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  • Writer's pictureJPS


Updated: Jan 5, 2021

Not Another Skincare Routine aims to bring back fresh faces for the unfiltered with the help of beauty products and tutorials. We've done all the research, so you don't have to. 

Breaking down Step Two

If you'd asked me what was the most crucial step in a skincare routine, the step that will instantly bring you a healthy, smoother complexion? It would be without a doubt- exfoliate. As the second step in Not Another Skincare Routine, it's crucial to get this right if we are to achieve healthy skin. Follow along, and let us break this step down. 

In this article, you will learn:

  • The Horny layer

  • Physical Exfoliators 

  • Let's go on an Acid trip

  • Why exfoliate daily?

  • Which products I recommend the most!

The Horny layer- The Science behind Skin

Our skin is made of five layers with the newest skin cells at the base of it. As those cells mature, they travel from the base layer to the outermost layer. That outermost layer called the stratum corneum or the Horny Layer ( yes it is actually called that) hardens, acting as a barrier that keeps moisture in and prevents gunk from penetrating. Have I bored you already? Ok, touch your face... yes, right now. What you're feeling is your horny layer of dead skin cells waiting to flake off so the newer ones can come up. 

This renewal process occurs naturally; however, we can help facilitate the removal of our horny layer by exfoliating. I just wanted to write horny again :)

Physical Exfoliators 

Most of us are aware of these types of exfoliators. 

The products used to scrub away dead skin through the use of beads, granules, salts, and sugars. 

Warning if you have a St. Ives scrub at home, stop what you're doing immediately and bin it! 

Not all scrubs are created equally, those made of sharp ground nutshells (St. Ives) or jagged-edged microbeads cause tiny invisible tears in the skin which can lead to inflammation and a higher chance of infection. 

If you are going to use a scrub, make sure its one with round shaped beads or fine crystals and take gentle care of not using too much pressure when applying the product. 

DR ROEBUCK'S BYRON 2-in-1 Mask + Exfoliator

OSKIA Micro Exfoliating Balm

The other type of physical exfoliators is cleansing brushes (motorised or other types), washcloths, and konjac sponge. These types can be used daily with your cleanser. The rule of thumb for physical scrub is the gentler the tool, the better! Keep your tools clean and replace when needed.  

Let's go on an Acid Trip

Not that kind of trip. Chemical exfoliators can be broken down into two categories. 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)  

These fruit-based acids are best for combination skin and can be extremely effective, as their moisture-binding properties allow them to keep skin from becoming dehydrated.

Look for products containing glycolic acid 8-10% or lower to start and build up to 15%.

For sensitive skin, lactic acid - the gentlest AHA, is a good starting point.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)

These oil-based acids are best for oily, acne-prone, and sun-damaged skin. 

Look for products containing: salicylic acid 1-2% and build up as your skin becomes more tolerant.

Before going on acid trips, do a patch test to see how your skin reacts


Acids are not a sprint to the finish line, so don't expect immediate results. In fact, you can expect your skin to get worse before it even gets better! When you accelerate skin renewal, it can cause purging, the shedding of dead skin cells faster than usual. This can lead to excess sebum, flakes, and clogged pores to come to the surface. This is actually a good thing as you're getting rid the yuck. Be patient, and you could be rewarded with healthy, glowing skin. 

You could also use AHAs and BHAs on alternating days. 

Another strategy is to use these acids on certain parts of your face only. For example, you can apply an AHA to dry areas and a BHA to oily areas if you have combination skin.

Pro Tip* Always apply sunscreen when using acids as freshly exfoliated skin is more prone to sun sensitivity which can lead to sun damage.  

Why Exfoliate daily?

The days of using an exfoliator once or twice a week are as dead as the skin cells you wish to remove. Ultimately using a washcloth or products containing acids can be used daily if your skin can tolerate it. 

But don't over-do it!

Over exfoliating can take away too much of that protective barrier that also helps keep moisture from escaping. As a result, going overboard on exfoliation can leave you with dry skin and cause more issues, like acne, to appear. In other cases, exfoliating can just be too harsh for some people's skin and cause irritation or redness. At the most extreme end, exfoliating too enthusiastically can cause cuts or tears in the skin that open you up to infections.

The Skin Cycle is 28 days

Whatever route you take, be patient and go the entire cycle to see results. Patience is key.

Hope you've found this informative. Till next week!


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