Q: I have an oily skin type and I exfoliate my skin every day, but I recently read that over-exfoliating could be making things even worse and resulting in even more breakouts. Is this true?
A: “Exfoliation is probably the most over- and under-used step in most people’s skincare regimes,” explains Optiphi’s Training Specialist, Stephanie-Anne Dickenson. “Some people forget this crucial step altogether (resulting in a dull, lacklustre complexion thanks to the build-up of dead skin cells), while some over-exfoliate to such an extent that the skin produces more oil as a protective measure.” It is this production of excess sebum that results in even more breakouts, and is why those with oily or combination skin types should take care not to exfoliate too often.
Q: So how often should I be exfoliating?
A: “It all depends on your skin type,” says Stephanie-Anne. “Those with oily, congested skin types should exfoliate at least 2 to 3 times per week to help prevent clogging of the pores due to a build up of dead skin cells and oil.” Any more than that, and you may cause your skin to produce even more sebum.
Do you have a dry or more mature skin? Stephanie-Anne advises exfoliating your skin at least once or twice per week, depending on your skin’s sensitivity. Drier skin types are often more prone to sensitivity, so a gentle exfoliator used only once or twice a week is your best bet.
Q: Why should I exfoliate in the first place?
A: Regular exfoliation helps to speed up your skin’s cellular turnover, which not only helps to ensure that you have a glowing complexion, but also ensures that your skin is better able to absorb the active ingredients contained in your skincare products. When exfoliating, light, circular motions are key, and you should avoid scrubbing your skin too hard as this will only lead to sensitivity or the excessive production of oil. Stephanie-Anne recommends incorporating a gentle exfoliating cloth into your skincare routine (we love the optiphi® Muslin Cloth), or sticking to a chemical exfoliator that’s safe to use on all skin types. (A chemical exfoliator contains an array of Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids, and it feels smooth on your skin. Grainy exfoliators that contain ‘beads’ are known as physical exfoliators, and these can be too harsh for some skin types and often result in tiny ‘micro-tears’, which can be damaging for your skin).
Over to you: how often do you exfoliate your skin, and do you use a chemical or a physical exfoliator? Leave us a comment below, or head on over to our Instagram account to participate in the poll on our Instastories!