Three Ways to Exfoliate to Fade Acne, Brighten Skin

July 5, 2012

Our bodies naturally shed dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin. As we age, this natural process slows down, leading to a buildup of dead skin cells on the epidermis. This creates duller, rougher and less radiant looking skin. Regular exfoliation will encourage the removal of dead skin cells to reveal the newer, younger skin. It also reduce dullness, speed up skin recovery and help fade acne scars faster.


Even in my teenage years when my skin was at its best, I enjoyed exfoliation. It helps brighten the face and encourages skin turnover so that acne scars and pigmentation fade faster. I now rely on exfoliation to bring back youthful radiance whenever my skin begins to dull.

Should you exfoliate


Physical Exfoliant: Scrubs and Creams

There are many physical exfoliants on the market. They usually consist of sugar, salt, or some sort mineral crystals or beads. They are often inexpensive and easy to use. The small granule in these scrubs rub against the skin to manually remove the dead cells. Scrubbing too hard can lead to irritated and red skin. The Biore Even Smoother Microderm Exfoliator is my go-to exfoliator as it is immediately effective and sold in most drugstores. I do not recommend St. Ives Apricot Scrub because it contains sharper exfoliants that can cause micro-tears in the skin and widen pores.

Physical Exfoliants: Exfoliating Devices

As another physical exfoliant, these skin polishing devices work in a similar way to the scrubs and cream exfoliants above.  That is, they physically brush away dead skin cells to leave you with a fresher canvas. These tools trend to be effective and are easy to work with - albeit they can be expensive. If you are a believer of exfoliation, however, they are worth the investment. The Clarisonic is a very popular tool. A drugstore alternative is the Neutrogena Wave. You can also read my review on the Sigma Cleansing and Polishing Tool here.

Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants come in many form and often contain alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA), found naturally in some fruits. Salicylic acid, a common ingredient in acne creams, also works as an ingredient in chemical exfoliants. These chemicals work by weakening the bond that holds dead skin cells to your own skin. This results in the loss of the dead layer of skin, revealing the newer, younger cells. The advantage to chemical exfoliants is that they don't require manual scrubbing and physical abrasion of the skin. Some chemicals can be harsh though, so proceed with care and always start with a low acid concentration.

Exfoliation Warnings

Dead skin layers act as a physical barriers to protect your current skin. Any form of exfoliation will remove the extra layer of protection. Chemical exfoliants, particularly AHA, can also make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Sunscreen is always recommended after any form of exfoliation. Do not over-exfoliate or you could risk damaging and drying out your skin. Finally, know that it is always best to seek a dermatologist first if you have any serious sensitivity or skin issues.

10 comments:

  1. this made me think if i am over-exfoliating my skin, really informative and great post :)

    ~aiMee/aMz, http://amz88.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. If you are concerned about over-exfoliating, then slow down and use something more gentle.

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  2. Ohmai. I thought St. Ives scrub is soo good. No wonder my pores getting enlarge and produce more oil. :((((

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    1. Yes, you should really be careful with that scrub. Use it for your body or feet instead. If you read the reviews on makeupalley, there are at least a few licensed aesthetian who has reviewed the product. The beads are not finely milled so sharp edges can cause micotears in the face. This is why it exfoliates so well, because the sharpness gets rid of everything. If you talk to a dermatologist, he/she can explain it further to you and make recommendations.

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  3. I must agree exfoliating does make acne scars and pigmentation fade faster. I exfoliate at least twice a week :)

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    1. I know over-exfoliating is bad, but sometimes I can't help it sometimes.. I want to get rid of some pigmentation so I just scrub, scrub away. :)

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  4. I used to exfoliate my face day and night for about 2 weeks straight,, it worked well for a while until it started to irritate my face and it broke me out so bad. so yeah i stopped doing it and exfoliate only once or twice a week... boy! did i learn my lesson the hard way!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you can definitely over-exfoliate so it's best to stay cautious and keep note of any signs of irritation.

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  5. I exfoliate every week. I would feel like a frog otherwise lol

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