How To Exfoliate To Prevent Dry Skin And Blemishes
Posted Oct 15 2008 2:17pm
Exfoliation is simple right? Well, there are a couple of rules you can follow to make exfoliating the skin on your face a little more comfortable, and ways that you can use exfoliation to prevent any new acne from forming.
How to use exfoliation to treat comedonal acne
I have already written an article about this, but it’s worth a revisit or a first time read if you haven’t seen the article yet - How To Get Rid Of Whiteheads.
A few months ago I screwed up my skin big time by cleansing with too many oils and the wrong types of oils during the hot and humid summer months in Australia.
The result was a face full of clogged pores and comedonal acne - blackheads and whiteheads. It was so bad that my cheeks felt bumpy to touch. I hated washing and moisturizing my face because patches felt so rough and bumpy. This was just oil and dead skin cells trying to [unsuccessfully] make their way out.
I must have tried just about every natural treatment to cure it, but nothing worked. The comedonal acne gave me persistent inflammations that although mild, where enough to drive me to try something strong - salicylic acid.
This is a lot trickier because you don’t want to irritate or accidentally “pop” the inflammations and spread the bacteria around. Spreading acne bacteria is one the fastest ways to give yourself a good dose of even more acne.
So if you currently have inflamed acne (spots with a pussy head, or on the way to a pussy head), then avoid any abrasive exfoliants. This means anything that has granules in it. No matter how soft the little beads or granules are, they still can irritate your inflammations too much. I’d even advise to steer clear of the baking-soda in your cleanser method until you have no inflammations.
The trick is to use a deep pore exfoliant combined with an anti-bacterial
Deep pore exfoliants are awesome. They get right in there, deep down in the pore and clean all the gunk out. They work by softening whatever is stuck in the pore and encouraging it to dislodge. Fantastic if you suffer from any type of acne - comedonal or not.
There are a few different types of deep pore exfoliants, both chemical and natural. My favorite is salicylic acid because I know it works so well. You can read an article I wrote about Paula’s Choice BHA here.
If you want to try something natural, you can opt for glycolic acid. But make sure you get it from a natural not synthetic source. Glycolic acid is not as powerful as salicylic acid but definitely worth a try if you want to go the natural route. And the benefit is it’s gentler on your skin.
Your dermatologist or doctor can prescribe even stronger deep pore exfoliants but I personally don’t think they’re necessary in the holistic treatment of acne. Salicylic acid is as strong as your really want to go without damaging your skin, and it’s available everywhere. Saves on the cost of the trip to the doctor too.
Don’t forget the anti-bacterial!
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when deep pore exfoliating to treat acne is to use an anti-bacterial product as well. As the exfoliant pulls all of the gunk out of your pores, the last thing you want is any bacteria coming out and creating a nice big zit on your skin. The use of an anti-bacterial product will help prevent this. Just think of a deep pore exfoliant and an anti-bacterial as a magical combination - they need to go together.
I love natural anti-bacterials because there are so many of them and they work just as well as synthetic products without being too harsh on the skin.
My two very favorites are raw honey and calendula (eucalyptus) products. If you can find a moisturizer with one of these natural products added then you’re accomplishing two tasks at once - you can moisturize your skin after exfoliating and apply an anti-bacterial at the same time.
Every time we exfoliate, the sloughing off dead skin cells encourages new cell renewal. New cells are moisture rich so it’s even more important to exfoliate regularly during the winter months to encourage hydration.
For optimal skin health during the winter months, try using a hydrating mask after you exfoliate. Your skin barrier is weakened a little when you exfoliate so adding extra hydration will make all the difference. If you don’t have a favorite hydrating mask, try something gentle and simple like a white clay powder mixed to a mud paste with grated organic cucumber.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it and stress your skin out. Maybe during the winter months just be a little more disciplined with your exfoliation routine and make sure you actually do it regularly rather than forgetting (I’m the most guilty of that one).