Exfoliation is not just for the thick-skinned.

At times, we may choose to skip certain steps in our skincare routine. Maybe you think that particular step is not important, or it could be due to sheer laziness or budget constraints. 

However, exfoliation is definitely one step we should not skip! Read on to find out why.

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Importance of exfoliation

Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells daily and completes a skin renewal cycle every 28-30 days. This helps our skin to promote cellular renewal and improve the appearance of our skin in general.

As we age, our skin renewal cycle gets longer and less efficient, resulting in the build-up of dead skin cells which can cause dry, flaky patches and clogged pores. Apart from this, you would notice that makeup won’t wear as well on your skin, and in serious cases, discolouration of the skin and dull lifeless skin may be visible.

For oily skin, the shedding process is slower as sebum acts as a glue that holds on to dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. 

How then can we accelerate the speed of cellular renewal for our skin?

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Exfoliate or not?

One reason why the exfoliation step is skipped is due to a common misconception: I only need to exfoliate if my skin is dry and flaky. 

However, that is certainly not true. All skin types – dry, sensitive, oily or combination will go through the process of shedding and skin renewal, which results in a buildup of dead skin cells if not properly exfoliated.

And, if you’ve been skipping exfoliating as you think it would aggravate sensitivity in your skin and cause redness or itchiness, don’t fret! With advancements in technology, there are many available options now that cater to sensitive skin types too!

Exfoliating presents a whole series of benefits that extends above having brighter, and smoother skin. In the long run, it helps to ensure our pores are not clogged, which may otherwise lead to acne. It also helps to reduce the appearance of spots, scars and pigmentation, and the cellular renewal brought about will help to smoothen fine lines and wrinkles. Most importantly, exfoliating will allow any skincare applied after to be better absorbed into the skin.

Types of exfoliants

There are two main types of exfoliants for you to choose from, namely a physical and a chemical exfoliant.

  • Physical exfoliant 

As the name suggests, physical exfoliants require a manual action to dislodge debris from the skin. This provides an almost instantaneous skin brightening effect, and depending on the product, can leave our skin feeling smoother upon use. Examples of physical exfoliants are facial scrub with exfoliating beads, face cleansing brushes and peel off masks. 

However, a significant downside to using physical exfoliants is that they can be slightly abrasive depending on the type of exfoliant, which may lead to micro-tears in the skin or increased sensitivity and redness. Such instances can happen when the scrub is made with natural ingredients such as coffee grounds, or with peel off masks that tugs harshly on the skin upon removal. Hence, it is important to select your scrubs carefully to make sure the exfoliant type is safe for the skin.

  • Chemical exfoliant

On the other hand, chemical exfoliants refer to the ingredients found in the product, typically in the form of Enzymes, AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid), BHA (Beta-Hydroxy Acid) and more recently, PHA (Poly-Hydroxy Acid). These ingredients can be found in products such as facial cleansers, serums and masks. Unlike physical exfoliants, it takes several uses for results to be seen, and works by breaking down the bonds or “glue” that holds on to dead skin cells.

They are generally found to be more gentle (due to slower-acting results) as compared to physical exfoliants, however, certain ingredients may still cause skin sensitivity – due to stronger concentration or quicker penetration rate.

P.S. When using chemical exfoliants, we would recommend for you to first perform a patch test to check for any sensitivity or reaction before committing to using the product on your whole face. Another tip would be to listen to your skin as you use the product – your skin does not require daily exfoliation and doing so may result in a diminished skin barrier, and may also cause skin thinning. If you find that at any time your skin feels sensitive after using a chemical exfoliant, stop using it for the time being, and keep your skin nourished and hydrated with a moisturiser day and night.

Exfoliators for soft, glowing skin

1. For the eco-conscious:

Try ést.lab’s LumiWhite Exfoliating Scrub, made with biodegradable jojoba beads that are perfectly spherical in shape to prevent micro-tears and is suitable for even sensitive skin. This scrub is also enriched with Vitamin C, B3 (Niacinamide), B5 (Panthenol) and Jojoba Oil (which is rich in Vitamin E) for a multitude of benefits for the skin! Gently exfoliate with the scrub 2-3 times weekly after cleansing your skin for best results.

2. For all skin types, even those with hypersensitivity:

LumiWhite 10% PHA Resurfacing Glow Serum, concocted with 10% Gluconolactone (PHA) which is gentle on the skin and suitable even for sensitive skin. Unlike AHAs and BHAs, PHA has a larger molecular size and works on the skin’s surface level to gently exfoliate. This causes less sensitivity, and can also be used by expectant mothers! 

A gentle note, due to the high concentration of PHA, it is not recommended to use this product with any other acids or retinol products.

3. For oily, acne-prone skin:

If you’re often faced with acne, black and white heads, try the PurClear Anti-Acne Serum, which contains active ingredients of Tea-Tree Leaf Oil, Alpine Willowherb Extract and Advanced Salicylic Acid (BHA) to reduce excess sebum production, gently clear clogged pores and provide anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. The Advanced Salicylic Acid is specially formulated to slow down release by 42% to prevent irritation and stinging sensations as regularly caused by the conventional Salicylic Acid which allows for even users with sensitive skin to use this product comfortably.

4. For the clay mask lovers:

Sometimes, we just want to pamper our skin with a cool soothing mask, and for that, we have the PurClear Detoxifying Mask. Made with quartz-free French Green Clay and fortified with both Mandelic Acid (AHA) and Advanced Salicylic Acid (BHA), decongest pores and reduce sebum production with this non-drying mask for a healthier and more refined complexion.

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Time to stop skipping the exfoliation step in your skincare routine to get one step closer to achieving brighter and baby smooth skin!

In Good Hands,