Everyone looking at an effective skincare regime will come across an instruction to exfoliate. It can seem like a harsh thing to do to your skin, and if you are particularly sensitive, you may question whether this is really a good idea.
In truth, exfoliating is the key to bright and glowing skin. It is just about finding the right way to do it in order to suit your skin.
Here, we take a look at what the benefits of exfoliating are, and how you can incorporate it into your skincare routine.
1. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells
So, what is exfoliation? The primary purpose of exfoliating is to buff away the dead skin cells.
Your skin should shed these naturally every 30 days, but if it does not, they can look like patches of dry and flaky skin.1
Exfoliating is therefore helping that natural process to be as effective as possible and allows the new skin cells forming on the top layers of the skin to show.
Many people compare the process to sanding a wall, and whilst it takes the same purpose of stripping those old layers away, it can make it sound hard and painful.
There are actually many ways to exfoliate your skin, from using a pumice stone or shower puff, to including a special skincare product containing exfoliating grains into your regime.
There are many different products available, which all have different levels of intensity, so you are free to choose the one that suits your skin type.
We have put together an article on How to exfoliate properly to help you choose the best methods.
2. Exfoliating brightens the skin
The dead skin cells that remain on the skin can make the complexion appear dull and sallow.
The new cells that start to form make the skin look fresher and brighter, but this is no use if these are never seen.
Regularly using a face exfoliator can help to support the body’s natural process and exposes that new skin, giving you a natural, healthy looking glow.
Many exfoliators are worked into other skincare products, and so using them can also boost your skin in other ways, giving it a double whammy of care.
3. Exfoliating provides a base for make-up
When it comes to trying to create the perfect make-up look, we often spend a lot of time and money trying to find a foundation that makes our skin look great.
You can research all the colours and textures that your budget allows but creating the perfect base for that make-up is the best way to get it looking good.
By exfoliating your face, you can create a smooth, flawless base that will make your make-up easier to apply and look fabulous.
4. Exfoliating helps to minimises breakouts
The cause of breakouts is usually due to the clogging of pores and a gentle exfoliating regime can help to tackle this.2
It will not only help to break down built up dead skin cells but also to support up the production of new skin cells. This is not only true of the face, but of the body too.
Using a body exfoliator such as a sugar scrub can help to create smooth skin all over.
Sugar scrubs are made from larger particles which are suitable for the more hard-wearing skin on the body, but should not be used for the face.
5. Exfoliating improves skin hydration
You might think that applying a good moisturiser is all you need for your skincare, but if you do not exfoliate, you are making it harder for the moisturiser to work.
The build-up of dead skin cells can make it harder for your skin to absorb the moisturiser that you apply, potentially leading to your skin becoming dehydrated.
6. Exfoliating keeps you looking younger
As you age, your skin can develop pigmentation spots and rough patches. These can be broken up by using an exfoliating scrub, leaving you with a softer texture and a youthful glow.
Whilst it is possible to buy very gentle exfoliating products, you should remember that you are not just removing dead skin cells.
Every time you exfoliate, you run the risk of stripping away the skin’s natural oils, so resist the urge to do this every day.
Depending on the product you choose, you may not need to exfoliate more than twice a week to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy and beautiful.
Read more and discover 6 of the best natural exfoliators
Last updated: 11 February 2021
Expertly reviewed by:
Reviewer: Manisha Taggar
Manisha started her career at a Cosmetics distributor as a Regulatory Technologist followed by a Regulatory Affairs Officer, ensuring the regulatory compliance of cosmetic products from colour cosmetics to skincare. After 3 and half years in this role, Manisha joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019. Manisha specialises in Cosmetic products, both own-label and branded lines, ensuring that these products and all relating marketing material comply to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.