Summer is sweaty. It causes clogged pores, sebum build up and sun-parched skin. As a result, we tend to reach for clay masks to dry out oily skin and moisturizers to hydrate dry skin. But we're missing a KEY step that will make your clay masks and your moisturizers work even better and lead to baby soft cheeks - exfoliators!
Exfoliators dissolve or "scrub" away sun-dried skin as well as excess oil and can even out your skintone. They banish flakes, orange peel texture, blackheads. and come in two types - physical/manual and chemical.
are what we think of as scrubs - they've got a grit/grain in them that physically buffs away dry skin. The more gritty/sandy, the more intense they are. A lot of dry folks I know are scared of exfoliating because they've used a scrub that tore their face off as a teen and now they won't do it for fear of a repeat.
I get it - but think about a plant who has some dry brown dead leaves with no hope of saving them. Do you hydrate the plant by watering it a ton and hope that the leaves will magically come back to life? No, you pull them off and throw them in the trash - they're done! And they're keeping the plant from being its best self as they steal energy. Same thing with your skin - we need to get rid of the dead skin so your baby skin underneath has a fighting chance!
I love our Antioxidant Facial Polish for this as it's super gentle and uses Jojoba Beads which are made from Jojoba Seed Oil which mimics your skin. So you're exfoliating with something nourishing! Even most sensitive folks can use it and some of our clients use it multiple times/week.
If your skin is oily, breakout-prone or dry to the max then chemical exfoliants can give you the quickest turnaround time. And don't worry, "chemical" is the method of exfoliation, not meaning it's full of actual chemicals (though water is a chemical but that's another story). Chemical exfoliants are acids that dissolve dead skin cells. Which also sounds scary (and can be!) but if you go with gentle options, or low percentages of said acids, (and do a patch test) it's really effective. They are very well-suited to breakout-prone skin as it doesn't have the scrubbies which can "open" up breakouts and spread things around.
You can do an acid toner or a mask/peel situation. I always reach for our Pumpkin Enzyme Peel which combines a very low percentage of Glycolic Acid with the naturally occurring Alpha Hydroxy Acids in Pumpkin. These two ingredients unplug clogged pores and sweep away layers of dead skin. It helps with texture, brightness and really allows your serums and moisturizers to get in there and do their job.
So how often should you exfoliate? It's different for everyone but 1-3 times/week is ideal. Try out a couple of days a week and see if you should add a day or take one away. Follow with your lotions and potions and your skin will be softer in no time!