Have you ever been curious why your girlfriend’s facial soap looks like it’s got little grains or beads inside it? Maybe you even tried using it on yourself, only to reel in shock when it felt like you were rubbing your face with sand. If you were man enough to admit to your girlfriend that you used her bathroom products, she probably explained to you that you used her exfoliating soap.
Exfoliating soaps are, of course, used for exfoliation, which is something you’ve probably heard of before, but do you know what it actually is? If you don’t, that’s all right, a lot of men have no idea what it’s about. The simple way to explain it is this: exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells, which can lead to a cleaner, smoother, and younger-looking face.
By scrubbing away the surface of dry skin cells—too many of which can clog your pores and lead to acne, blackheads, and wrinkles—you actively rejuvenate and clean your face. Exfoliating also exposes your hair follicles, making it a great pre-shave treatment as it reduces the risk of ingrown hairs. So if you want your semi-pogi face to be smooth and fresh, then maybe it’s time to add exfoliating to your regular grooming routine.
What do you need?
As exfoliation has become one of the most important practices in proper skincare, there are many ways to do it. At home, you can usually try it two ways: chemical or mechanical. Chemical exfoliation simply means using products that have things like Hydroxy Acids (Glycolic and Lactic usually) Salicylic Acid, Retinol, and Papain or Bromelain (papaya or pineapple enzymes) in it, which can remove dead skin cells without the use of external physical force. Mechanical exfoliation, on the other hand, employs products like sponges, scrubs, and exfoliants that have pumice, beads, and grains in them which depend on friction and light abrasion to remove dead skin cells.
How often should you do it?
Keep in mind that while it’s good to exfoliate, you shouldn’t do it everyday. Too often, and you’ll just irritate or even damage your skin. Dr. Ben Johnson even reports in Dermascope that over-exfoliation is one of the leading causes of dehydrated skin because it removes the lipid barrier that retains moisture. So exfoliate only once or twice a week, and always check how your skin reacts to see if you need to cut back.
How do you do it?
Since now you know some useful facts about exfoliation, here's what you need to do:
1) Wet your face. Splashing some warm water on your face is a good way to start. Never exfoliate with dry skin, as that will just lead to irritation.
2) Rub in the exfoliant using small circular motions. Make sure to get your face, neck, and chin while you're at it. And don’t scrub too hard or else you’ll end up damaging your mug.
3) Massage skin for about 30 seconds to a minute, then rinse with warm water. If you already use a daily cleanser, no need to double up—the exfoliant should do for the day.
Since exfoliation will dry out your skin, never forget to hydrate it again using moisturizer.
Always remember to use your good judgment on which way (chemical or mechanical) works for you, what products are effective on your skin, and how often you can get away with doing it. In truth, exfoliating is a pretty simple and painless process. If done right, your face should be as smooth as a baby's bum in no time.