papaya in skincare

Sensitive skin types can benefit from using exfoliating fruit enzymes found in many skincare products today. (Photo: Unsplash)

Sensitive skin

If you have sensitive skin, look for exfoliants with fruit enzymes, derived from papaya, pineapple, citrus, pears, grapes and many other fruits.

These are the gentlest forms of exfoliants and you’ll still reap the benefits of nourishing antioxidants while aiding in skin renewal.

Most exfoliants today like the Dr Brandt Bright Biotic Anti Dark Spot Serum are formulated with antioxidants that hydrate while fruit enzymes exfoliate and target dark spots, large pores and fine lines.

Acne-prone and oily skin

Since AHAs are water-soluble and only work on the skin’s surface, look towards beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) if you’re oily-skinned and prone to acne.

There’s only one type of BHA and that’s salicylic acid — a hero ingredient known to fight whiteheads and blackheads by working its way deep into pores to clean it from the inside out. 

Look for formulations that keep hydration and moisture intact to prevent skin from drying out. The Caudalie Vinopure Blemish Control Infusion Serum has salicylic acid as well as nourishing antioxidants and non-comedogenic essential oils to keep skin hydrated and healthy.


How often should you exfoliate?

Start by exfoliating once a week and work your way up to 2-3 times a week.

If you have sensitive skin, use Caudalie’s Grape Water to soothe the skin after exfoliation. Made from 100% organic grapes, this refreshing mist reduces redness and calms the skin instantly.

Be patient. Skincare typically takes 4-6 weeks to show results and increasing usage can often do more harm than good. After all, your skin needs time to renew itself.

It’s important to care for your skin correctly after exfoliating. Always follow up with a moisturiser or sleeping mask to replenish the skin, and never skip out on SPF during the day.

What to do if you’ve over-exfoliated your skin

Use only one exfoliating product at a time in your skincare routine. Overloading the skin with too many exfoliants will only lead to excessively drying out the skin and injuring the protective moisture barrier.

Signs of over-exfoliation include inflammation, redness, dryness, breakouts, tightness of the skin and excessive oiliness.

Take a break from exfoliating for a few weeks and apply a calming mask like Ren’s Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask to soothe the skin. This alcohol-free formula is suitable for skin that’s over-sensitised and provides instant comfort to aid in recovery.

Exfoliation is an essential step to achieve clear, smooth skin and should be in your skincare routine.

We always recommend a patch test if you’re concerned about introducing new products to your routine. Come by to KENSapothecary stores and try out a product to see how your skin will react.


Featured image credit: Google photos

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