Skin Care - Physical Exfoliation

Saira Valley

Posted on October 01 2018

Skin Care - Physical Exfoliation

Apricot scrubThere are two types of exfoliation when it comes to our skin. Chemical and physical. Most think of St. Ives apricot scrub when thinking of a physical exfoliate. We all used it, but if you have any, I am telling you do not ever let that near your face. EVER. Maybe on your feet, or your bottom, but that’s it.

When we think of a chemical exfoliant we usually Chemicals
think of facials and AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) or BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid). Maybe even glycolic acid if you are super fancy, but most think that chemical exfoliation is scary and only someone with a certificate can put it on your face. Not so.
A good chemical exfoliant, and physical exfoliant are important in your at home skin care routine.

Let’s start with what they are. Exfoliation is the removal of dead surface cells that can make skin look dull, lifeless and sallow. A physical exfoliator is going to use abrasion to remove skin and a chemical one uses, you got it, chemicals to remove dead cells.

Let's begin with something we all are familiar and cozy with, physical exfoliation.

As I said earlier this kind of exfoliator is as its name describes, about something physical engaging with your skin. That could be an abrasive product like a scrub or it could be something mechanical like a face scraper. When choosing a physical exfoliator, be very careful. If you use something that has big chunks that are sharp or jagged you can get these tiny tears in your skin that while not visible to the eye, are there and can affect the smoothness and the health of your skin.

There is actually a lot of debate about whether scrubs are even good for you and I would agree that most physical scrubs aren’t good for your skin. But, in my personal experience, using a GOOD GENTLE scrub once or twice a week can produce excellent results. 

While I use a chemical exfoliator on my skin daily, I only use a physical scrub about every 3-4 days. I do this when my skin just feels dull and weighed down and I want some kind of instant clean feeling on my face, or before a treatment or nourishment mask.

A physical exfoliator in the form of a scrub is going to work to literally scrub skin OFF your FACE. A good scrub will not hurt when used, and in fact that particles should be so small as to almost not feel them at all.

Use very gentle circular motions to massage the scrub into your face and wipe clean with a moistened hand towel. Do NOT over scrub your face! This is not like trying to remove 3-day old ketchup from your kitchen counter where you feel the burn in your elbow. Think of it more like how you would treat a new born babies face if you were to exfoliate it (which hello don’t ever do that) but you get the idea. be gentle.

Face scraperBut scrubs aren’t the only kind of physical at home exfoliation you can use. My personal favorite physical exfoliator is actually mechanical. I got myself one of those face scrapper things that my spa lady used on me during a facial. It legit looks like an electric spatula. I LOVE this scraper from Amazon that honestly has given me baby smooth skin which I have NEVER had. 

This is a vibrating tool that when placed on wet skin and moved along the surface will help to loosen dirt and black heads, and yes, scrape them off. I use this tool once every other day and the transformation in my skin has been outrageous. I usually suffer from tiny bumps (closed comedones) they are flesh colored and not visible except as texture and I HATE IT.

But using this exfoliator on my skin every 2 days has eliminated that all together and I now have smooth skin everyday.  Like I am not kidding. Seriously I can run my hand over my skin and what once felt like pop rocks jungle is now smoother than silk. I have never experienced that kind of skin, not since puberty anyways!

Exfoliation really is a critical step in your skin care routine. It will provide you with fresh skin that is ready to receive treatment, nourishment, hydration and protection.

That clean base is going to really ensure that all the other work you do is going to really have a lasting impact. Have I made my point yet? You cannot sacrifice this step. Both types of exfoliation have their place in a robust, healthy and helpful skin care regimen and making them a habit will give you visual results you can count on over and over again.

Check in next week for info on chemical 
exfoliation! 

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2 comments

  • Saira: October 24, 2018

    I will do some research, i use a product that lasts a very long time but it is on the expensive side. I’ve had mine for over 9 months LOL. I will look into some options and report back!! here is what i use now. https://www.maylindstrom.com/products/the-clean-dirt

  • Angie: October 24, 2018

    As someone who uses St. Ives Apricot scrub everyday…. do you have any suggestions for a good physical scrub that is affordable?!?

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