Confused how to exfoliate skin at home? Read this guide to know more about how to exfoliate skin naturally.

how to exfoliate skin

If you’re a skincare enthusiast like us, you already know the many benefits of exfoliation for the skin. Apart from sloughing away dead skin cells, it also unclogs pores, brightens skin and prevents breakouts, making it an important step in every skincare routine. 

But to reap all the amazing benefits of exfoliation without damaging your skin in the process, it’s important to do it right. Don’t know what the right way to exfoliate is? We’ve got you covered. 

Benefits of exfoliating your skin 

Every few days, your skin sheds dead skin to make way for new ones. This dead skin remains on your skin surface and leads to issues like clogged pores, dry patches, white flakes and breakouts. 

To avoid all these, you must exfoliate your skin 2-3 times a week. It helps get rid of the dead skin cells, make your skin even and smooth, unclogs the pores, stimulates collagen production and reduces fine lines as well. 

How to exfoliate face: Step-by-step guide 

Before you begin, it’s best to exfoliate your skin at night to avoid sun exposure on a fresh layer of skin achieved after exfoliation. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to exfoliate your skin. 

Step 1: Pick an exfoliator that doesn’t contain abrasive particles and is gentle on the skin. Our go-to is the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. This exfoliator is gentle on your skin and removes all the surface debris from your face to give you an even skin tone. The rice bran extracts, liquorice, grapefruit, papain enzymes, and salicylic acid works towards brightening your skin and dissolving excess skin cells. 

Step 2: Apply the scrub with dry fingertips to a clean face, carefully avoiding the area near your eyes. Hinaa suggests cleaning your skin thoroughly before exfoliating to get the best results. 

Step 3: Now, wet your fingertips and massage the scrub around your face in a circular motion for a few minutes. Hinaa advises against rubbing the exfoliant too vigorously on your skin as it can cause irritation and stinging feelings on your skin. 

Step 4: Once done, it’s time to wash your face with lukewarm water. 

Step 5: Follow this up by spritzing a toner to tighten the pores and slathering on a lightweight moisturiser to seal the moisture in. 

Things to keep in mind while exfoliating your skin 

One of the biggest mistakes we make while scrubbing is over-exfoliating our skin. This can lead to skin hypersensitivity and can cause serious damage to the skin. Hina has listed down a few things to keep in mind while you are exfoliating your skin. 

how to exfoliate skin

  • The 72 hours rule: Make sure you don’t exfoliate after bleaching or after using face wax, facial treatment or threading for at least 72 hours as your skin is very sensitive at that time. 

  • Night magic: It is best to exfoliate your skin at night. This helps avoid sun exposure on the fresh layer of skin that you achieve after exfoliation. 

  • Never exfoliate irritated skin: Avoid exfoliating your skin if you have developed irritation, sensitivity, sunburn, pustular or active acne or broken skin. It is best to let the skin recover and then restart exfoliation. 

  • Avoid after having a skin treatment done: Make sure you don’t exfoliate your skin after undergoing skin treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser or any other resurfacing treatments until your skin has recovered and healed properly. Also, avoid scrubbing if you are using medically prescribed exfoliating creams, gels etc. 

  • Sun sensitivity: Make sure you take a gap of seven days before and after a sunny beach holiday to exfoliate your skin as there might be sun damage on your skin that might get aggravated due to scrubbing. Also, make sure you use sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful sun rays. 

  • Read the label: We often ignore it, but it is actually pretty helpful to follow directions of use written on the products that we use thoroughly to maximise your exfoliating experience. 

How to Exfoliate Safely 

Exfoliating your skin correctly and safely is the way to go about it. This will ensure that your skin stays healthy, glowing, and clear for a long time. Let us learn how to exfoliate your skin safely without causing any microtears or damage to the skin. 

  1. Pick the right product 

When using a face scrub, make sure to pick one that’s suitable for your skin type and concerns. We urge you to check out the St. Ives face scrubs for this. Available in four different variants, it would be no exaggeration to say that this range has something for everyone. But we particularly love the St. Ives Energizing Coconut & Coffee Scrub every time our skin in need of a good exfoliation. The coffee beans in this scrub provide a deep cleanse, while coconut extracts moisturise the skin, leaving it super soft and supple. 

  1. Read and follow the instructions 

How often do you get a new product and take some time out to read the labels? Maybe sometimes. But how many times do you end up following the instructions mentioned on the label? Probably, never. Well, spending a couple of minutes reading the label can benefit your skin to an extent. All products are made differently and should be used as per the instructions provided on the label/packaging. And not following the instructions usually does more harm than good — so better follow them. 

  1. Exfoliate in the shower 

Have you ever tried exfoliating in the shower? If your answer is ‘no’, we urge you to do so asap. The warm water and steam from the shower help in opening up your pores, softening the skin and releasing the natural oils. This is what helps the scrub penetrate better and gently slough off dead skin cells. Make sure to allow the warm water to run down your face for 1-2 minutes before starting. 

how to exfoliate skin

  1. Exfoliate in the morning 

#UnpopularOpinion, but experts suggest that it would be better to exfoliate in the morning instead of in the night. Although the benefits of using a face scrub are pretty much the same no matter what time of the day you use it, exfoliating in the morning just makes it a teeny-weeny bit more effective. How? Since the skin heals and repairs itself in the night, there is a layer of dead skin cell that’s just sitting on your face. Gross, but true! So when you exfoliate in the morning, it reduces the chances of dead skin cells getting trapped in your pores and breakouts. 

  1. Use the right amount of pressure 

While it is extremely important to be gentle when using an exfoliator, it’s important to put the right pressure to see visible results. Make sure to massage the scrub in a gentle circular motion while slightly pushing the product against your skin. This will help in removing the dead skin cells effectively without damaging or irritating your skin. 

  1. Moisturise without fail 

No matter how moisturising your scrub says it is or how oily your skin is, the mere act of exfoliation is always a little bit drying for your skin. That’s why it’s important to use a moisturiser quickly after exfoliating. After rinsing your face, make sure to pat it dry using a clean face towel. Next, spritz on a hydrating toner to balance your skin’s pH level and follow it up with a nourishing, non-greasy moisturiser like the Lakme Absolute Argan Oil Radiance Oil-in-Creme SPF 30 PA ++. It’s enriched with Moroccan argan oil, known for its antioxidant properties, which help nourish and revitalise the skin. Plus, the built-in SPF protects the skin from sun damage. 

how to exfoliate skin

Skin Exfoliation FAQs 

How do you exfoliate your skin properly? 

When using a scrub or chemical exfoliator, use small, circular motions to apply the product. Rinse your face with lukewarm, not hot water, after 30 seconds. When using a brush or sponge, use light strokes. In case of open wounds or sunburned skin, avoid exfoliation. 

How often should you exfoliate your skin? 

It is recommended that you exfoliate your skin two to three times per week. However, make sure that you are not too harsh on your skin and use gentle circular motions. 

Does exfoliation cause acne? 

The skin can become so fragile and damaged when it is over exfoliated that it can be easily inflamed. Acne can then result from this inflammation. Exfoliants that remove too much of the skin's surface layer remove the trapped moisture along with them.