“How often should I exfoliate my face?” This is a common question asked by many skin enthusiasts. I’ve read many blog articles and seen many videos written and made by skincare gurus, but none seem to accurately and completely answer the question and most generally lean back on sharing how often they do it. Now, they are definitely not wrong when they share their skin and exfoliation routine, but their answer only applies to THEIR SKIN and NOT YOURS. Then what concerns me, is that there are those who just make up things because it sounds logically correct in their mind. I’ve seen everything from you should exfoliate every day to exfoliating everyday will ruin your face and leave you with scars, wrinkles, and scratches (without taking them out of context).
So, what’s right? And is there a secret formula? I will do my best to explain the best exfoliation routine for you!
For those that don’t know what exfoliation is, it is the process of removing the dead skin cells on the outer surface of skin. This sometimes involves the use of an exfoliating glove, a cleanser, or a scrub.
To figure out how often we should exfoliate, let’s begin by understanding how our skin cells grow and divide. Now I don’t want to dive into too much science and biology, so let’s think of our skin growth this way. In general, our skin cells grow from the inside-out. There is a layer deeper down in our skin called a basal lamina where our skin cells are essentially born (they are differentiated into basal cells from a stem cell for those who want more specifics). As they grow older, they start making their journey towards the surface of our skin. Along the way, they lose their nucleus, flatten out, and layer themselves to become part of the skin you and I feel with our hands. Eventually, they die and flake off leaving behind the newer generation of skin cells. They will always grow inside-out like this except for certain situations like when healing a laceration or cut, where the dividing happens sideways in order to cover and patch up the injury. But that is a whole different study in itself.
Skin cells divide and multiply the fastest. I can’t answer how often they multiply because that is different for every person as well as controlled very specifically by the body. But it’s a good thing that I can’t answer the question, since if your body had no control of the growth rate, it would be the definition of cancer. So yes, your body will decide how quickly you need new skin cells and this rate can change depending on the environment.
Now that we know a bit more about the skin, let’s forgo a couple of misconceptions that people may have.
1) “You will damage your new skin if you exfoliate too much.” This is not necessarily wrong, but it’s not true either. By the time your skin is on the surface, it is not really a new skin cell anymore. In fact, it is closer to a dead skin cell and researchers sometime say that they are already dead since they have lost their nucleus. However, it is possible to damage your skin if you exfoliate too much and I’ll get to that in a second.
2) “Will you run out of skin if you exfoliate too much?” While it might sound funny to others, it is a valid question if you think about exfoliating at a faster rate than your skin divides/multiplies. But now we know that your body controls the rate of skin cell production or differentiation. On top of that, if you are exfoliating too much and start touching the newer not fully developed layers of your skin, your body will tell you to stop because it will be painful.
3) “What if my skin stops growing but I keep exfoliating?” Fun fact: Your skin will never stops dividing and multiplying in your lifetime. Sure as people get into the elderly age, their skin might get less firm and tight, but skin cells will still be made.So what is the best exfoliation formula for you? Here are a couple tips and advice to help figure that out.
1) Exfoliate GENTLY! This applies to everyone. Exfoliating is meant to simply remove the outer dead skin cells that are ready to flake off so that it doesn’t block the glow and radiance of your healthy skin. Being harsh with any exfoliator is no different from you rubbing your face on sand paper.
2) Start by exfoliating 2-3 times a week. This is a super safe method. We naturally lose around 30,000 cells every hour and over a million a day. So there will be plenty of new cells to exfoliate every 2-3 days.
3) Start making your way to exfoliating every day by adding an extra day every week. This not only allows your skin to become accustomed to the process, but you also will be able to see if your skin is reacting in a negative way. If it gets too red or feels uncomfortable, take off a day and that is probably where your routine should stay.
4) If you can get to exfoliating once a day without problems, then that is the routine for you. It means your skin is regenerating at a fast enough rate and it also means that you can show off glowing, radiant skin every day since you will have minimal amount of flaking cells.
Hope that helped not only develop another step in your skin routine, but also expanded your knowledge about your skin! If you have any questions or want to share your skin routine, comment below and I’ll be sure to read them. Let me know if your routine changes when using the ClearLee Mineral Water Mud Mask/Cleanser compared to other exfoliators. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time.