Does Exfoliation Help You Look Younger?
A couple days ago, I told you about a popular new exfoliation treatment that’s all the rage in Hollywood right now called dermaplaning.
This procedure involves an esthetician “shaving” a layer of dead skin cells off your face — revealing glowing, radiant skin underneath.
Many of you wrote in asking how to get the benefits of dermaplaning, without the hefty price tag.
So today, I’m sharing a recipe for one of my favorite DIY exfoliating masks that’ll leave your skin looking fresh and luminous.
You can whip it up at home in less than 5 minutes for just a few dollars, plus eat the leftovers! 😉
I’ll show you exactly how to make it in just a moment, but first, here’s a refresher on why it’s important to exfoliate.
Exfoliation helps you look younger.
When you’re young, your skin naturally regenerates almost twice as fast as older skin — that’s why young skin looks healthier, firmer, and more radiant.
But the older you get, the longer it takes your body to shed old skin cells and make new ones. Unless sloughed off, this build-up of old skin cells makes your complexion look dull, flaky, and rough. These conditions amplify the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Thankfully, exfoliation promotes faster cell turnover by removing the top layer of dead skin cells and revealing youthful, glowing skin underneath.
Exfoliation allows your skincare products to penetrate deeper.
Your skincare products are more effective when there’s not a layer of old skin cells blocking them from absorbing.
So if you’ve found yourself in a skincare slump, a good dose of exfoliation might be all you need!
Exfoliation keeps your pores clean.
Removing dead skin and dirt from the top layer of your skin helps clear clogged pores and prevents breakouts or bumpy skin.
But there is too much of a good thing.
There’s no denying it, exfoliating is good for your skin if done properly.
But too much exfoliation can damage the skin’s delicate protective barrier and make it prone to irritation.
My three rules on exfoliation are:
1. Don’t exfoliate more than 3 times a week (less often if you have sensitive skin).
2. Never use citrus fruit juice or baking soda to exfoliate. These are on the extreme ends of the pH scale — with citrus being too acidic and baking soda being too alkaline. And because your skin’s pH is near the middle of the scale, citrus and baking soda are too harsh.
3. Don’t use scrubs made from apricot pits or nut shells (yes, this includes that ultra-popular apricot and walnut shell scrub everybody used to have). Dermatologists warn against these because their granules are too sharp and can cause micro-tears on your skin.
So, what’s the best way to exfoliate?
There are two types of exfoliation: chemical and physical.
Chemical exfoliation includes things like AHA and BHA acids, which can be naturally derived from milk, sugar, and certain fruits.
Physical exfoliants are things like brushes, washcloths, facial scrubs.
And while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to exfoliation, experts (myself included) generally agree that chemical exfoliation is more gentle, and therefore better for you than physical exfoliation.
That’s because chemical exfoliants “unglue” dead skin cells, whereas physical exfoliants scrub them away.
And because chemical exfoliants are less abrasive, they are a better fit if you have acne, sensitive skin, hyperpigmentation, or dryness.
That’s not to say you can’t ever use physical exfoliants on your face. Just make sure the granules are smooth and small — like sugar or almond meal — and don’t do it more than once or twice a week.
To help you navigate the rights and wrongs of exfoliation, I’ve put together a great exfoliating mask recipe that I’m excited to share with you!
It’s gentle enough to be used on even the most sensitive skin, and leaves your complexion glowing.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- ¼ cup mashed papaya
- 1 tbsp plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp almond meal
Papaya is rich in glycolic acid, which helps exfoliate your skin. Plus, its pH level isn’t too far off from your skin’s natural pH level, making it gentle enough to use on sensitive skin.
Use an unripe papaya if possible, as it will have the most glycolic acid.
Yogurt contains lactic acid, which also helps exfoliate your skin.
And almond meal keeps it all together, as well as provides an element of gentle physical exfoliation.
A few things to keep in mind…
Don’t use this mask if you’re allergic to latex, because papaya contains a similar protein as latex, and may cause a reaction.
Always do a patch test on your arm before applying any new products on your face.
Some tingling is normal when you first apply the mask — it’s the glycolic acid and lactic acid working. But if you experience any severe discomfort, rinse off the mask.
Acids make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so be sure to wear sunscreen after using this mask (as you always should!).
To get started:
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well.
2. Wash your face and gently pat dry.
3. Massage the mask all over your face, leaving it on for 20 minutes.
4. Rinse after 20 minutes.
5. Apply a hydrating moisturizer.
Use the mask 1-2 times per week to reveal a smoother, younger-looking surface.
And remember, when it comes to skincare, less is more. The skin on your face is sensitive and delicate so it can’t handle the same degree of exfoliation as your body.
So lay off the scrubbing — your face will thank you.
Were you surprised to find out chemical exfoliants are gentler on your skin than physical ones? Or did you already know this?
And how do you feel about an insanely popular “skincare” company selling an abrasive apricot pit scrub, even though it’s been shown to cause micro-tears in your skin?
Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to share this post with anyone who cares about their skin.