Why do we need to exfoliate?
Ever wondered why babies have perfectly smooth skin? While the secret behind eternally youthful skin is quite complex - science agrees that a big factor is the rate of skin cell turnover. Basically, our skin's texture becomes increasingly rough as we age because the rate of cell renewal slows down dramatically. Dead cells on your skin’s surface stick around for much longer, this tends to accentuate those fine lines and can make your complexion look dull and lifeless. Good news: we can increase this natural turnover pretty easily via exfoliation.
What is exfoliating?
Exfoliating is the process of sloughing away dead skin cells and sebum build-up. If you're not already using one as part of your skin care regimen - it's time to lift your game. The latest crop of exfoliators come in varying forms: physical, chemical, natural, peels, serums and masks. Knowing which one is best can be overwhelming which is why we're breaking it down for you.
What are chemical exfoliants?
The two main types of chemical exfoliants are AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA or beta hydroxy acids. These are rapid, oil-soluble formulas (that means they won't break down with water) so they can penetrate deep into your pores. They are also hero ingredients that are used in many facial cleansers, toners, exfoliators, pimple treatments and body washes - targeting congestion and breakouts.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution ($9.30; at adorebeauty.com.au)
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($196.00; at mecca.com.au)
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($124; at mecca.com.au)
Dermologica Daily Superfoliant ($88.50; at dermalogica.com.au)
Used for centuries to brighten, smooth and hydrate skin, these ultra-fine powders gently remove impurities and exfoliate skin for a glowing complexion. The trick: Just add water.
Tatcha The Rice Polish Classic Foaming Enzyme Powder ($99; at mecca.com.au)
Designed for single use and perfect for stowing away in your weekend bag or gym tote, it's no wonder beauty addicts are loving these simple to use and budget-friendly exfoliating pads.
Go-To Exfoliating Swipey ($46; at gotoskincare.com)
Pixi Glow Peel Pads ($44; at adorebeauty.com.au)
Do you have sensitive skin?
There's no denying: The idea of "chemical exfoliation" is super intimidating, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. However, chemical exfoliation can be used on all skin types — you just have to be mindful of what acid you're applying on your skin.
Luckily, PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) are alternative gentler acids that might be the solution for sensitive skin types who've yet to experience how effective regular chemical exfoliation can be.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Progressive Renewal Treatment ($205; at myer.com.au)
Do you have oily skin?
Historically, we haven't been a big fan scrubs as they can be way too harsh yet, a gentle formula can be used to refine the very surface of the skin. While they can't penetrate deeper layers to treat pigmentation and signs of ageing - scrubs still have their place in the skincare world.
Some face scrubs contain ingredients like menthol, peppermint, and eucalyptus that tingle on contact and leave a cooling sensation after you rinse.
Paula's Choice The UnScrub ($37; at paulaschoice.com.au)
Ole Henrickson Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub ($38; at spehora.com.au)
Salon treatments can offer a more thorough method of exfoliation to improve your skin’s overall texture and quality. A popular option is microdermabrasion which gently buffs away the skin's surface layer and requires zero downtime. What's more? The results last for about one month. Try it today at Laser Clinics Australia.