Skincare FAQS: Why Should You Exfoliate And More

By Kate Shapland

Here’s a factoid: did you know that your skin exfoliates all by itself? Yes, all day every day (and night) your skin sheds its dead cells naturally. It’s just another way your body is clever about caring for itself. You can help it along, using an exfoliating pad, brush, abrasive wash or cream to enhance cell turnover and renewal. 

Why is it important to exfoliate?

Regular exfoliation doesn’t just keep skin smooth, it has multiple benefits. In shifting dead surface-dulling cells it reveals the fresh pink cells beneath, which gives skin a great glow; it also encourages regular cell and fresh collagen renewal; promotes the lymph and circulation and primes skin for an application of follow up product.   

That means products absorb into skin faster, go further and perform better.  

What are the best ways to exfoliate?

Really any way, as long as you are doing it and it suits your skin type. If you body brush daily you are automatically exfoliating. Loofahs and abrasive pads are the same – as you lather the soap up by massaging them over your body you are exfoliating skin too.  You can use a product with buffing grains in it too – often a wash.  All of these deliver physical exfoliation.

Other ways to exfoliate are with gentle chemicals like alpha hydroxy acids, usually found in creams, lotions and gels.  These offer a very gentle, non-abrasive form of chemical exfoliation which can be a good alternative if your skin is sensitive to abrasion. 

How often should you exfoliate?

Again, this depends on your skin type.  If you are body brushing every day you are doing it anyway.  For your face, two to three times a week is generally the best starting point, but you can exfoliate more if your skin tolerates it well.  Go carefully with dry, mature and sensitive skin though – once or twice a week is usually enough. 

Body exfoliation often involves more abrasive products – brushes, loofahs and pumice stones, that you wouldn’t use on your face.  When you exfoliate your body pay extra attention to dry prone zones like knees, elbows, feet, thighs and buttocks. 

Where is the best place to exfoliate?

In the bath or shower. Cleanse first, then take your favourite exfoliating method – abrasive salts, cream, pad or loofah and gently massage it over your skin in circular motions. Then rinse and follow up with your body cream. Avoid exfoliating areas with cuts, sores or broken skin and if you notice any irritation, stop.