Y'all know I'm not too froofy with my routines - I like to get in and get out. But efficiency doesn't always means tried and true. That's something I learned when I added exfoliation to my skin care routine. It was one simple change that completely changed the health of my skin.
I totally get it, when it comes to exfoliating the idea seems pointless. "Why can't I just wash my face? Doesn't that do the job just as well?" The answer is no abso-freakin-lutely not. Washing even with a Terry cloth is simply wiping your skin. The problem is your skin is resilient to wiping. That's why wearing clothes and sitting on things doesn't just drag your skin off your body. So, if you're just wiping your skin, sure you are absolutely getting a lot of the oil, salt, environmental pollutants, and sweat but you're leaving a layer of grime that you may not even realize.
Have you ever taken a really good shower, gotten out, and felt amazingly clean only to rub your hand over your leg or arm and realize, "holy crap, I'm still dirty." That is a sign you need to exfoliate. That's a sign your outermost layer of skin is not releasing itself the way it should be. This isn't something wrong with you in fact it's very common. Even children have this issue.
When we create new layers of skin underneath our topmost layer, the outer layer skin is supposed to slowly "rough" off. Sometimes that doesn't happen, though. Sometimes, you'll notice patches of old skin that you need to pull. Sometimes, you'll notice really thick rough patches, maybe on your hands or feet. You may also notice changes in complexion like on the back of your neck, elbow or knee. All of these are signs of compacted dead skin. It's definitely gross in that it can cause extra pimples and feels weird, but can be very helpful.
As a person who's never really done "hard labor" my hands are generally soft. But during my time at culinary school, specifically the sugar handling time, I noticed the skin on the palm of my hands thickening. By the time I was done with sugar handling. I could almost remove stuff from ovens without burning myself. 13 years later, the skin has mostly thinned but it's still more resilient to cuts, tears, and burns than before.
That's a neat human adaptation to make sure we don't get injured. Unfortunately your face is not your hands. So, you are going to want to get that skin gone before it has a chance to become thick and protective… aka acne prone and dull. That's where your friendly neighborhood exfoliator comes in!
Exfoliators work in multiple ways:
Remove dull dry skin
Releases environmental pollutants
Encourages skin repair
1 - Physical exfoliators are traditional and work like water erodes it's way through the earth or sandpaper on wood. Bit after bit, the tiny particles scrape almost imperceptible bits of gunk from your skin. The compounding scrapes results in removal of highly textured skin. Alternatively, a dull blade may be used on well soaked skin to slice away excess skin. Chemical exfoliators are the hottest trend for the face. They dissolve gunk with the use of acid - skin safe and well studied. Either way, what's left is cleaner, smoother skin that's ready to receive.
2 - The physical action of massaging the skin increases circulation on its own. The tiny scrapes created through exfoliation stimulate and therefore increase circulation to the exfoliated area. Increased circulation, helps keep skin healthy and nourished. It also helps decrease swelling, so you don't look so old and puffy.
3 - Due to the increased circulation and micro-abrasions made to your skin, the cycle of skin replacement speeds up. This cycle slows as we age, leading to longer periods for skin to be damaged and dried by the elements. Exfoliation helps encourage the cycle to continue.
4 - Topical (direct) application of ointments, creams, moisturizers, etc. is often the best way to get nutrients directly to your skin. You can eat well and drink water as much as you want, but, if you're not actually caring for the skin itself, you're going to be missing half of the ways that you can influence your skin's health. Exfoliating removes an extra barrier between the nutrient and your skin. If you notice your lotion doesn't keep you moisturized all day, it might be because you have a thick layer of old skin that needs to come off. If you are experiencing frequent acne breakouts but wash your face, drink water and do all the things you're supposed to, you may need to exfoliate. That was me.
5 - Depending on what kind of scrub you're using, it can double as a direct nutrient deposit. For example, my Coffee X Sea salt scrub is primarily and depuffing scrub. There's no added oils, but it gets a rough deep clean. Then there's my Anti-Aging Mojito Scrub, that one is a light grit scrub the melts into a mask. So, it cleans and moisturizes in one. Saving you even more time, despite how froofy it may seem.
Then there is one more thing: the benefit self care rituals. Oftentimes, people like me can get caught up in the efficiency of doing things that aren't fun. I feel that way about eating because it gets in the way of me making cool stuff. Honestly most hygiene, clothing, and eating routines I would prefer to automate if not eliminate. Since I don't often do things I don't want to do, that can lead to me not getting dressed, not eating and also not cleaning myself. The only way I've found around the boredom is to change the routine into a ritual.
Washing alone is fine but it's nothing special. So, changing up what I do to make it ever so slightly luxurious or ritualistic makes the experience more fun for me. That means I'm more likely to actually want to go and take care of myself in the ways that my ADHD brain doesn't want me to. If you have similar motivation problems, are depressed, anxious or fatigued from any number of medical maladies, infusing any moment of your day with a little extra excitement, surprise or novelty could make doing that thing just a little bit easier. Quite frankly, when it comes to taking care of yourself it doesn't matter how dumb it may seem, it's totally worth making the change. Plus your skin will look great and that's bound to make you feel better!