I want to shed some light on a very unknown concern. Although I am a firm believer in exfoliating, it has come to my attention over and again that some of these products can damage the skin.
Over the years I have seen many women using abrasive exfoliates. As an electrologist, I have seen clients complain about skin that is irritated and very oily, or they are experiencing redness, breakouts or fine lines. This can all be caused by an abrasive exfoliate.
What do I mean by damage?
Using a serious abrasion on your skin can actually cause many problems.
- creating fine lines.
- causing skin irritation, redness and micro-sores.
- causing breakouts from over stimulation.
- over production of sebum.
- hair growth…OMG!
Why do we exfoliate?
We exfoliate to help remove and shed layers of dead skin.
We want to remove those layers because they trap debris, dirt and oil. Our pores can get clogged and our skin can look dull.
We also want the added benefit of cell regrowth from gentle stimulation. This will help with fine lines, and really brighten your skin.
When is Exfoliating Bad?
When using certain products that should aid in removing debris, resurfacing and stimulating cell renewal, you might actually be hurting the skin.
People who suffer from acne breakouts can not exfoliate with such harsh products, because they irritate and inflame the pores, leading to more breakouts.
Harsh exfoliating strips away natural oils, causing the skin to act in overdrive. It also creates small cuts in the skin that need to heal. As your skin tries to heal, it accelerates sebum production.
Unwanted Hair growth is also caused by over stimulation of the skin. Over stimulation causes the skin to produce more blood supply to heal, your blood may contain high levels of hormones. A constant supply of testosterone via the blood systems in the skin can trigger more hair growth on the face.
Harsh exfoliates use heavy, sharp edged ingredients. Including;
- Ground beans
- Ground fruit seeds and nuts
- Sea salt
Some of these ingredients can benefit the skin with minerals and vitamins, but we really need to be using smooth, soft exfoliates.
The skin is delicate and does not need harsh abrasion to get the job done.
You want to be sure your abrasion ingredient has been finely ground or softened.
Take oatmeal as an example; It is rough and sharp until you soften it with yogurt or a nice lemon juice.
Sand on the other hand, can not really be softened. It still has sharp and uneven edges.
This is where you can experience micro-lacerations that may create fine lines and “sores” on the skin.
The skin has to spend extra energy healing these small cuts. If you are consistently using these products, your skin will be in a cycle of hurting then trying to heal, not benefiting from the real purpose of an exfoliate.
What is the solution?
I am most definitely not saying stop exfoliating! I love what a great exfoliate can do for the skin. Just be sure that when you buy a product, you are truly benefiting from it. Here is how:
- Make sure you are using a smooth exfoliate.
- Avoid harsh exfoliates such as ground shells and salt.
- Do not over use exfoliates. Allow time (3-4 days) in between for the skin to regenerate.
- Consider other ingredients that do just as good of job without damage (such as oatmeal).
- Exfoliates should remove debris and nourish the skin.
- Soften your ingredients.
What do I recommend?
This is really a simple question to answer. I highly recommend using Jojoba beads for exfoliating.
They are soft, smooth and round. In fact, any exfoliate that contains round beads will be great.
You can still achieve the benefits of exfoliating, including a deep clean and gentle stimulation. Your pores will be happy and your skin will glow.
Skin care is all about caring for the skin and getting great results without damage. Be sure to check out what exfoliate you are currently using and make an assessment on what it may be doing to your skin.
Think about what ingredients are being used and consider whether it is too abrasive. The old days of harsh “resurfacing” and “stripping” are gone. We can still achieve effective results without the damage and need of repair.
Do you agree or disagree? Be sure to leave us a comment or ask questions. We are always here to help!
To a bright and beautiful you,