frequently asked Questions
How to remove dead cells?
According to Dr. Downie, if you want to improve your skin’s “light factor,” use an exfoliant. To better explain “this skin-lightening factor,” says Ross, “A good exfoliant should gently remove dead skin without harming the skin in the process. When skin is not exfoliated, full dead skin, it will look dull and feel dry.” Exfoliation allows your skin to absorb all the benefits of the ingredients as well as retain proper moisture.
Who should exfoliate and how often?
You may be wondering if your skin type and exfoliation is right for you. The truth is, people of all skin types and tones can exfoliate. However, it should be noted that people with very dry skin, eczema or psoriasis in general should stay away from exfoliants because of the higher chance of irritation. According to Dr. Downie, people with mature skin can take part in this step, but with less frequency and more gently.
There are a few problems as over-exfoliating can cause irritation, redness, or weaken the skin’s microbiome. So make sure to only exfoliate 2-3 times a week, as suggested by our two experts. And if you find that your skin is sensitive to exfoliants, you can try reducing the frequency of use or finding a different type.
What is the difference between physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation?
The first thing to understand is that there are two types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. You’ve guessed it before – particulate matter like walnut shells, sand, and microbeads use your manual effort to remove dead skin cells. You may want to avoid scrubs that have larger, stiffer, sharper flakes and opt for those with finer flakes instead. According to Dr. Downie, formulas with larger particulate matter can cause hyperpigmentation or small tears in the outermost layer of your skin. For this reason, Dr. Downie tends to recommend chemical exfoliants over physical exfoliants.
As for chemical exfoliants, these are acid-based products that are like exfoliants, which help remove dead skin cells and create a fresh layer of skin underneath. “The amount of skin removed is determined by the type of acid, the percentage of concentration, and how long the acid is left on the skin,” says Ross. You can look for glycolic acid and salicylic acid in exfoliants to improve skin texture and tone. In particular, salicylic acid is great for people with oily, acne-prone skin, as it can reduce inflammation and swelling, and remove dead skin that causes breakouts, according to Ross.
What ingredients should I look for in an exfoliator?
There’s a lot to decipher when it comes to ingredients that appear in exfoliants. More specifically, there are two main ingredient groups of chemical exfoliants: alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA). Kate Watson for Insider Review looks at all the details here.