Let's Talk about (Smooth) Skin: Pt. II

Hopefully at this point you’ve read my previous post talking about chemical exfoliation. If not, click here. This post will be dedicated to physical exfoliation (aka mechanical). I’ll mention this again because I find it really helpful, exfoliation and cleansing are not interchangeable words. Yes, some cleansers exfoliate but that is not always the case.

A physical exfoliator is a scrub, something with a bit of texture. I always compare physical exfoliation to walking on the beach, the sand polishing your feet. Even using a washcloth to wash your face, it’s the friction you create against your skin. Some physical exfoliators contain chemical exfoliators, so if you’re trying to be more efficient and/or are working with a tight budget, you could use a scrub that contains salicylic acid, so you’re getting both types of exfoliation (look at the active ingredients on the label of the scrub to see if it contains an active chemical). Click here for my favorite drugstore brand. Side note: I recently saw people online talk about this scrub and how it’s drying. That could be if you have dry skin and/or are using it daily. I have more oil and did/do not use daily. I love the way my skin feels after I use it. Take what people say with a grain of salt, someone with dry skin will not use the same products as someone with oily/acne prone skin.

Having worked for the brand, I know a bit more about Clinique. Something that might help you when considering a physical exfoliator would be comparing two scrubs that Clinique carries. Both are physical exfoliators, and neither contain chemical exfoliators. I like this because it doesn’t confuse people. These are strictly scrubs, aimed at polishing the skin leaving it soft and smooth. They are not cleansing the skin. Their 7 Day Scrub (not to be used everyday!) is better suited for drier skin types, the microbeads in it are smaller, the overall texture more creamy (which people with dry skin gravitate towards). Their Exfoliating Scrub is a favorite amongst combination oily/oily skin types. The microbeads are larger, and the texture is slightly less creamy and the after-effect has a cooling feeling. See how different skin types use different products? I would pair one of these scrubs with a cleanser, something to break down the dirt and oil, actually cleansing the skin.

Clinique’s Exfoliating and 7 Day Scrub

Clinique’s Exfoliating and 7 Day Scrub

Electronic cleansing brushes: These would fall under the physical exfoliator category. You can definitely use an electronic cleansing brush instead of a scrub. I use mine maybe once a week, depending on how my face feels. A personal favorite is Clinique’s Sonic Cleansing brush. Yes my husband even uses it (c’mon guys, you need to take care of your skin too!). Now while I may be a bit biased with this product, I truly love it. I think it’s a great investment. Also, keep your eye out for a sale, you shouldn’t have to pay full price if you watch the different retailers’ promotions. To learn all about this product, click here.

A note on breakouts and exfoliation: if you have active breakouts, do not use a physical exfoliator. This will only irritate the skin further! Step away from the cleansing brush. And pick up a chemical exfoliator instead. The chemicals in this will do the work for you, will be effective at clearing your skin all the while being gentle and not causing more irritation. Once the breakouts clear up, add back in that scrub or scrub brush.

All in all, yes exfoliate! You need to. We all need to. Use a couple different exfoliators in your skincare routine, one chemical and one physical. Adjust according to your skin. If you skin feels sensitive and red, you might be overdoing it. Follow up with a moisturizer.

Does exfoliation make a little more sense now? Or did I confuse you more? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear your feedback on this post.