Can You Exfoliate Without Scrubbing?
I'm not going to mention any brands, but if you are currently using a scrub from the drugstore that just so happens to have a fruit listed in the name and feels amazingly harsh...please read on.
There is a better way to get your skin smooth and glowing, I promise. You don't need the jagged edges from the pit of a fruit to slough off the outer layers of your face to achieve clear, even-toned skin.
Why do I even need to exfoliate?
As we age, our cell turnover slows down. This means our skin is not shedding the dead skin cells like it use to...they are just hanging around, stuck to our faces creating a dull, drabby appearance that sometimes appears grey. If we don't give our skin a little help now and then, these layers continually build up, and can lead to breakouts and a less-than-perfect appearance.
There are two different ways to approach ridding your face and body of this excess buildup: Physical and Chemical Exfoliation.
With this method, you've got to do the work yourself. You've got to scrub, slough, or buff to remove the top layer of skin that is just sitting there on the surface, waiting to fall off. We recommend using round our even powdered exfoliants to achieve this in the safest manner possible.
When you choose a harsh scrub that contains particles that are simply crushed, you take the risk of creating tiny tears in the surface of your skin. These tears ultimately accelerate the aging process...and isn't that what we are trying to AVOID?
My favorite manual exfoliants include:
1. Circadia Blue Bamboo Exfoliant A foaming, heavenly scented, gel-based exfoliant formulated for the body. This scrub is mild and leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth.
2. Atzen Purify Clear Scrub - Calm and Clear One of the most refreshing, awakening scrubs available, this formula uses jojoba beads (read: round) to gently exfoliate the surface of bacteria, dead skin cells, and sebum to reveal a healthy complexion.
3. Esther & Mila Aromatic Exfoliant Super smooth, super powerful. This blended balm contains jojoba, avocado, shea and cocoa to ensure you skin isn't left feeling stripped. Jojoba beads and bamboo are the acting exfoliants, leaving skin smooth, calm, and moisturized.
If you want to set it and forget it, then this is your best option. Designed to slowly dissolve the bonds that hold together your dead skin cells, chemical exfoliants are typically made up of AHAs, BHAs, or Retinols.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are found in most anti-aging products on the market, even drugstore brands, and include glycolic and lactic acid. Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) work a little differently, and tend to target more oily and problematic skin. The most common BHA is salicylic acid. Retinols, Retin A, and Retinoids are a third approach to exfoliating the skin without a scrub.
All of the chemical methods of exfoliation may not work overnight, rather take a few days to start seeing the sloughing effect take place. These also tend to be more aggressive, target more than just "dead skin", and provide longer lasting results.
My favorite chemical exfoliants include:
1. Clear Choice Clear Balance Want to ease-in to chemical exfoliants? This is a great place to start. The Clear Balance pads contain salicylic acid to target excess oil and buildup, and leave your skin feeling remarkably clean. Plus, you get to see all that funk on the pad, which everyone loves.
2. Clear Choice Pumpkin Enzyme Complex As innocent as it sounds, pumpkin is a serious exfoliant. I recall being in beauty school thinking, "It's just an enzyme...it can't be THAT strong...". Yeah, I was wrong. I burned my face. So, proceed with caution on this bad boy...it will give you serious, radiant results.
3. ZO Skin Health Advanced Radical Night Repair Don't. Underestimate. This. Product. The tiniest pea-sized amount will have you shedding skin for days. It is a 1% retinol formula, and should ideally be used twice per week, working your way up to nightly when tolerated. This product will transform your skin into the smooth, even-toned look we are all hoping to achieve.
Mix it up.
Can you use both in combination? Of course!
Let's not get crazy here, but one of the most effective methods to provide a great exfoliation is to manually exfoliate first (use your scrub), then apply the chemical exfoliant that night (AHA, BHA or retinol) and allow the magic to happen. Proceed with caution however, and don't go crazy with the manual exfoliation once you have incorporated a leave-on product into your nightly routine. Chemical exfoliants are designed to work below the surface and can take a few days to see results. Ideally, you can use a manual scrub 1-2x per week to keep the possible shedding from your chemical exfoliant at bay.
Thank you to Circadia, Atzen, Ester & Mila, and Clear Choice for partnering on this post.