Be Inspired / Good Things Happen To Those Who Exfoliate
Your skin’s job is to provide protection, so it’s exposed to lots of environmental factors; think exhaust fumes, searing hot sun, cold and windy weather, cigarette smoke, air pollution from factories billowing out harmful smog and airborne allergens, just to name a few. If you aren’t already using a men’s exfoliating face scrub at least once a week, fear not, it’s not too late to start. But we highly advise you to begin immediately because you are currently not making the most of that handsome face you were given!
Exfoliation is a term men are not so common with but that’s exactly what’s holding you back. “Why do I need to exfoliate?” “What is exfoliation?” “How often do I need to exfoliate?” These are all questions we hear on a frequent basis. If you’re asking yourself these questions then good, you’ve already taken the first step to looking way better, younger and far healthier.
Briefly, exfoliation is the important process of removing dead skin cells, excess sebum (the oil your skin produces), dirt and bacteria that clog up your pores and cause dull looking skin and breakouts.
Your skin naturally regenerates new skin cells on a regular cycle. However, the older you get the longer that cycle becomes. So if you aren’t frequently using an exfoliator to remove the outermost layer of skin, you are left with dead skin cells blocking those fresh, new ones that help you look and feel cleaner, younger and more dashing.
WHAT'S IN AN EXFOLIATOR?
Humans have been exfoliating for thousands of years using ingredients such as sugar, salt or volcanic rocks like pumice. However, know that exfoliation isn’t only limited to these grainy scrubs, which can actually be too harsh on your face, especially if you have sensitive skin. Essentially there are two different types of exfoliant you can use – physical and chemical. We always recommend a gentle, natural chemical exfoliant as the best way to go.
And here’s why….
Physical exfoliants such as nutshells and fruit pits, although sounding natural and good for you, can actually cause tiny micro-tears in your skin, leaving you more susceptible to irritation and environmental pollutants.
Natural chemical exfoliants such as Salicylic Acid, which is a beta-hydroxy acid or BHA (derived from natural sources like the bark of willow trees, and way less scary than it sounds!) use a much softer method of exfoliating. Rather than aggressively shredding away those dead skin cells like the physical exfoliants, it gently loosens the bond (or glue, if you like) between the layers of skin lifting the dead skin off the fresh skin beneath that is patiently waiting to confidently shine through.
The cool thing about a natural chemical exfoliant such as Salicylic Acid (remember this is a “friendly, natural acid” not the corrosive, harmful ones you think of when you hear the word “acid”) is that it does so much more than just smooth your complexion. In fact the list of benefits is endless so we are going to highlight the main ones just for you.
1. Great for oily skin.
If you’re the kind of man who constantly has a shiny face then Salicylic Acid is your pièce de résistance. It is one of the few ingredients that can actually SLOW DOWN your skin’s oil production.
2. Put acne to bed.
Salicylic Acid is one of acne’s biggest enemies. As it is oil soluble, it can penetrate deeper into your pores to loosen clogged follicles and relieve you of these annoying pimples.
3. Get rid of fine line and wrinkles.
Salicylic Acid not only unclogs dirty pores and removes dead skin cells, it also promotes collagen production which helps reduce those fine lines and wrinkles.
4. Tired of over-sized pores?
The reason your pores look bigger than they actually are is that they are clogged with dead skin cells mixed with oil and other unwanted substances. Salicylic Acid works deep inside these clogged pores to clear them so they’re not so stretched out and will therefore appear smaller.
5. Increase the benefits from your other products.
When layers of dead skin cells build up, it creates a barrier making it difficult for your skin to absorb the nutrients from your face wash or serum. Get the best out of these complementary products by prepping your skin properly.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I USE AN EXFOLIATOR?
This, of course, depends on the type of exfoliator you are using and the sensitivity of your skin. As a general rule of thumb we recommend no more than two to three times a week. Getting carried away and exfoliating every day will do more harm than good. You will dry out your skin causing your skin to produce more oil to compensate.
WHEN SHOULD I USE AN EXFOLIATOR?
You will read a million different things about when to use an exfoliator. Everyone has their own preference but we suggest making it the first part of your routine. Gently lifting away those dead skin cells and deep-lying dirt and sebum means your skin will be able to absorb so much more of the nutrients and goodness in your complementary products like your “face wash”.
ALWAYS, always, always use an exfoliator before a shave. We can’t stress this enough. People ask us why? Get ready to be blown away by the simplicity of the benefits….
Although you can’t see it, your face is bumpy and as uneven as the moon’s surface. If you take a razor to this you’re more than likely to occasionally nick your skin causing further irritation and the possibility of long term scarring. Using an exfoliator first evens out your skin creating a smooth surface for your razor to glide across. Imagine you’ve sanded down a wooden table, the chances of getting a splinter, whilst running your fingers over it, are extremely small. And so it is with your face.
Exfoliation also lifts up your facial hairs allowing the razor to gently and effortlessly slice through them rather than tugging at them. Thirdly, now that your pores are clean and there’s no dirt or dead skin acting as a barrier, your skin is better able to absorb all the nourishment from your shave cream. Natural oils and extracts can soothe your skin from deep within, putting an end to razor burn and redness.
If you follow this advice you will start loving shaving rather than finding it a tedious affair!
In a nutshell, natural exfoliators are incredibly effective, deep cleansing washes that remove dirt, dead skin and excess oils and instruct your body to produce more collagen as well as regulate the production of sebum. They work best 2-3 times a week and should be gently massaged into your skin. You’re lightly removing old skin and dirt not a grease stain on your kitchen top, so go easy on the pressure! A good exfoliator can drastically improve both the health and appearance of your skin. Good things happen to those who exfoliate!