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Harness the power of exfoliating & moisturising for your skin care routine

Exfoliating is an essential part of any good skincare routine and can lead to a much brighter and smoother complexion, sounds great huh? Well yes but, exfoliating without moisturising can leave your skin feeling dry and tight. Your skincare routine should usually include exfoliating followed by moisturising because exfoliating dries out the skin as it strips dead skin cells.

In this article we'll explore the ins and outs of exfoliating and moisturising including best practice, what to avoid, and other pointers on how to achieve smooth, radiant skin.

What is exfoliating and why is it important?

Exfoliating is the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, which can help to unclog pores. As dead skin cells build up on the surface of the skin they create a barrier that prevents other skincare products from penetrating the skin and can lead to clogged pores. This in turn can lead to breakouts and even acne. By removing dead skin cells through exfoliation you can help to prevent clogged pores and keep your skin clear and healthy.

Dead skin cells can make the skin appear dull and rough making it difficult for other skincare products to absorb into the skin. Removing these dead skin cells helps improve the skin’s texture by revealing the smoother, softer, and more radiant skin below.

woman exfoliating in the bath

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Exfoliating can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As we age, the rate at which our skin begins to shed dead skin cells slows down, which can lead to a build up on the surface of the skin causing the skin to appear dull and make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. The improved cell turnover can also stimulate the production of collage, which is an important protein that helps to keep the skin firm and elastic, preventing sagging and other signs of ageing.

Types of exfoliant

There are two main types of exfoliant you can include in your skincare routine: physical exfoliants and chemical exfoliants.

Physical exfoliants include scrubs and brushes that work by physically removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Chemical exfoliants such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) work by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily removed from the skin’s surface.

Why exfoliating can leave your skin dry and tight

We explained above that exfoliation removes the outermost layer of dead skin cells, and this can leave your skin feeling dry, tight, and make your skin more vulnerable to damage from the environment. This is because the outermost layer of your skin acts as a barrier protecting your skin from the environment while retaining moisture in the skin. Removing this layer increases the risk of dehydration and damage if you don’t use a moisturiser.

The benefits of moisturising after exfoliating

Moisturising after exfoliating is essential for maintaining healthy, hydrated skin as the moisturiser helps to replenish the skin's natural oils, lock in moisture, and prevent dryness. It can also help to soothe any irritation or redness that may have occurred during the exfoliation process, which is especially important if you're using a physical exfoliant, such as a scrub, which can be more abrasive than a chemical exfoliant, such as a glycolic acid toner.

Moisturising after exfoliating, provides your skin with the nourishment it needs to stay healthy and hydrated and as mentioned above can help to prevent signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, keeping your skin looking and feeling its best.

How often should I exfoliate?

When incorporating exfoliation into your skincare routine, it's important to be gentle and not overdo it. Experts suggest exfoliating two to three times per week but it’s important to pay attention to the signs your skin is showing you to avoid over-exfoliating.

Over-exfoliation can cause irritation and can actually damage the skin, so it's important to follow the instructions on any exfoliating products that you use and to listen to your skin. Signs of over-exfoliation include  redness, irritation, or discomfort of the skin in the area you exfoliated. If you experience any of these symptoms it's important to stop and allow your skin to heal before trying again.

Should I apply moisturiser after exfoliating?

The best time to apply moisturiser is straight after exfoliating, while your skin is still damp. This will help to lock in moisture and prevent your skin from drying out. If you're using a chemical exfoliant, such as a toner or serum, it’s better to apply moisturiser after allowing the previous product to fully absorb into the skin.

moisturiser being applied

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What to avoid when moisturising after exfoliating

When moisturising after exfoliating it's important to avoid anything that could further irritate your skin. This includes harsh ingredients such as alcohol or fragrances as well as products that are too heavy or greasy for your skin type. Be sure to read the labels of any products you use and avoid anything that could cause irritation or breakouts.

The right moisturiser for your skin type

Choosing the right moisturiser is essential for achieving healthy, hydrated skin. When selecting a moisturiser to use after exfoliating, look for one that is hydrating and nourishing, with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and natural oils like jojoba or argan oil. 

Avoid anything that contains harsh ingredients, such as alcohol or fragrances, as these can further irritate the skin.

It's also important to choose a moisturiser that is appropriate for your skin type. If you have oily skin, look for a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser that won't clog pores. If you have dry or sensitive skin, opt for a richer, more emollient formula that will provide extra hydration.

See our article here for more information on what to look out for when choosing a moisturiser for your skin type 

Achieving smooth, radiant skin with a consistent skin care routine

The key to achieving smooth, radiant skin is to maintain a consistent skincare routine. This includes exfoliating regularly, moisturising after exfoliating, and using products that are appropriate for your skin type. You can also protect your skin from environmental stressors such as UV rays and pollution by using sunscreen.

In addition to exfoliating and moisturising, there are other steps you can take to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. These include drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress. By taking care of your skin both inside and out, you can achieve a healthy, glowing complexion that you'll love.

In conclusion, moisturising after exfoliating is essential for maintaining healthy, hydrated skin. By choosing the right moisturiser for your skin type and applying it immediately after exfoliating you can lock in moisture and prevent dryness. Avoid anything that could further irritate your skin and maintain a consistent skincare routine to achieve smooth, radiant skin that looks and feels its best.