Something I get asked all the time is how I keep my skin looking dewy and feeling so soft. I'll let you in on my one of my little secrets. I exfoliate on a daily basis to keep a clear glowing complexion. In fact, I do it every morning and evening. Now, before you run off with a packet of coffee scrub, dreaming of the clear, smooth skin you could have, you need to know the way that works best for sensitive, breakout prone skin.  

With so much conflicting info on exfoliating the skin, it has become one of the top questions:

 If I have breakouts, should I be exfoliating them? 

With so many different kind of exfoliants available, perhaps you have tried different salts, sugars, coffee, etc, only to feel more raw and inflamed than before. So, why does exfoliating keep coming up in relation to breakouts then?  

So, crazy fact, if you suffer from breakouts, your skin tends to shed faster than someone who doesn't breakout. A typical human sheds 30,000 - 40,000 dead skin cells AN HOUR. Acne sufferers skin can shed up to 5X that. OMG GROSS. 

When skin cells become loose, they mix with oil and bacteria found on your face. Dead skin will continue to build up and if it is not removed your pores become cramped and inflamed. Not pretty. When exfoliating, it helps remove dead skin, preventing the formation of a clogged pore. However, this doesn't mean you should take a piece of sandpaper to your face. 

So let's talk about some common exfoliants: 

Cloths: Cloths can gently break up dead skin, however they don't always whisk the dead skin away as well as other options. 

Sponges: There are a few different exfoliant sponges and they work well to pull dead skin off when mixed with a mild cleanser but look for a softer version that won't be too abrasive when buffing the skin. 

Cream & Gels: These products often contain things to loosen and lift dead skin. These items can be things like jojoba beads, sugar, walnut shell, plastic, coffee, salt, etc. There are two problems with these types of exfoliants. The first problem is if you look at these exfoliants under a microscope, you will see that they have very sharp and jagged edges. Imagine the edges tearing and cutting the already sensitive pimples and cysts. When you exfoliate this way, it can irritate sensitive skin, leaving it feeling raw and inflamed. 

Exfoliating cleansers help loosen skin cells and when rinsing the skin, some of the dead skin is washed away. However, because this is so abrasive to the sensitive skin, exfoliating this way should only be done once or twice a week max.

So here is the problem. If your skin is shedding 5 times faster day in and day out, how do you get rid of the excess dead skin, while not irritating the skin?

Ultimately, the goal is to breakup and fully remove the dead skin without irritating the skin. So, one of my favorite ways to do this and one of my secret weapons, is using cotton pads with our Radiant Cleansing Nectar. This cleanser is lovely at detoxing pores and exfoliating skin. This is a waterless cleanser, so it's different than a traditional cleanser and designed to exfoliate gently. How it works is you apply the cleanser to a cotton pad. You then buff the skin with both sides of the pad firmly.

Cotton pads are just abrasive enough to help remove dead skin cells, but also, more importantly, it lifts them off of your face and pulls them onto the pad. This action alone helps remove dead skin and greatly reduces the chance of clogged pores while leaving the quality of your skin in tact.

In fact, once you try this, you will be hooked because EVERY TIME you do this, you will see a grey/beige film on the cotton pad. Those are the dead skin cells! Gross and fulfilling at the same time.

In fact, you can wash your face with a traditional cleanser and then wash with the Radiant Cleansing Nectar and you will still pull off a cotton pad covered in that film. This process is 10x more efficient than a traditional cleansing because of the unique blend of exfoliating and rich botanical extracts and nutrient dense oils that quickly absorb into the pores, leading to a gorgeous complexion. 

 How much is too much exfoliation?

How often should acne sufferers be exfoliating then? When using the cotton pad method, you want to and can exfoliate twice a day, both in the morning and the evening to help combat those thousands of skin cells you are losing an hour. You will see that grey film removal, even doing this on a daily basis. This is how much dead skin is building up and being pulled off your skin. You will start to notice your skin feeling smoother within days. Your complexion will continue to improve by this method. 

But wait there’s more:

Another important reason to exfoliate is that by removing the layers of dead skin, it helps cleansers and creams penetrate your skin more efficiently without the excess skin build up preventing this. If a pore is clogged, products have a harder time being absorbed into the skin leading to slower results. 

Exfoliation also helps in reducing old acne scars and marks. This my friends, is a reason to exfoliate in itself. Remember all those posts on blogs and forums asking questions on how to reduce acne scarring? Well, this is one of the quickest ways to help reduce that. This process helps stimulate new cushy skin growth and with proper introduction of high quality skincare, rich in nutrients, you will be amazed at how quickly you will see results.   

I promise with these steps, you'll be seeing clear skin in no time ;) 

Until Next Time,