Exfoliation is about scrubbing away dead skin cell debris from the surface of the skin, which (if left too long) can lead to clogged pores, oily skin and a rough-feeling complexion. Despite the concept, removing dead skin doesn’t necessarily need to be a harsh undertaking. Some substances used for exfoliation can irritate the skin, causing redness and can even be painful. The biggest challenge with regards to exfoliation - especially on the face - is how to go about gently exfoliating the skin, without being too harsh or abrasive.
We’ve all heard of and/or attempted different home remedies. A popular one is mixing lemon juice and yogurt together and using this as a natural exfoliant that cleanses the skin when you feel it is getting clogged up. Here are some other tips and examples for gentle facial exfoliation:
• As a general rule, discontinue use of anything that causes a burning sensation, or hurts your skin when you use it. A tingle is fine, but if there is a burning feeling, it is probably detrimental to your skin’s health and may not be very good for you to continue using.
• Microdermabrasion treatments can be very expensive and cause fine scratches on the surface of the skin, but there are ways to get around forking out the big bucks to achieve the same kind of results. Try good-old baking soda, with its countless uses! This old favourite can also be used to exfoliate your skin. A lot of these expensive microdermabrasion treatments and products contain sodium bicarbonate, which when you get down to it is pretty much baking soda.
• If you want to reverse the grip that dead skin cells can have on the texture of your skin, home items such as yogurt and honey can be effective. If you want to remove the dead skin cells entirely, ground fruit seeds such as raspberry seeds, blackberry seeds or ground almonds can be incredibly handy. But beware of the types of seeds you crush up into your mix, as if the mix contains too many jagged edges you may irritate or damage the surface of your skin. Other useful household ingredients to utilise are oatmeal, ground coffee or sea salt.
• The controversial loofah sponge receives mixed reviews from users and skin care professionals, as some sources will say the loofah is too abrasive for the skin on your face. Others, however, will say it’s exactly what you need to complete a successful, deep exfoliation, as long as you use it in a gentle way, (we recommend using this tool at your discretion). The loofah would be considered the harshest treatment on our list, but we feel it is worth acknowledging; who knows, maybe it will work best for you. Intermittent use (once weekly) of the loofah is nonetheless advised, as using a loofah every day could indeed be detrimental to your skin, especially the more sensitive skin on your face. Also, if you do use one, remember that they are breeding grounds for bacteria and to buy a new one every 2-3 months, to be safe.
Ultimately, finding out what works best for you and your skin might take time, but gentle exfoliation on a regular basis will no doubt be beneficial to your skin’s health. Look into some of the treatments suggested above, and have fun treating yourself to fresher, healthier skin!
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