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Exfoliating Dos and Don’ts

acne aging exfoliate oatmeal pores scrub skin sugar

Our skin has a natural cellular turnover process, where old skin cells die and shed, and new skin cells are produced to replace them.

Why Do We Need to Exfoliate?
Our skin is an organ, and like all other bodily organs, it is susceptible to problems. Aging is one of them. As we age, the skin cellular turnover process slows down, and dead skin cells build up on the skin’s surface. This leads to dry and dull skin. These dead skin cells can also clog up the pores of the skin, leading to acne. Exfoliation helps to avoid these problems by speeding up the normal cellular turnover process. Done rightly, proper exfoliation will remove the outer layer of dead skin cells, enabling healthy glowing skin to surface.

Two Kinds of Exfoliators

  1. Physical Exfoliation

This is when exfoliation is done manually. Examples of physical exfoliators are scrubs, Clarisonic brushes and microfiber cloths.


The Clarisonic face brush is a popular electronic device used to gently whisk away dead skin cells.


There are different brush heads for different skin types.

  1. Chemical Exfoliation

This is where Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids come in. AHAs or BHAs are applied to the skin mainly via cream, gel or cleanser form. They will gently help to slough off old skin cells without the need for any physical scrubbing.


Neostrata is a good brand that sells a whole range of quality chemical exfoliants.

Do-s and Don't-s

  1. It is easy to over-exfoliate, leading to irritated skin and worse, breakouts! Once or twice a week works for most people. Go easy! Less is more.
  1. NEVER EVER scrub acne-prone skin or skin with active breakouts. This will cause more irritation and spreading of bacteria, leading to worse inflammation. Acne prone skin fares better with gentle chemical exfoliators (which involve no scrubbing motion).
  1. Choose a gentle physical exfoliator. Most popular commercial scrubs are full of sharp jagged beads, especially those made out of apricot and walnut shells. These cause micro tears in the skin, and are extremely damaging to the skin in the long run. Always make sure the beads are SPHERICAL!
  1. Rub GENTLY in circular motions. Never go above 1 minute.
  1. Always moisturize after exfoliating. The new tender skin beneath needs all the care and moisture it can get, or it will dry out.
  1. If your skin is super sensitive or eczema prone, it is better not to exfoliate at all.

DIY Ideas

You don’t always have to splurge on expensive market products. Sugar and oats are two great ingredients for exfoliating your face, and they can be found right in your kitchen.

Here are two simple recipes to try!


Oatmeal Scrub

Oatmeal is a fantastic natural ingredient that is great for the skin. It is grainy in nature but not too harsh, and it helps to sop up excess skin oils as well as soften the skin.

Put some plain oatmeal in a bowl/your hand.

Drip some warm water inside until the mixture is soft (but not watery).

Rub mixture in circular motions for about 1 minute.


Sugar Scrub

This simple recipe leaves the skin glowing and hydrated! Don’t be afraid of the oils, they are non-comedogenic in nature and won’t cause breakouts.

Mix sugar and extra virgin organic olive/coconut oil with a ratio of 2:1 (or until the mixture is a firm consistent texture.

Rub mixture in circular motions for about 1 minute.

My Exfoliating Routine

My favorite way of exfoliating is using a old soft face towel, soaking it in warm water and gently rubbing it in circles all over my face. It’s completely free, and it works!

When I feel like I need an extra boost, I use Young Living’s Satin Face Scrub. It is super gentle (with perfectly round microspheres) and infused with calming essential oils.

Happy scrubbing! Rule of thumb to stick to: ALWAYS GO GENTLE.

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