Exfoliation might be the single most satisfying step in any skincare routine. And now, as the winter months come hurtling around the corner, buffing and scrubbing away dead skin cells, dirt and excess oil will not only reveal much brighter looking skin — but will also help protect your skin against the colder weather.
Yet for many, the myriad grooming guides and products in the skincare arena can cause some serious confusion when it comes to getting into a good routine. Which scrub best delivers the results you’re looking for, how much should you be looking to spend, and how regularly should you be buffing your skin?
We called on Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, the founder of the celebrity-favourite 111Skin, to give fill us in on just what makes exfoliation so important, and give us his top tips and favourite products for banishing dull, dry skin this season.
Exfoliation will even out your skin tone...
“Many of my clients suffer from uneven skin tone, often as a result of sun damage, inflammation and a poor skincare routine,” says Dr. Yannis. “By exfoliating with a gentle acid – something like a Mandelic acid – you can slough off any dull patches (often dead skin cells) and create a more uniform complexion.”
However he adds, if it’s pigmentation you want to fix, that is best done in a clinic with a strong peel or an IPL machine.
111Skin Clinical Exfoliator
Grown Alchemist Pink Grapefruit & Glucomannan Extract Polishing Facial Exfoliant
Exfoliation smoothes skin texture...
“Texture is such a clear indicator of healthy, gorgeous skin – and we all aspire to have a smooth, supple feeling to our faces, neck & décolletage,” says Dr Yannis. However, he explains that this can prove particularly tricky for a city-dweller.
“Pollution is rife and builds up on the skin, and becomes even worse in summer, when the heat triggers pollution particles to go into overdrive.” To counteract this, Dr. Yannis suggests using a slightly stronger acid, like lactic acid, and applying it 2-3 times a week.
Exfoliation reduces blemishes...
This might not be new information, but it’s never more vital to keep in mind than in winter, when Dr. Yannis explains that our oil production – particularly in men, whose skin can be up to 30% thicker than women’s – goes into overdrive.
“This often results in blackheads and blemishes, as the oil can clog pores if it’s not taken care of,” he explains. “Opt for salicylic acid, which is the only acid that is oil soluble, and a mechanical exfoliation like rice powder. Be sure to stay away from walnut, or anything too jagged, as you will risk microtears where the little granules can help loosen any sebaceous filaments.”
Exfoliation allows products to penetrate deeper...
Put simply, “the products in your routine that should follow exfoliation – essences, serums, moisturisers – will penetrate a lot deeper and deliver their active ingredients to hard-to-reach areas if you properly exfoliate,” says Dr. Yannis.
Otherwise, those products often get caught up in the top layers of the skin (which are almost entirely made up of dead skin cells), and will not reach their potential in treating the skin. The more consistently you exfoliate, the more the other products in your cabinet can do their job — and the better your complexion will look for summer.
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