Why is exfoliation an important addition to your skincare routine?
Exfoliation involves the removal of excessive dead cells from your skin. By removing this layer of dead cells, the newer skin cells are more conducive to accepting active skincare ingredients that can benefit the skin. Also, dead skin cells do not reflect light, making skin look and feel dull. As we age, cell turnover slows down considerably, and skin can look more tired due to a build-up of dead cells. Regular exfoliation can help prevent clogged pores, resulting in fewer breakouts. Long-term exfoliating can also increase collagen production, which is important for skin elasticity and assists the skin to resist fine lines and sagging.
Exfoliation can be done manually or through chemical exfoliation.
You may already be using a physical exfoliant — cleansing scrubs, body brushes, and loofahs are all common methods. The biggest advantage of physical exfoliation is the ease of access. You can do this at home with as little as a muslin washcloth or a do-it-yourself (DIY) scrub. It also offers immediate results. Physical exfoliation products contain sugar, salt, beads, or crystals to slough the cells off. Please make sure to choose an exfoliator that won't scratch the skin (for example nut shells). Physical exfoliation is best for oily or normal skin, where small granules can use gentle friction. The best method is to use a scrub and move in gentle, circular strokes around the face. Keep things gentle and use a light hand, and then rinse with cool water. Pat dry, and then always apply Thoclor Labs GF2 to soothe the skin and calm down any inflammation that may be present in the skin.
If you prefer home remedies, whip up simple face and body scrubs in the kitchen. Start with a hydrating base (like oil or coconut butter) and add a crystalline ingredient like salt or sugar to make your own scrub - they will smell good - almost good enough to eat.
A word of caution with mechanical exfoliation: it is possible to go overboard. Overzealous scrubbing can lead to micro tears in the skin's surface, leading to moisture loss. Skin irritation or redness can occur, so applying our GF2 spray is a necessary next step. GF2 contains the body’s own immune molecule and will rapidly heal all micro-tear injuries and calm down any inflammation that might be present after overzealous exfoliation. We recommend that with sensitive skin, exfoliating once or twice a week is enough. For skin that has a higher tolerance, three to four times a week is perfect. If you have acne harsh exfoliants could leave behind dark marks called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, so these should be avoided.
Easy to prepare scrubs
Café au lait facial scrub
What you will need:
- ½ cup coffee grounds
- One cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. milk or buttermilk
- 1 tsp. honey
What to do:
- Add all ingredients to an airtight container and stir well.
- Gently splash your face with water or wet your face using a spray mist.
- Spread scrub over your face and neck, avoiding your eyes.
- Wet your hands and begin gently rubbing the mixture into your skin in a circular motion. Continue for 3-4 minutes.
- Rinse off using lukewarm water and pat dry.
- Store any remaining scrub in the fridge.
Brown sugar body scrub
What you will need:
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. ground oatmeal
What to do:
- Stir together the coconut oil and honey.
- Add brown sugar and oatmeal. Stir until you are left with a thick paste.
- After wetting your skin, gently rub the mixture on your body.
- Rinse and pat dry.
Chemical exfoliants use mild acids or retinol to exfoliate the skin cells. Alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid is ideal to exfoliate dry, rough, flaky skin, because AHAs break down the binding between dead skin cells. When dry skin persists, and feels very dry and cannot be hydrated no matter what you do it is usually because the hydrating agents cannot get to the skin cells. This is an ideal situation for treatment with hydroxy acids. Acne-prone skin is best exfoliated with beta-hydroxy acids (salicylic acid). Once the salicylic acid reaches the pores, it exfoliates the pore lining and loosens clogged sebum, therefore softening blackheads and making them easier to extract.
For fine lines, a vitamin A-derived product like retinol causes cells to turn over at a faster rate. Chemical peels at doctors' offices have similar ingredients but in higher concentrations. Since acids and retinol leave skin susceptible to sun damage and sunburn, it is essential to be sun-wise. Avoid the sun as much as possible and spray your skin twice daily with Thoclor Labs GF2.
Here are things to keep in mind when selecting an exfoliation product:
- You should never use a scrub meant for your body on your face. Body scrubs are harsher and may tear delicate facial tissue.
- Although it may be tempting to buy a full set of products, you should not use more than one exfoliant at a time. Using multiple exfoliating products on the same area of the skin can damage the skin and result in unwanted side effects.
- You may need to cycle through products as your skin care needs change. For example: If your skin has become oily, consider using a product with charcoal.
What works best for my skin type?
Choosing the right exfoliating technique for your skin type will minimize your risk of irritation and help you achieve the best possible result.
If your skin stings or is otherwise irritated after using new products, it is considered sensitive. Salicylic acid is less irritating than other chemical or physical exfoliants.
Normal skin is clear and not easily irritated. People who have “normal” skin find that they can try any exfoliating technique or product without experiencing adverse effects. It comes down to personal preference.
Dry skin is skin that is flaky or rough. Glycolic acid can break through the surface layer of your skin, allowing your moisturizer like hyaluronic acid to hydrate your new skin cells more effectively.
Oily skin appears shiny and feels greasy. People with oily skin are often able to use stronger chemical and physical exfoliators, such as motorized brushes. Glycolic acid or salicylic acid scrubs work well with oily skin.
If you are prone to breakouts or have acne, look for products containing retinoids, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid. Resist the temptation to scrub your face or over-exfoliate it.
What is the deal with microbeads?
Microbeads (usually plastic) used to be a staple ingredient in exfoliating scrubs. After debate, many countries have thankfully banned their use because they contaminate our water supplies and oceans once they go down the drain.