Exfoliation needs no introduction at all to us ladies! But still, in the simplest language, exfoliation is the process of removing old, dead skin cells on the skin’s outermost surface, to help maintain healthy skin. Exfoliation is a very important/necessary part of skin care routine, be it any skin type ; but Exfoliating Acne prone skin can be really tricky. In this Article, you will find the right ways to exfoliate Acne Prone skin, some tips and a few suggestive products which I have been using for a while.
Have you heard about Desquamation?
Desquamation is the shedding of the outermost membrane or layer of a tissue, such as the skin. It is the process by which body naturally exfoliates (aka cell turnover): a new skin cell is born in the deepest layer of the epidermis and during its life span, migrates to the uppermost layer of skin. Yes, you heard it right; our skin naturally sheds the dead skin cells over a period of time. But if this is true, then why exfoliate! The reason is with time and age, the skin’s ability to naturally shed dead skin cells reduces. Plus if you have Acne Prone skin the condition is even bad, as Acne-prone skin produces more dead skin cells than normal and these cells don’t shed properly and they remain stuck on the skin’s surface creating a clog (leading to whiteheads and blackheads). That’s the reason regular exfoliation is so important for acne prone skin types.
Options available for exfoliating Acne Prone skin
Broadly, there are two basic/good options available for Acne Prone skin ie. Physical and Chemical Exfoliation.
Physical exfoliation involves manually removing dead skin cells with the help of an abrasive ingredient. It can be something as simple as an over-the-counter scrub, or a professional procedure, such as micro dermabrasion. Physical scrubs definitely leave your skin feeling soft and smooth, but I strongly believe they are not the best choice for acne-prone skin. Reason being, a scrub leads to friction on the skin that can irritate already inflamed skin, increase redness and promote additional breakouts. I would suggest that if you have active inflamed acne, you should avoid physical exfoliators or choose the kind of scrubs that are very mild on the skin (milder the better)
Here is a list of my personal favorites and I would suggest these incase you want to use a mild, physical scrub.
• Vichy Vichy Purete Thermale Softening Exfoliating Cream
• Forest Essentials Revitalising Kashmiri Walnut Gel Scrub
• Oriflame Swedish Spa Face Scrub
• Keracnyl Triple Action Face Mask
• Vichy Normaderm 3 in 1 Cleanser Scrub Mask
• Forest Essentials Ubtans
Now, coming to Chemical Exfoliation which is a much better option I believe, if you have acne prone skin. Chemical exfoliation involves dissolving or loosening the bonds that hold dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Some common chemical exfoliants which prove to be good for acne prone skin include:
• Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)- glycolic, lactic, and tartaric acid
• Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) – salicylic acid
• Retinoids – Retin A (tretinoin), Differin (adapalene), Tazorac (tazarotene)
• Chemical peels – trichloroacetic acid (TCA), carbolic or phenol, AHA and BHA peels
Today, Markets are flooded with OTC products which contain these as ingredients.You can always consult your dermatologist before going ahead and picking the right chemical exfoliation products(face wash, toner, moisturizer, masks) depending on how sensitive your skin is, what options would suit you better etc. In case you want to inculcate one chemical exfoliant in your regime you can start with trying the following face washes
You can also go through this post on Best Salicylic acid based products
However, if you prefer “The Au Naturelle” Route to beauty and want to try a few natural skin exfoliators you can try the following too:
Oatmeal is a great natural exfoliant and has anti-inflammatory properties . I have used oatmeal as a scrub and it definitely gives good results. You can finely/coarsely grind some oatmeal in a blender or food processor, then mix it with some medium of your choice like rose water, milk, honey etc. Mix thoroughly until it becomes a smooth paste, and then apply the mixture to your face. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.
Sugar is made from sugar cane, which is a natural source of glycolic acid, an alphy hydroxy acid. Glycolic acid is good chemical exfoliant that helps in sloughing off dead skin, as well as boosting new skin cell production and making the skin smooth, soft. Mix about one-half cup of sugar (white or brown ) with rose water or facial oil to make a paste. Using circular motions gently massage the mixture into your skin and rinse well — it’s safe enough to use on both face and body.
Papaya contains the enzyme papain, which dissolves old, dead skin cells without harming the younger, live cells beneath . It’s also believed that the enzyme can help heal the skin and cause lines and brown age spots to vanish. You can take some papaya pulp, or just grate it and apply straightaway on your skin for smoother, softer skin.
Coffee has great exfoliating, anti oxidant properties and helps tone the skin as well.You can Mix some coarsely ground coffee with some honey and use the mixture to scrub off dead skin cells.
Finally, here are a few tips one should keep in mind when you need to exfoliate Acne Prone skin:
• Never over do it, be very gentle when rubbing your face.
• Ideally, don’t exfoliate more than 2-3 times in a week when using physical scrubs
• Avoid physical scrubs completely if you have active acne
• Don’t go under the sun right after exfoliation.
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