Keeping the Healthy Turnover Cycle of Skin by Exfoliators
The outer layer of your skin regularly sheds its layers of dead skin cells to protect your skin with new layers of cells. This repeated cycle is called the ‘turn-over cycle’. Exfoliation helps the healthy turnover of your skin. Healthy skin naturally sheds old cells and maintains its turnover cycle with just cleansing. However, when your skin is stressed due to aging and external factors, the outer layer of dead skin cells is not able to shed off naturally. This causes a thick build up of dead skin cells, which prevents moisture and nutrients from penetrating to skin, leaving your skin dry. This will disrupt the oil and moisture balance of your skin, causing wrinkles, creating skin troubles, and resulting in the loss of healthy skin. It is best to exfoliate one or twice a week at night. If you exfoliate in the morning, you will expose your new and delicate skin cells to ultraviolet rays, causing irritation and skin troubles. In the evening, remove your makeup and cleanse your face thoroughly. Now, you can exfoliate.
Since Koreans regularly exfoliate, there are many products that have been created for this purpose. In Korea, exfoliators are commonly called ‘Peeling’, like the English word. In Korea, gel type exfoliators are the most commonly used. Since the texture is soft and it is not runny, it is easy to massage into your skin.
There are also exfoliators that physically scrub off your dead skin cells. These scrub-type exfoliating packs contain powder granules that are good for healthy skin such as sugar, fruit seed powder, and rice powder. When you massage these scrubs into your face, these small granules not only slough off dead skin cells but also deliver nutrients to your skin. If you are sensitive to chemical ingredients such as AHA and BHA, which are commonly found in exfoliators, it is good to use physical exfoliators with natural exfoliating granules instead.
Recently, ‘peeling pad’ products have gained popularity in Korea. These products allow you to gently exfoliate your skin through wiping your face with a pad presoaked in an exfoliating solution. These products are preferred since they are both easy to use and less irritating on the skin. These products are especially convenient since most of them have both exfoliating and toning functions so that you don’t need to rinse your face or apply skin toner afterwards.
There are also stick type products. Usually, these products are mainly for the T-zone (nose and forehead) and jaw, areas with active oil production, where removal of dead skin cells, sebum control, and shrinking pores is especially important. Because your T-zone secretes a lot of sebum, it can easily become oily and unmanageable. In this case, the dead skin cells will pile up, blocking the pores and causing acne. Massage stick type exfoliators over your dry skin as you would use an eraser, then rinse off the residue with water.
Peel-off type products are also good for exfoliating. Peel-off masks have a firming effect and tighten your pores as the mask dries on your face. When you peel off the mask after it has completely dried on your face, you can also peel off and get rid of old skin cells as well as small hairs on skin, leaving your skin smooth. After using peel-off masks, you can immediately apply skin toner to soothe your skin without having to rinse your face in between.
How to use exfoliants
Let’s take a look at how exfoliators are usually used. After cleansing, dry off the remaining water from your face. Then apply the exfoliator and massage it into your skin for a few minutes. Rinse off any residue with water. Now, follow through with your next skincare steps. You can apply your skincare in the order of ‘skin-essence-lotion-cream-mask’. As mentioned in the previous article, Koreans call skin toners just ‘skin’. Most Koreans unconsciously memorize our own Korean skincare routines. If you go into any cosmetics store in Korea and ask for a ‘cosmetics set’, they will show you skin, essence, lotion, and cream together.
Now that the dead skin cells have been removed, give your new cells plenty of nutrients and moisture then sleep. The next day, you will be ecstatic to see how smooth and soft your skin has become. Don’t forget to apply plenty of sunblock to protect your new and delicate skin. Exfoliating your skin daily can be irritating to your skin, so it is best to exfoliate once or twice a week. Make sure to adjust the number of times you use your exfoliator according to the condition of your skin.