loofah and sponge for exfoliating

Exfoliation – A Key to Healthy Looking Skin?

Exfoliation is often recommended for bright and healthy skin. But should acne sufferers exfoliate?

It’s important to follow a good skincare routine. Many people make exfoliation a part of their regular routine. There are some great benefits of exfoliating the face. By exfoliating your skin, you’ll slough away dull-looking skin and reveal more vibrant and healthy looking skin. You’ll find that some people say that acne sufferers shouldn’t exfoliate and you’ll find proponents of exfoliation as an important part of an acne fighting regimen.

What should you do about exfoliation and acne? Here’s some food for thought:

  • There are several kinds of exfoliants on the market.  Some are better for acne sufferers than others. Physical exfoliants, like commercial scrubs or tools that have a sandpaper quality can buff away dead skin but this can aggravate acne, especially the inflamed and swollen type. But there are chemical exfoliants as well, in acne skincare products, which help you shed dead skin without having to rub at it. Some of these chemical exfoliation products include chemical peels or alpha hydroxy acid or glycolic acid creams. Some of them can provide quite dramatic results in clearing up the skin and even in lessening the look of acne scars. The products vary greatly in cost. Because some are strong you may not be able to use them too often. Some other daily chemical exfoliants are gentle enough that they can be used regularly.
  • Acne sufferers may have fewer breakouts with exfoliation.  Many people who have problems with acne benefit from help removing dead skin and the result could be that your pores don’t get as clogged. You could see fewer whiteheads and blackheads as well as fewer pimples.
  • Caution! Some prescription medications (topical and oral) advise against exfoliating products. If you are taking any prescription medications, particularly ones for acne, be sure to investigate whether or not it’s inadvisable to exfoliate.  Accutane is one example of an acne drug that has this caution.
  • Tip: If you do exfoliate, be sure to moisturise your skin after the fact. Many chemical products leave your skin quite dry.
  • Note: After exfoliation, be sure that you also remember to stay out of direct sunlight and / or wear sunscreen because your skin can be extra sensitive to the sun’s rays now that you’ve removed several layers of it.
  • Be careful not to exfoliate too often. Some products recommend specific schedules so ensure you don’t over-exfoliate or you could end up with raw and highly irritated skin.
  • It’s wise to try a new product for the first time when you don’t have any pressing engagements planned. There was once an episode of Sex and the City where the character Samantha Jones had a chemical peel gone wrong before a big PR event. Her skin was angry looking and sore and had to be hidden behind a veil. Of course this is television but it’s not too far from the truth for some women. Consider trying a product that promises to be gentle for your very first time so you can see how your skin reacts and consider doing it on a Friday night before a weekend where you can stay home and recover if necessary.
  • Consider looking up acne exfoliation product reviews to get some recommendations if you want to give this a try.

photo credit: Steve A. Johnson, Flickr

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