A Man's Guide to Exfoliation
by Rodrigo Diaz
A month ago
Your skin is mostly alive and full of, you guessed it, skin cells. Yet they are not all living. Most have already served their purpose and have been replaced by younger, healthier cells. The dead ones just linger, like zombies, on the surface of the skin blocking pores, creating calluses, and collecting dust, yes, literal dust and insect parts. Grossed out? Me too lol. Dead skin can lead to more serious issues like hair loss (yes, your scalp has dead skin too), breakouts, and irritation. This is why we exfoliate and release our healthy skin from the dead.
See Related: The Best Exfoliating Scrub For Men
The purpose of exfoliation is to keep the healthy cells turn over quickly without disruption, giving the skin an overall healthy look. Your hair follicles have more space to breathe, keeping the pores clear, body smooth, and your complexion young and healthy. But with so many scrubs out there, which one is right for men? We have smaller pores (easier to block), thicker skin (more dead skin cells), and oilier skin types (dead skin held more tightly) than women. So the obvious solution is not so obvious when looking for a scrub. Most men’s skincare brands are basically women’s lines with more masculine packaging. For a true men's product, the key is higher concentrations and the non-use of water. You don’t want to buy anything with water in it as it dilutes the product. How do you know your products don’t have water in it? Check the first few ingredients on the product list. See water? Yes? It’s got over 50% water.
How to exfoliate your face
Once you’ve found a concentrated scrub with no water added, you’re going to want to be gentle on your face. Not only is it the most sensitive part of your body, but it’s also your face. Showing up at work looking like you just been dragged face first on the sand dunes of Huacachina, is not a good start. So you might want to understand what exfoliant type is good for you. Some scrubs are chemical exfoliants (micro) and some are physical (macro) exfoliants.
Before you start exfoliating, you will want to cleanse your face. This may seem redundant but it is not as you need to detox and wipe out any deep toxins and bacteria that have made its way into the skin. Exfoliating without a detox can result in pushing bacteria and toxins deeper into the skin. So, what are the different exfoliants?
See Related: Top Purifying Face Cleanser
Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid Based Scrubs
These scrubs (Glycolic Acid-based) provide an easy way to get rid of dead skin cells by dissolving them while keeping your pH levels balanced and not destroy your natural oils. The best time to use chemical scrubs is at night as your skin goes through cellular turnover. If you need an even better boost, try out a Regenerative Face Cream with Glycolic Acid in tandem with a retinol-based serum (Collagen+Control Face Serum) after using the scrub.
Two to three times a week, you’ll want to use a physical scrub with micro-exfoliants like Jojoba Beads which does not harm our oceans (biodegradable). Jojoba beads are natural jojoba esters which have been condensed into small, gentle pellets. Be careful not to press hard while scrubbing as any micro-exfoliant can irritate the skin further. Remember; light as a feather.
If you are shaving: Exfoliate prior to shaving so that dead skin does not block the razor blade.
If any irritation occurs while exfoliating your face, even if you are being gentle, it could be that your skin is sensitive (use a chemical exfoliant only with low AHA) or it might be that you are using a prescription or other product that is causing irritation.