Am I being a little melodramatic? Well maybe, but I’m making it my job to educate people on the importance of understanding products and how they work. There is a lot of misinformation working against us here and I’m making it my goal to bust these myths one by one.
The one problematic product over anything else that I see lurking in most people’s cosmetic collections is exfoliants.
I know what you are thinking and yes, exfoliation is vitally important to skin health and skin vitality. The problem lies with the poor formulas most companies are selling to the public. I’ll break it down simply for you.
Manual exfoliation is wreaking havoc on your skin
Manual exfoliation refers to exfoliating products that uses beads, sand, sugar, or anything else that can be superficially rubbed over skin to sloth off dead skin cells.
The problem basically lies with two things.
First thing is a lot of brands will use ingredients that are too abrasive to skin like salt or crushed shells. Uneven textured granules rubbed over skin will cause microscopic tears and cuts that will expose the skin to bacteria, thus causing breakouts and acne.
The second problem lies with possible user error. It can be hard to tell how aggressive you are using the product until it’s too late. If you over exfoliate, you may cause damage and inflammation. Inflammation under the skin can cause problems later down the road.
Look to science for help
There is misguided fear of lab based skin care ingredients. The truth is, chemical exfoliants used in well formulated products will do a much better job exfoliating your skin with less irritation.
This is good for two reasons.
Inflammation caused by skin irritation causes premature aging, acne and a whole list of other problems for your skin and should be avoided as much as possible.
What is also important is consistency. If you use products that are not only gentle but also have soothing properties, you’ll be able to use them more often which will increase the efficacy.
Not all exfoliants are created equal
I think this is pretty obvious, but it still goes with out saying. You need to do research before plunging into exfoliating territory.
When it comes to chemical exfoliants, a lot of them end up being ineffective based on how companies choose to package them or how they formulate them.
Please use paulaschoice.com as a general guide before spending your hard earned money (Link may showcase products and brands that test on animals which is not supported by this blog’s ethical standard.)
Understand your skin (and what certain ingredients can do for it)
This is also important. Companies can pretty much say whatever they want on the package to get you to buy it. Just because something says it will decrease pore size for example does not mean it will actually have the ingredients in it to be able to do that.
The basic rule of thumb is BHA’s (beta hydroxy acid) work well with oiler, acne prone skin and AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acid) work well with dry, dull skin. That is not to say that someone with oily skin won’t benefit from AHA’s or vice versa. The most important thing, again is to do some research to see what will work for you and what will work in your current routine.
The goal is to find something that is gentle enough to be used daily but also effective enough to see a difference.
Understand where I’m coming from
If you had to choose between a product that costs you $30 a jar that can exfoliate the surface of skin versus a product that is $30 a bottle that can exfoliate starting from beneath the skin, reduce redness, encourage collagen production, promote healing and increase cell turn over, what would you choose?
This article is not about bashing products that you love or companies that you currently support.
The whole goal for not only this article, but also this entire website is to get people to start thinking about the big picture.
I am tired of people wasting their money on ineffective products and you should be too.