Want glowing, healthy-looking skin? Chances are you’ve got what you need to get it sitting in your bathroom cabinet. The golden key to radiance is still good ole’ exfoliation and it makes sense – a smooth, “glassy” texture is a reflective one. This means those dry, dead skin cells dulling your complexion definitely have to go but there are several ways to do it.
A perfect polish
To start, realize that not all exfoliators are created equally. Those that rely on tiny little beads suspended few and far apart aren’t going to have enough “scrubby” power to truly shift the dead, upper layers of your skin. A more densely packed scrub is best, but you’ll have to choose wisely. Those containing loads of spiky or irregularly-shaped grains – here’s looking at you apricot kernel scrubs – can do more harm than good. Think micro-tears in your skin that create the kind of inflammation that encourages acne breakouts, mess with your skin’s barrier function and speeds up the ageing process. Eek!
So, if it’s manual exfoliation you’re after, you’ll want to use a teeny, tiny-grained microfoliant that’ll do a brilliant job of “polishing” but won’t be the skincare equivalent of rubbing your face on a foot file. Enter Dermalogica Microfoliant. It’s been around forever. It’s everyone’s darling. But that’s because it works!
Have a chemical romance
Another way to “scrub up nicely” – without actually scrubbing – is to use a chemical exfoliator containing dead skin cell-dissolving enzymes or acids like alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). This is how I like to do it and why I have a long-standing love affair with The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution . Yep, it’s claret-colored tint will terrify your pets. You’ll like you’ve just had a Kim K-inspired vampire facial. But again, it works. I like to leave it on for about ten minutes then rinse it off – along with all the “Bye, Felicia!” skin cells that were cluttering up my face. The result is instantly more radiant-looking skin.
Just a word of warning – you can get too much of a good thing, so, for best results, you need to figure out just how often your skin can tolerate any kind of polish. Despite being a veteran “scrubber”, there are still times when I’ll accidentally overdo it and the result is the exact opposite of what I’m trying to achieve – dry, flaky skin with a sandpaper-like texture. In this case, it’s easy to fall into the vicious cycle of exfoliating even more rabidly but this only makes it worse. Thus, the quickest and best way to escape this situation – which is essentially having a disrupted barrier function – is to stop rubbing and scrubbing and use a barrier repair cream for several days. Something like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair face moisturizer will do the trick and once things normalize, you can return to regular exfoliating, albeit with a little less enthusiasm.
Right! Knowing all that, are you ready to radiate? You can then even head into Megawatt territory with a little help from a good highlighter. Real glow or faux? I’ll never tell…
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