​Exfoliate or Peel: Which One's The Best For You?

We all love to have clear, smooth, beautiful skin.

But how is this achieved? Is it enough just to wash your face twice a day? or is there more to it? Do the same treatments help dry skin as well as oily skin? Read on to learn all about the importance of using a gentle natural exfoliator and find the method that is best for your skin.

What is Exfoliation?

In the process of skin renewal, new skin cells from the underlayer (“dermis”) rise to the surface (“epidermis”) where they age and die. These dead cells fill with keratin, which acts as an important protective layer for the new cells coming through. Eventually, this layer of cells falls off with friction — for example when you pull your clothes on and off and wipe your skin with a towel.

As you grow older, dead skin cells tend to accumulate on your face and the rest of your body, making the skin look dull and dry, slowing the renewal process, and allowing wrinkles and blemishes to form. What a gentle natural exfoliator does is remove these excess cells either mechanically (with gentle friction from small beads or a fine brush) or chemically (by dissolving the dead cells with natural or synthetic acids). Natural skin peels for your face are the harshest form of chemical exfoliation.

Who Can Benefit?

All skin types can benefit from regular exfoliation, if done correctly. Dry skin improves from a gentle natural exfoliator because the dead cells are removed, allowing moisture to reach into the deeper levels of the skin. Blackheads and pimples form in oily skin when the dead cells clog the pores and allow oil to build up underneath the surface layer. With exfoliation, the pores are opened and the trapped oils are cleaned out and released. Wrinkles and blemishes reduce in appearance with exfoliation because excess cells are removed, allowing the pores to renew and tighten. Exfoliating products with vitamin C can also help to lighten the skin tone, making blemishes less obvious.

How to Choose an Exfoliator

When selecting a gentle natural exfoliator for your face, consider your skin type, how sensitive your skin is, and which other products you are already using in your skin care routine.

Exfoliators with a very gentle abrasive like jojoba beads are ok for dry skin if your skin isn’t particularly sensitive. Sensitive and oily skin do better with a chemical exfoliator containing alpha hydroxy acids to gently dissolve the glue that holds the dead skin cells together, as abrasive materials can lead to worse breakouts in the future.

If your skin is sensitive, you might find that exfoliators with larger abrasive particles leave your face red and raw but finer exfoliants, like clay, are fine. Alternatively, you might find all mechanical exfoliators to be too rough on your delicate skin and in that case, it’s better to go for a gentle natural chemical exfoliator. In general, you can use rougher exfoliating products on the rest of your body (think of dry brushing, for example), but your face is much more sensitive and requires special care.

Many exfoliation products contain (or used to contain) microbeads, which are tiny, plastic pellets that exfoliate the skin, but when they are washed down the drain, they enter sea and river water and are eaten by fish that can’t digest them. Most big brands have already phased out the use of microbeads, but it’s still important to check that any exfoliants you use don’t contain these harmful ingredients. Natural gentle natural exfoliator alternatives include jojoba beads, clay, silt and bamboo.

What is a Skin Peel

When you hear the word “peel”, the image that might instantly come to mind is a face mask that sets and literally peels off the way wax does. However, skin peels are really chemical exfoliators that you apply to your skin, leave for a certain amount of time, and then wipe off — removing the dead cells along with the product. The advantages of skin peels as a gentle natural exfoliator are that they not only reach deeper, but they also avoid creating micro-tears as they use a dissolving rather than abrasive action. It’s impossible to rub too hard and cause irritation with a natural skin peel for face, due to how smooth they are.

Who Can Benefit?

All skin types can benefit from using a natural skin peel for your face, because they are gentle and effective for removing dead cells without the irritation of abrasive scrubbing. If you have acne and blackheads, a BHA-based skin peel will reach deeper into the pores and prevent build-up. For sun-damaged skin, an AHA-based skin peel is nice and gentle as it penetrates the surface layers.

How to Choose a Skin Peel Product

When choosing a natural skin peel for face, be aware that there are all different strengths of peel — from citrus extracts to very strong, chemical products. The more sensitive your skin is, the gentler a peel you should use and the less frequently you should exfoliate. Leave a skin peel product on for 10-15 minutes before gently wiping it off with a damp cotton ball or cotton pad. And remember, what worked for your skin when you were 18 might not work for your skin when you are 38! Our skin changes, and can become more sensitive as we age.

Our Reveal Exfoliating Foam Facial Wash with Alpha Hydroxy Acids is a gentle natural exfoliator that is hydrating and suitable for even the most sensitive skin. It uses natural fruit acids to dissolve dead skin cells, cleaning the skin with coconut-based agents. Calendula and honeysuckle soothe irritation and inflammation in the skin while grape resveratrol and goji feed the skin with antioxidants, detoxifying the skin and reversing the aging process.

Using Exfoliation and Skin Peels as Part of a Complete Skin Care Routine

You should have a good idea by now about the kind of gentle natural exfoliator suits your skin type best (a gentle mechanical scrub or a natural skin peel for face). Now you need to decide where you are going to place exfoliation in your skin care routine and how often.

Experts are divided on whether exfoliation is best done in the morning or the evening. In general, if your skin is oily, you might prefer to exfoliate in the morning for fresh skin all day. If you wear makeup, exfoliating at night can help to remove any leftover makeup particles and prevent your pores from becoming clogged. Exfoliation should be separated from strong skin “correction” products like Retinol to avoid damaging the skin.

Everything in Moderation

While using gentle natural exfoliator is an important part of any complete skin care regimen, it is possible to overdo it. When you remove too many layers of protective skin cells, you expose the new, red, raw skin underneath and can develop scarring as well as making your skin more susceptible to burning.

After exfoliating, apply a moisturizer or serum to hydrate the open pores and enjoy a much deeper product penetration. You need to protect your skin from the sun at this time to prevent burning, and avoid further strong exfoliation treatments and waxing until a later date when the skin has had a chance to build up another protective layer. Limit the use of skin peels to once every one or two weeks.

If you have any questions or comments, we would be happy to answer you personally! Please contact us at info@ayrskincare.com.