Dead skin cells buildup is a common skincare concern for most people. If the dead skin cells are not removed regularly, it can lead to a whole host of problems such as dull complexion, clogged pores and acne breakout.
Let’s talk to Dr. Siew Tuck Wah, Medical Director of Radium Medical Aesthetics as he tells us if exfoliation is necessary. If so, what are some steps we need to take to exfoliate our skin properly.
Accumulation of dead skin cells
During the life cycle of our skin cells, they travel up from the innermost layer of the skin to the outermost layer, called the stratum corneum. The skin cells eventually die and naturally shed away from the surface layer.
The natural process of shedding dead skin cells allows us to look younger and more radiant. As we age, the shedding process slows down and we don’t shed dead skin cells as quickly as we used to. Hence, the skin can appear dull and lifeless with the excess buildup of dead, surface skin cells.
“People often think that washing your face twice a day is sufficient,” says Dr. Siew. “When you wash your face with a cleanser, you are not sloughing away the dead skin cells on the skin.”, he added.
Cleansing and exfoliation are two key steps to improve the smoothness and achieve natural radiance of the skin. However, the frequency of cleansing and exfoliation are different. Cleansing should be done at least twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. Exfoliation, on the other hand, should be done once or twice a week.
Not convinced that exfoliation is an important step to achieving healthier, smoother skin? We give you 3 good reasons why you should exfoliate regularly.
#1 – Removes excess sebum and stubborn clogs
On top of the daily cleansing, exfoliate your skin up to three times a week if you have oily skin and wear makeup everyday.
When you have overactive oil glands, it is even more important for you to exfoliate your skin. It takes a lot of discipline to shed away excess dead skin and sebum without stripping too much moisture from the skin.
People with oily skin should opt for chemical exfoliants such as AHA or BHA that can gently dissolve clogs in the skin. If you have active acne, stay away from physical exfoliants. They work by mechanically buffing dead skin from the face, which may cause the acne wounds to worsen in the process.
#2 – Improvement of skin texture
As we age, our metabolism slows down, increasing the process of skin renewal. Also with ageing, the intercellular cement between cells become denser, making sloughing more challenging. These changes can also be accompanied by photoaging and environmental pollutants.
As a result, we may notice dullness and poor skin tone with uneven skin thickness.
This can be easily addressed with the use of a gentle exfoliant that contains exfoliating substances. It can come in the form of fine granules such as salt, sugar, ground coffee or even ground nut shells.
In particular, EverGlow Radiance Scrub contains fine pecan shells suspended in a hydrating gel base that helps to dislodge and remove dead skin cells without being too abrasive to the skin.
However, if physical exfoliant is used incorrectly, it may sometimes irritate your skin and cause moisture loss. As exfoliating the skin can be a rather drying process, follow up with a HA serum or gentle moisturizer that does not irritate the skin.
#3 – Better absorption of skincare products (and makeup)
Accumulation of dead skin cells on your face can prevent your expensive skincare products from properly absorbing into your skin, making them much less effective and practically useless.
This also applies to your makeup. A smooth, even skin allows foundation and concealer to stay on for a much longer time as compared to rough, uneven skin.
When you exfoliate, we are essentially allowing the newer, healthier skin cells to come to the surface, allowing better absorption of your skincare products and makeup.