Exfoliation and a healthy skin barrier work hand-in-hand, and when done properly can change your life. Achieving a healthy skin barrier is vital when striving for hydrated and balanced skin. Adding exfoliating products into your skincare routine, such as salicylic acid cleansers, lactic acid serums, or any other type of skincare product containing chemical exfoliants will change your skin’s appearance and strengthen your skin barrier. All the secrets revealed below.
Kevin Khosa Skin Expert and Customer Service Manager at SKIN functional said: “The right exfoliation routine can be a powerful tool for promoting smoother, softer, and more even-toned skin. But when overused or not used correctly, exfoliants can disrupt your skin's natural barrier, which may result in redness, flaking, or irritation.”
The trick is to know how and when to exfoliate your skin using the correct ingredients and well-formulated products.
“Exfoliation normalises hyaluronic acid production, it also normalises skin shedding which in turn leads to optimal barrier functioning. We’re covering the basics on how often to exfoliate your face, which ingredients to look for, and how to exfoliate gently and effectively,” added Khosa.
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells and built-up dirt from the skin's surface.. It promotes skin regeneration as well as providing a deep cleanse of the skin barrier. However, when overdone can cause disruptions in the skin barrier. For this reason, when crafting an exfoliation routine, choose an exfoliation method based on your skin type and skin concerns.
What is my skin barrier?
The skin barrier is the protective outermost layer of your skin. It functions as the main gatekeeper between your skin and the external environment, making it essential in protecting your skin against environmental stressors and moisture loss. That’s why, in order to reap the full benefits of exfoliation and enjoy healthy-looking skin, it’s crucial to protect your skin’s natural barrier with the right products, application, and methods.
Tip 1: First, define your skin type and choose a suitable exfoliation method.
Dry and sensitive skin types start off with a very gentle chemical exfoliator or a large molecule exfoliator such as Mandelic Acid and apply twice a week and slowly increase frequency the more your skin adjusts.
Normal and acne prone skin types consider AHAs (which are water-soluble chemical exfoliants that include ingredients like lactic and glycolic acids) to gently exfoliate your skin.
Oily skin types may want to consider a BHA (Beta-hydroxy acids which are oil-soluble chemical exfoliants, such as salicylic acid) to help unclog pores.
Tip 2: Look for exfoliating products with hydrating and skin barrier-reinforcing Ingredients. It is essential to be gentle with your skin and nourish it after exfoliation treatments. To effectively achieve this, you want to look for exfoliating products that are formulated to be gentle enough for daily use, with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Products with these ingredients can help hydrate and calm your skin when used as part of your daily skincare routine.
Tip 3: Pick the correct exfoliating ingredients for your skin. Look for exfoliating ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, and retinol which can all be found in SKIN functional’s chemical exfoliation range. The kind of ingredient you choose for your specific skin type will also determine the method of exfoliation that will be best for your skin that does not disrupt your skin barrier.
“Remember to be gentle with your skin and give it time. If you’re going to use a physical exfoliant, take extra care with gentle application and avoid over-scrubbing your skin. And finally, always practice sun protection in all and every skincare routines especially if you're exfoliating. This is because certain exfoliants—such as glycolic acid—may cause increased photosensitivity and elevate your risk of sun damage,” concluded Khosa.
Tip 4: Practice minimal skincare. You only need four to five key products in your routine. Prevent over stimulating your skin as this can present itself as breakouts on your skin. Consider other ingredients you are using when incorporating exfoliation into your routine. Ingredients like Azelaic Acid, Vitamin C and Retinoids all increase the cell turnover and used with exfoliation may lead to over stimulation of the skin. When in doubt, alternate the exfoliation treatments with the above mentioned ingredients.