There are two main types of natural exfoliation for your face & body – but how do you know which one is right for you?
Many people have the impression that exfoliation requires intensely scrubbing a gritty product on your face, leaving the skin raw and pink. While it’s true that exfoliation removes the outer layers of dead skin cells from your face and body, there’s no need for the process to be abrasive; in fact, there are ways to exfoliate that don’t involve scrubbing at all!
When it comes to revealing your most beautiful, natural glow, there are two types of exfoliation: manual and chemical. Manual exfoliation involves rubbing a granular material like clays, adzuki beans or sugars onto the skin to buff away dead skin cells and make way for nourishing moisture. Chemical exfoliation, despite its name, involves a method of melting away skin cells while delivering hydration and nutrients at the same time.
The Benefits of Manual Exfoliation
Manual exfoliation is a great method for sloughing off dead, rough skin cells that might have your skin looking and feeling flaky. When these dead cells are gently removed, nourishing moisturizing products are better able to work their way into your skin for a longer-lasting and more effective treatment. Not all natural, manual exfoliation methods are created equal – some are better for oily skin while others benefit dry skin a bit more.
A quick note on manual exfoliation: scrubbing harder doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll achieve better results. Apply manual exfoliants to your skin gently, in small circular motions almost like you are rubbing the petals of a flower.
There are a few main types of natural, manual exfoliants available: clay, adzuki, salt and sugar, to name just a few.
Clay masks are great for those with oily skin in need of a boost. They provide a detoxifying experience, eliminating excess oils and toxins by drawing them to the surface. It’s important to remember never to let your clay mask dry completely! This can be dehydrating – no good for your glow. Add a dab of manuka honey to prevent your next clay mask from drying completely, or mist your mask periodically with a hydrosol (link to cucumber rose hydrosol) to keep it moist.
Salt-based scrubs are equally as nourishing, containing a variety of nutrients and minerals depending on their type. For example, Himalayan pink salt boasts 84 skin replenishing nutrients, while Dead Sea Salts contain double the amount of minerals and nutrients as regular sea salt which assist the body in cleansing, detoxifying, and balancing.
Ground adzuki beans, like in our Brightening Facial Grains provide a gentle exfoliation that has the added benefit of reducing dark spots, providing a brightening treatment. Our mask, which includes Organic Adzuki Beans, Rhassoul Clay, Bentonite Clay, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Organic Coconut Milk and Activated Charcoal delivers brightening treatment along with detoxifying and moisturizing qualities in one.
For some skin types, aggressive manual exfoliation can actually cause existing skin conditions like acne to worsen. This is because by roughly scraping already sensitive skin with abrasive agents, the skin can become even more irritated and inflamed. Sugar scrubs might be a great alternative if some of the above exfoliants prove to be too harsh, as they not only smell (and taste) amazing, the glycolic acid in sugars can be great for a gentler exfoliation.
Know Your Chemicals: Enzymatic Or Acid-Based Exfoliants
Still feeling like you haven’t found the right exfoliating method for your skin? Trying a gentle, natural chemical exfoliant might be the next best step.
One common misconception about chemical exfoliation comes from the use of the word “chemical.” The term has some negative connotations thanks to synthetic over-the-counter products which can be harsh and damaging to your skin’s natural balance.
In reality, natural chemical exfoliants that use fruit enzymes are actually great alternatives for sensitive skin. Most skincare junkies are familiar with chemical exfoliation and may have tried products that contain salicylic or glycolic acids, but there are many other acids and chemicals that have been proven as beneficial for exfoliating.
Lactic acids, found in milk products like common face-mask ingredient yogurt or coconut milk, provide gentle exfoliation and hydration in one. Lactic acids can also provide anti-aging benefits, as these gentle exfoliators stimulate collagen production.
Chemical exfoliants are tolerated well by sensitive skin because the acids and enzymes work gently on the surface of the skin, melting away dead skin cells rather than scrubbing them off. In fact, fruit-based enzymes derived from papaya and pineapple actively work to deliver vitamins straight to your skin as well!
Which Type Of Natural Exfoliation Is Best For You?
How do you know which type of exfoliation is best for your skin? Chances are, there are times when your skin is more oily than normal, or more sensitive and dry. Holistic, natural products like ours take into account that your skin may be in need of different nutrients depending on many factors. By using natural, whole ingredient products that play to different skin needs, we create products that are beneficial for all skin types.