Clean skin is a sign of healthy skin, and the less stress you put on it to get it clean, the better. Most of us are familiar with face scrubs, and probably practice the self-care activity of skin exfoliation a few times a week. The word “scrub” in “face scrub” is the perfect marketing tool to make you believe that you are solely scrubbing away dead skin. What may not be clear to many is that physically scrubbing away at your skin’s surface does more harm than good.
Exfoliation generally reduces acne, hyperpigmentation, large pores, uneven skin and fine lines. However, physical face scrubs contain granules which cause micro-tears on the skin’s surface. This abrasion worsens inflammation on acne and hyperpigmentation, in turn beating the purpose of exfoliation.
Do not be put off by the word “chemical”. Good chemicals that are formulated by experts work well to gently lift off dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliation has gained popularity among popular international YouTube and Instagram skin-care enthusiasts. U.S. based esthetician, Nayamka Roberts-Smith, emphasises on the use of chemical skin exfoliants instead of physical skin exfoliants. She explains that chemical exfoliation dissolves the bond between dead skin cells, making it easy to wash or wipe the dead skin off.
The best chemical exfoliant for oily and acne-prone skin is salicylic acid. For hyperpigmentation, there is glycolic acid. Lactic acid is gentle and moisturising and mandelic acid is great for sensitive skin. These acids can be found in popular skincare products and are normally mentioned in the ingredient list. Keep in mind that chemical exfoliants have to be accompanied with a sunscreen containing a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. This is because chemical exfoliation makes skin sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays.
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