Gone are the days when you have to slough away at your skin to get rid of pesky dry patches and irritating build-up. There are some seriously sophisticated products out there for exfoliation now which will make skin look brighter and healthier to level up your glow. We are going to break it down like a dead skin cell so you can find what works best for you. Why Exfoliate? Exfoliation does one very important job for the skin – it removes dead skin cells. If skin cells and any other build-up such as dirt and sebum hang around on your face they can clog your pores, stopping products from being able to penetrate your skin and making you look, well, a bit dull. Loosening these old cells reveals smoother and clearer skin, helps to reduce and prevent breakouts and will maximise the effectiveness of other skincare products that you use. How Often Should You Exfoliate? Our skin typically sheds dead skin cells on a 28-day cycle. However, factors such as stress and indoor heating systems can slow this process down. Exfoliation gives our skin the helping hand for cell turnover and keeps us looking fresh-faced and beautiful. We recommend you take it slowly at first to let your skin acclimatise. When you’re starting out, we suggest you use a product just once a week before increasing the frequency, up to once every other day. If your skin becomes irritated at any point, slow it back down. When testing a new exfoliant make sure to do a small patch test first to check for any reactions. We can help you in-clinic to find the best product for you. We can also talk you through our in-house exfoliation treatments including lactic and mandelic peels while creating a bespoke at-home programme. Physical vs Chemical Exfoliation? Physical exfoliants work on the top layer of the skin, removing dead skin cells and any other debris or build up using small particles or texture for a very quick result. Chemical exfoliants by contrast make use of active acids or enzymes to loosen the cells such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) or other potent ingredients (e.g. glycolic acid which comes from sugar cane) to penetrate deeper into the skin. Physical exfoliants work manually on the skin’s surface, whereas chemical exfoliation works on a deeper level, both working to remove dead skin cells. Although “chemical” can sound a little scary at first, chemical exfoliants can actually be very gentle and effective, though they may feel a little bit tingly when applied. It can be a good plan to start with a physical exfoliation and then work your way up to introducing chemicals, as most people can benefit from a combination of both. When exfoliating with either a physical or chemical product we really recommend you keep your SPF use up – as exfoliation can make you more light-sensitive – so pop it on in the morning before your make up and take some with you when you head out. Chemical Exfoliants by Ultraceuticals You Need to Know About Citric Acid – this Alpha Hydroxy Acid is extracted from citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits. It encourages exfoliation and cell turnover while unclogging pores and evening skin tone, and is also a great source of antioxidants. Although citric acid may not suit some very sensitive skin types, it can be very helpful for those with oily skin. Glycolic Acid – an AHA which helps remove dead skin cells from the outer layers of the skin – brightening the skin’s appearance and texture. Glycolic acid also stimulates collagen production, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Glycolic acid is suitable for most skin types, however, it can cause irritation for very sensitive skin. Lactic Acid – an acid found in milk, this is another AHA chemical exfoliator. It works in a similar way to glycolic acid, but is more gentle – meaning it’s great for us sensitive souls out there. It’s also very hydrating, though sometimes less effective than a glycolic acid. Mandelic Acid – another AHA that is made from almonds. This acid helps to stimulate cell renewal, aids pigmentation and maintains overall skin health. It can also work to minimise congestion and reduce pore size. As mandelic is antibacterial, it can be a great choice for acne-prone skin. It is also quite gentle and suitable for sensitive skin and those with rosacea. It also exfoliates without brightening – making it well suited to those with deeper skin tones. Physical Exfoliants We Love by Ultraceuticals Ultra Dual Microfoliant – this microfoliant removes surface build-up while delivering pure vitamin c to the skin Ultra Gentle Exfoliating Gel – this dual-action gel removes surface impurities and deeply cleanses to reveal a brighter and smoother complexion Ultra Smoothing Pore Refiner – containing mandelic and salicylic acid, this refiner reduces the appearance of pores, improves luminosity and smooths skin texture Even Skintone Smoothing Serum Concentrate or Mild – this liquid exfoliator refines skin texture and enhances clarity, with a mild version especially designed for first time users of AHAs and BHAs. — If you liked this blog, head over to our Journal page to read more of our helpful skincare guides! If you live in Christchurch and new to the world of facials, get in contact with us or make a facial appointment here. Meet the Total Body Concept team on this page, or head over to our online store for some skincare retail therapy!