Rough trade: To exfoliate or not to exfoliate?
Skin care experts suggest we shouldn’t exfoliate too much over the age of 40
In the quest for perfect skin most of us have now ditched the three-step regime that we all once swore by and now have a skincare regime that rivals the Japanese, who famously have around 10 steps in their daily regimen. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. By over-cleansing and exfoliating, we are compromising our skin’s protective barrier and seem to have forgotten what is actually good for our skin.
As Instagram drives the obsession of perfecting or – more often – blurring lines and wrinkles, many people forget that healthy skin is not the poreless, perfect version we see on social media.“I think there is a tendency for some people to over exfoliate by inadvertently using multiple products that have an exfoliating action, often without realising it,” says Dr Rabia Malik of Grace Belgravia London.
Treatments are often more active than you realise and can result in all of your skincare steps having exfoliating qualities. For example, if you were to use an acid based cleanser, followed by an active toner and then a serum or cream that contains vitamin A or retinol, this is too harsh on the skin.“It’s also important to add that cleansing skin effectively, but not excessively, is the first step to achieving healthy skin and if you are doing this step right you probably don’t need to worry too much about adding in extra exfoliators into your skincare routine,” says Malik.How often should you exfoliate?
This really depends on skin type but as a general rule cleanse skin thoroughly at night (as a minimum) with a non abrasive cleanser.Oily skin: usually responds well to alpha or beta hydroxy acids such as lactic or salicylic acids
Combination skin: look for something that is enzyme based such as papaya, pomegranate or cranberry as this will exfoliate effectively while still being gentle.Dry skin: use a muslin cloth with a cream based cleanser to avoid aggravating very dry skin. Cleansing in this way daily is usually all that is required for skin that is dry or fragile.
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