Reader's Nook: How To Exfoliate Your Skin

My next post is inspired by an elevator (literally) conversation with some good friends in the office. My friend C needs to exfoliate some rough patches on his face but his skin is too sensitive that he starts to break out when he uses strong scrubs. I rummaged through my beauty stash and did some more research. This post is dedicated to you, C! :) 

Exfoliation is the process of  removing dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin. Exfoliation is important to help reduce acne problems and maintain clear, smooth skin. It also helps encourage the skin to renew itself, giving you more radiance and youthful glow. There are several ways to exfoliate your skin and intervals also depend on your skin type. Oily skin needs more frequent exfoliation up to thrice a week (given your skin is not sensitive) to reduce build-up of oil and dead skin cells which is a recipe for acne disaster. Normal and dry skin may only need once to twice a week exfoliation. I have sensitive but oily skin and my ritual includes twice a week exfoliation with gentle, non-acidic facial scrub. I've been observing this regimen for quite some time and so far so good! :)

Here are several ways to exfoliate:

1. Chemical Peels. Make sure to consult a professional if you plan to try chemical peeling. While there are over-the-counter exfoliant available, I'm convinced we should leave this to the professional. I go to my dermatologist once in a while to get a chemical peel where she applies thin coats of peeling agent that makes my face peel like crazy for a week. It's important to go to a professional who can determine the chemical concentration that your skin needs. Otherwise, you'll be left with uneven, even burnt skin. Scary! Also, expect that you will look weird with strips of dead skin peeling off your face for roughly a week but your skin will look and FEEL unbelievably renewed by week 2. 

Diamond Peel session at Perpetual MedSpa

2. Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive machine-assisted skin-exfoliating treatment that uses aluminum oxide crystals and vacuum system that sucks away dirt, dead cells and used crystals. The newer version is Diamond Peel where the micro-crystal flow is replaced with a disposable or reusable diamond tip wand. I've tried Diamond Peel several times and the effect is already visible after a few sessions. In fact, you will have tighter and smoother skin after the first try. Hooray!  
3. Commercial Facial Scrubs and Masks. Keep a tube of cleansing beads or scrub in the shower and always remember to gently apply to your face, neck and body using gentle, circular motion. Do not scrub hard! Since I have sensitive skin, I use gentle, natural formula like Human Heart Nature Purifying Facial Scrub. It's a plus that it smells like strawberry field! :) If you're not too sensitive with salicylic acid, St. Ives Apricot Scrub is affordable and works like magic. There are also exfoliating facial masks that contain gentler acids that aid in exfoliation of the skin. As a general rule, clay type masks work best for oily skin, and cream/gel for dry and combination.

The gentlest facial scrub ever!

4. DIY Facial Scrubs. If you want to keep it natural and budget friendly, head to your kitchen and you'll likely find ingredients you need to do a DIY scrub. Here's my tried and tested recipes:
  • Oatmeal scrub - Combine warm water, natural honey and oats until you get a paste. Apply on your face and gently scrub especially on dry areas like sides of your nose. Leave for 10-15 minutes, rinse with cold water and pat dry.
  • Sugar/Salt scrub - The simplest of them all. Combine fine granulated sugar and olive oil and gently scrub your face using circular motion. Do not scrub too hard. For rougher and less sensitive areas like feet, knees and elbows, you can substitute the sugar with fine salt.
  • Coffee scrub - Aside from exfoliating, coffee scrub is also an excellent way to reduce cellulite.High five! This can be really messy so I suggest doing this in the bathroom before shower. Simply apply fine coffee granules on wet skin and scrub gently. Wrap your legs with cling wrap and let it stand for 15-20 minutes. 
Remember that exfoliated skin will likely be more dry and prone to redness and sunburn. Don't worry, the redness will go away after a few hours so it's best to exfoliate before bedtime to give your skin some rest. Don't forget to apply moisturizers and sunscreen, too! 

I'm not a doctor nor a skin expert. My suggestions are based on my personal experience and road-to-recovery from acne. If you have serious skin problems, pick up the phone and schedule a check-up with your dermatologist instead! ;) 

Much Love,