Exfoliating is an essential skincare step that is undoubtedly beneficial. Exfoliating your skin 1-2 times a week can improve the efficiency of your skincare routine and rejuvenate your complexion - leaving your skin smoother, brighter and healthier. However, it’s important to note that not all exfoliants are created equal.
While a quality product made with gentle and effective ingredients can do wonders for your skin, others can have the opposite effect. Many popular "scrubs" contain large, jagged abrasives made from fruit pits, nut shells, sea salt and even sugar. Exfoliating your skin with an abrasive isn't necessarily bad, but when the abrasive isn't microfine (like a powder) or smooth (like a bead) it can cause immense damage to the skin. Although your skin might feel smooth initially, if you viewed your skin under a microscope you would see tiny, microscopic tears (not unlike etching in wood after being sanded). These micro-tears can lead to redness, inflammation and uneven skin texture.
To exfoliate without harming your skin, opt for a product labeled as an "exfoliant" or "microfoliant" that contains gentle, natural abrasives. Jojoba beads and crushed date seeds are two examples of smooth, microfine abrasives that are incredibly effective at sloughing off dead skin. Another excellent way to gently exfoliate is with fruit enzymes or direct acids. These non-abrasive exfoliants melt away dead skin by breaking down keratin in the skin which then allows the dead skin at the surface to be removed. Fruit Enzymes in particular (like those found in pineapple and papaya) are excellent for even the most sensitive skin, since they are significantly less harsh than other chemical exfoliants.
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