It feels weird to be talking about normal stuff after yesterday, but I’m gonna power through. Yesterday, we talked about exfoliation, what it is, how to do it, etc. I focused on oily skin in that post, because exfoliation is critical when dealing with acne. Today, I want to address exfoliation for folks with normal, sensitive, and dry skin.
NORMAL SKIN. If you have normal skin, meaning not too dry and not too oily, you should exfoliate once a week, using either physical or chemical means, but do NOT use beta hydroxy acids on your skin, and do NOT go higher than 8% AHA concentration. Your skin simply needs a regular exfoliation to remove dead skin.
SENSITIVE SKIN. If your skin is highly reactive, or you have rosacea, it is important that you avoid overly harsh exfoliation methods. Physical exfoliation methods will likely be too much for your skin. Similarly, AHA and BHA exfoliation methods will likely be irritating. It is still important that you remove dead skin, so you should try to find a method that works for you and use it once a week. One suggestion is to look for chemical exfoliation products that contain PHAs, or polyhydroxy acids, like gluconolactone or lactobionic acid. PHAs are larger in size than their AHA counterparts, and because of this, they cannot penetrate skin as readily, which reduces their ability to cause irritation. Besides PHAs, there are also enzymatic exfoliators that remove surface dead skin cells gently. The ones I have worked with have been a bacillus ferment and a yeast + algae extract. Finally, if none of these will work for you, try a clairisonic or even a rough washcloth.
NOTE: if your skin is sensitive, it is important to patch test new products before applying them to your skin.
DRY SKIN. If you have dry skin, you should exfoliate once a week. You may use physical or chemical methods. If you opt for chemical exfoliation, I recommend lactic acid as your AHA of choice, since it also moisturizes. Do NOT EVER use BHAs to exfoliate dry skin, as they are oil-soluble, and will strip necessary moisture from your skin. Now, if you have dry skin that is never moisturized no matter what you do, it is probably because you have too much skin buildup to allow your moisturizers to penetrate. In this case, you need a chemical peel, which MUST be done by an esthetician. You want to get an AHA peel that is in the 20-30% range. This will help remove the buildup that is preventing you from moisturizing properly. If your skin has lots of buildup, it may be necessary to do more than one. DO NOT DO YOUR OWN CHEMICAL PEEL. Go to a skincare professional, or don’t do it at all. Once your skin is back to ‘normal’ dry, you want to follow the above instructions.
And there you have it! Now we can all exfoliate properly while democracy crumbles around us. #themoreyouknow