Three steps to a brighter, younger-looking complexion
We know you want it...heck, we all want it.
You know, the glossy cheeks and rosy flush of our youth.
We can tell you that youthful, more radiant skin really comes down to exfoliation, and there's never been a better time to take up scrubbing your bod.
From two-in-one cleansers to salicylic acid solutions and at home microderm-abrasion or peel kits, women and men today have a whole lot of options.
But which ones to use?
How often to use them?
And how do brighteners fit into this equation?
Well, picking the right product or combination of products for your face has a little to do with the properties of the potion, a little to do with your age and a lot to do with your skin type.
Step 1: Exfoliate
Exfoliation removes dead or damaged cells from the skin's top layer, cleans out pores and helps minimize blemishes.
Overall, the skin is cleaner and appears smoother, so light reflects back better, making the skin glow.
Step 2: Brighten & Hydrate
Brighteners usually lighten skin discoloration, brown patches and age spots.
Along with antioxidants, they generally contain small amounts of chemical bleaching agents or botanical alternatives.
Many also contain particles that reflect light, tricking the eye with superficial brilliance.
Smoothed over hard surfaces such as cheekbones and forehead, they turn dull into dazzle.
Step 3: Eyes
The eye area is too delicate for standard exfoliation, but you can still turn up the glow with eye specific treatments.
Finding the Perfect Match
There are two general classes of exfoliators: mechanical and chemical.
Mechanical exfoliation products remove dead skin cells by physically abrading them with either a cleansing cloth or a scrub containing sand, salt or synthetic beads.
Chemical exfoliators contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic and salicylic acid, beta hydroxy acids or retinoic acid (retinol).
Most dermatologists we've spoken with, prefer chemical agents because they penetrate deeper and have the added benefit of stimulating cell renewal and collagen synthesis.
And the result would be?
But know that chemical exfoliators are not for everyone.
Those with sensitive skin (and those with rosacea) may find this class of products too harsh or abrasive.
Similarly, if you have dry skin, chemical polishers may be more exfoliation than your skin can tolerate.
Most skin types benefit from a gentle to moderate mechanical scrub or buff.
Whether your acne-prone or slightly dry, it's a matter of tuning into the right frequency.
How Often Should I Exfoliate?
Twice daily should be the aim.
It's better to exfoliate twice a day using mild or moderate exfoliation than to exfoliate once a week with an extremely harsh process.
Exfoliation is comparable to exercise in that it's better to follow a moderate program regularly than to overdo it randomly.
If you are new to exfoliation or have sensitive skin or an inflammatory condition (acne or rosacea), your skin may need some training before launching into daily exfoliation.
Start using an exfoliating product every other day and work up from there.
Once the skin has grown accustomed to regular exfoliating, you may want to increase the weight of your routine.
Exfoliating masks and peels designed for occasional use typically rely on AHAs (including salicylic and lactic acids), while at-home microderm-abrasion kits use a combination of mechanical scrubs and chemical peels to strip the skin of dead cells with more severity than a daily product might for that extra boost of radiance.
After using your exfoliating product, your skin should be a pleasant pink and have a slight tingling sensation.
If your skin is red, peeling, burning or painful, you're being overzealous and should reduce the frequency of treatments or consider a gentler product.
The Do's & Dont's
*** Don't ~ exfoliate before you cleanse as doing so will remove makeup and dirt but not the dead skin cells responsible for pore blockage and dull tone.
*** Do ~ use an exfoliating cleanser, one that gently cleans away dirt and debris while simultaneously removing dead skin cells.
*** Don't ~ press hard when using granular scrubs or exfoliating cloths, mild pressure is all that's required.
You want to let the product do the work.
*** Don't ~ double-dip.
If you're using a loofah, don't also use an exfoliating gel or cleanser.
That's going overboard.
Similarly, if you use a cleansing scrub, don't follow it with a glycolic-acid, retinol or AHA-based moisturizer unless under the direction of a dermatologist.
*** Do ~ hydrate your skin immediately after exfoliation.
Moisturizers are most effective after dead surface cells have been whisked away.
*** Do ~ wear sunscreen, particularly after exfoliating, a process that removes a protective layer of skin.Tweet
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