Did you know that your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every 30 days or so, to make room for new cells? It’s true, but sometimes these cells don’t shed completely, which can result in dull, dry skin and clogged pores; that’s where exfoliation comes in.
A great—but often overlooked—addition to your skincare routine, exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin to brighten your complexion and help improve the effectiveness of your skincare products by enhancing absorption. In time, you’ll see reduced blemishes, fine lines, and pores, and even softened pigmentation. Essentially, exfoliation is like spring cleaning for your face… all year round.
There are two types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation involves the manual removal of dead skin cells with scrubs and other products that contain beads, granules, or crystals. Chemical exfoliation, on the other hand, uses ingredients that penetrate the skin to help renew your complexion. Both are effective, and can be incorporated into your skincare routine depending on your needs.
For an added boost beyond what you can achieve at home, exfoliation can also take place in a professional treatment setting under the care of an aesthetician or aesthetic skin care nurse. If you’re looking to up your exfoliation game at home, here are some of our favourite exfoliants.
Vivier Vitamin C Scrub
The Vivier Vitamin C Scrub is a physical exfoliant that can be used on the face or body. The exfoliating (and biodegradable) beads in this scrub are spherical, which creates a gentle yet effective exfoliation without causing irritation or damaging the skin. This product contains antioxidants and extracts that lift dirt, oil and debris while giving your skin a healthy glow. Plus, it smells fantastic!!
How to use it: We recommend using this product 1-2 times per week, after cleansing, but before toning. You can use this in the morning, or the evening, but we love adding it to our morning routine since removing dead skin will allow for your make-up to apply more evenly and look smoother.
SkinMedica AHA/BHA Cream
A chemical exfoliant, SkinMedica’s AHA/BHA Cream uses naturally derived alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)—including lactic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid, and malic acid—and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA)—namely salicylic acid—in combination with vitamins E and B5 to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and enhance skin texture.
For context, AHAs are water-soluble acids typically derived from sugary fruits that help peel away the surface of your skin to reveal new, more evenly pigmented skin cells. BHAs are oil-soluble acids that go deep into your skin to dry out excess oils and dead skin cells to unclog your pores. The magic of this cream lies in the combination of the two!
How to use it: After toning, apply a small amount to your face and neck 2 times/week to start, building up to every night in about 6 weeks time. Always use a daily sunscreen when using a chemical exfoliant.
Oh, retinol, how we love thee. Another chemical exfoliant, retinol is a form of vitamin A which helps promote cell turnover and is clinically proven to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, discolouration and blemishes, all while stimulating collagen and elastin production along the way. In our opinion, it’s a must-have ingredient in all anti-aging skincare routines.
Some of our favourite retinol products: SkinCeuticals Retinol (start with the Retinol 0.3 and work your way up), Rejudicare Retinol SRX, and SkinMedica Retinol (start with the Retinol 0.5 and work your way up).
How to use it: If you’ve never used retinol before, start slow. After cleansing, apply a dime-sized amount to your face and neck 2 times/week to start, building up to every night in about 6 weeks time. Always use a daily sunscreen when using retinol.
If you’re still not sure how to incorporate exfoliants into your at-home skincare routine, advice is always free at Wonder Skincare. Start with a one-on-one consultation with a Wonder Skin Therapist to discuss your needs.