Your guide to exfoliation

Why exfoliation is important, how often you should exfoliate and the difference between mechanical, chemical and enzymatic scrubs

Regular exfoliation is key for achieving a smooth, even and glowing complexion. But to create an exfoliation routine that works best for your skin type and needs, it’s important to understand the difference between exfoliation methods and how to incorporate this step into your daily skincare routine.

What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells and debris from the outer layer of the skin and the pores.

Why is exfoliating important?

Our skin cells naturally turnover every 28 days.  However this process can slow as we age and a build up of dead skin cells can clog the pores leading to breakouts and can make the skin look dry and dull with uneven skin tone. This build up of dead skin cells can sometimes even accentuate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Regular, gentle exfoliation is an essential step in your daily skincare routine as it can help get rid of dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, smoother and healthier looking complexion. 

It also helps to increase the circulation and oxygenation in your skin which not only gives it a healthy, radiant glow, but can also help kick start collagen production and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

It also helps to unclog pores, preventing breakouts and can also help your other skincare products penetrate better and thus improve results.

Regular exfoliation can even fade the appearance of age spots or uneven pigmentation.

What are the different types of exfoliators?

There are three types of exfoliators – a mechanical/physical scrub, a chemical peel and an enzymatic exfoliator.

Mechanical or physical scrubs contain abrasive ingredients like salt, sugar, crushed apricot kernel or almond shells or pumice that help slough off the dead surface skin cells. You can apply them on wet skin and rinse for an instantly smoother complexion. However, this type of exfoliant can be irritating, particularly for dry or sensitive skin types so it’s best to only exfoliate this way two to three times a week.

Chemical peels use exfoliating acids which break up and dissolve surface skin cells and debris. Popular acids include beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), like salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), like glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid and malic acid. BHAs are oil-soluble and great for acne-prone skin, while AHAs are water-soluble and can be especially beneficial for dry, normal and mature skin types.

Enzymatic exfoliators use fruit enzymes to break down dead skin cells and debris blocking the pores. The most popular fruit enzymes are bromelain from pineapple, papain from papaya, pomegranate and pumpkin. Enzyme exfoliants tend to have larger granules that don’t penetrate too deeply into the skin, making them suitable for sensitive skin.

How often should you exfoliate?

This really depends on the type of exfoliator you are using and your skin type.  If you’re using a mechanical scrub, normal or combination skin types should generally exfoliate two to three times per week, but if you have sensitive skin, you may want to limit this to once a week. Chemical and enzymatic exfoliants are less harsh than manual ones, so can be applied two to three times per week to start with, leaving a day between treatments. Once your skin is used to this process, you can gradually increase your usage to daily if needed.

Kale Enzymatic Exfoliator

With our gentle yet effective Kale Enzymatic Exfoliator, you can make sure your skin looks great every day without causing irritation.  It’s formulated with completely spherical jojoba beads and a specially blended soft almond powder which physically slough away dead skin cells without causing irritation and a comprehensive blend of enzymes including pomegranate, pineapple and yeast enzymes which dissolve dead skin cells and debris at a deeper level to reveal brighter, smoother skin.  Because of this optimal combination of mechanical and enzymatic exfoliating ingredients, our Kale Enzymatic Exfoliator offers deeper exfoliation to reduce congestion.  It also contains griffonia which oxygenates the skin while you’re exfoliating – its like taking your skin for a walk in the park!  Because its so gentle it can be used every day as part of your cleansing step and is suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive of skins.

Do you need to exfoliate your body?

Don’t’ forget, exfoliation isn’t just important for your face.  Regular exfoliation on your body with a body brush, body mitt or exfoliating soap can also help the skin look brighter and increased circulation can help reduce the appearance of cellulite to make the skin look firmer, ready to bare in the summer.  Using a good quality foot scrub is also important to smooth away dead skin on your heals if you want your feet to look their best during flip flop and sandal season.

When to use exfoliators in your skin care routine

The best time to exfoliate depends on your habits and skin type. If you wear makeup, exfoliating at night will help to lift any remaining makeup from your skin and ensure your skin care products are penetrating properly. If your skin appears dull or lacklustre in the morning, or if you have oily skin, exfoliating in the morning may be more beneficial.

Before you exfoliate, make sure your skin is not sunburnt to avoid irritation. It is best to integrate the use of sunscreen into your skin care routine before starting an exfoliation regime.

If you are using a leave-on exfoliant, cleanse beforehand - it’s best not to cleanse afterwards, so that your exfoliator has more time to work on your skin.

After exfoliating, apply a serum and/or a moisturiser for your skin type; serum first as it is most readily absorbed, followed by a moisturiser to lock moisture in.

For more information on top to toe exfoliation, watch our video