Exfoliation 101: How to Get Your New, Fresh Face

When it comes to exfoliation, there are tons of options on the market, but not a lot of guidance about which one is right for you. They all have different attributes, and some exfoliants should be avoided altogether depending on your skin type! Get your Exfoliant Education here and learn how to keep your skin looking fresh all year long. 

Physical Exfoliants: 

We sat down with our lead Esto, Sarah, and got her take on exfoliation. She shared with us her daily routine and said that not only is exfoliation important when moving to a dry climate, but she also recommends using a physical exfoliant in combination with a chemical one. So that leads us to ask – what is a physical exfoliant vs. a chemical exfoliant, and which ones should we choose? 

A physical exfoliant is something that has some texture to it, like bamboo fibers, rice powder or jojoba beads. These tangible exfoliating methods feel wonderfully scrubby, remove dirt, and help to slough off dead skin cells. 

But be warned: physical exfoliants can get over applied and overworked on your skin easily, and actually can cause more damage. You’ll want to steer clear of any made out of crushed nut or fruit pit materials, or beads that don’t break down as you are using them. These products cause micro-tears in the skin’s surface and eventually contribute to more redness and broken capillaries. Overuse of a physical exfoliant at home is most often seen on the nose and cheekbone area, so tread lightly there if you think some damage has already been done. 

Great for: tough skin, rough patches, dry skin

Product to try: Eminence Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant

Chemical Exfoliants:  

Acids can be added to your routine or used in a cleanser like Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA – which is in the Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Cleanser. They chemically work to remove dead skin cells but have various effects on your skin. Heres some acids to try: 

AHA: 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) are acids derived from natural sources. Some examples are sugar cane, milk, citrus, apples, and grapes. They work to help the skin’s natural shedding process by breaking down the intercellular material that holds our skin cells together. Water-loving and water-soluble, AHA’s are made up of tiny molecules that help to improve the moisture content of the skin. 

A big difference between AHA’s and BHA’s is how deep they penetrate the skin. AHA’s are more of a surface exfoliant, and the effects of AHA’s are ideal for rejuvenating aging skin. 

Some common types of acids that all fall under the AHA category: Citric acid (citrus), lactic acid (dairy), mandelic acid (almonds), malic acid (apples and pears), tartaric acid (grapes), kojic acid (from mushrooms), and azelaic acid (rye, barley, wheat and is gluten-free, but you’ll want to verify any sources). 

Great for: sun-damaged and dry skin, gentle exfoliation, sensitive skin

Products to try: Eminence Calm Skin, Eminence Mangosteen Collection, Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant (uses lactic acid) – also our Spa Member Sample for August! 

BHA: 

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is an oil-loving acid, which makes it preferable for treating oily, acne-prone skin, and for issues like blackheads. With anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, BHA’s can also work well for those struggling with rosacea (but this varies based on the individual). They also work to deeper exfoliate the skin, penetrating into the skin and pores. 

Some common types of acids that all fall under the BHA category: Salicylic acid, salix alba, or willow bark extract, betaine salicylate (derived from sugar beets). 

Great for: oily skin, rosacea, acne

Products to try: Eminence Acne Advanced Treatment System (uses salicylic acid)

HA: 

So what about the current favorite, hyaluronic acid? HA isn’t like other acids in terms of use for exfoliation. It’s a powerful humectant that occurs naturally in our bodies. HA doesn’t strip the skin, but rather is a powerful moisture-binding substance and gives your skin natural hydration just where it needs it most. 

HA makes your skin soft, smooth, and supple, and pretty much any skin can benefit from using it.

Products to try: Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum

Exfoliation in your routine: 

When using exfoliating acids like AHA and BHA, always include a sunscreen in your routine. Exfoliants work to expose new skin cells, which can in turn be easily burned by the sun (or make your skin photosensitive), so using a broad-spectrum SPF will help to protect your freshly scrubbed cheeks. 

Use caution around your eye areas. You can use them around the eye area, but not on the lid or directly under your eyes. 

Use exfoliants after cleansing and toning, allowing your toner to dry completely first. Then apply other products in your routine like moisturizers, serums, eye creams, sunscreen, or makeup.

One final note: If you are also using a topical prescription (retinoids, anything for rosacea) consult your doctor or dermatologist before using a product with AHA or BHA. 

You can shop for all of these products at Anjou Spa or online and choose curbside pickup! Now, all that is left to do is to choose which one is right for you and exfoliate your way to flawless, radiant skin!