Exfoliation Made Easy
T Singapore: The New York Times Style Magazine|April 2019

Exfoliation at home and in the doctor’s clinic has never been easier.

Renée Batchelor

Exfoliation, which can generally be divided into either mechanical or chemical exfoliation, is defined as the removal of the dead skin cells on the outermost layer of skin. Many men and women vacillate between either not exfoliating enough, or being too overzealous with their scrubs and peels. Admittedly it can be tempting to get a little peel happy in the hopes of rejuvenating your damaged skin, but the whole premise of exfoliation is that your skin must be given a rest period in order to heal.

This is a skincare step that apparently many of us have a slightly complex relationship with; while Google searches on “how often should I exfoliate” throw up the results can be a tad confusing, dermatologists share these points to note.

In general most dermatologists would recommend not doing at-home exfoliation more than twice a week. Those with sensitive skin should exfoliate even less often – once a week is enough. But there are also liquid exfoliators and wipes by certain brands that are meant to be applied on a daily basis, the premise being that mild daily exfoliation with a form of acid (for example, salicylic or glycolic acid) can be beneficial for your skin. Then there are the in-office peels and procedures that should only be done by a trained therapist or in certain cases, by a doctor, just once a month or as recommended. Here’s the lowdown on the different kinds of exfoliation available, and what might work for your skin.

MECHANICAL EXFOLIATORS

Mechanical or physical exfoliators make use of an ingredient or tool (like beads, sugar or even nut and plant extracts) to physically scrub off dead skin cells from your skin’s surface. This method can cause damage to your skin cells, if the exfoliating agent is rough or uneven, causing invisible micro tears on the skin.

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