How To Exfoliate Skin by A Spa Professional
5 minutes read
Do you come out of every professional facial wondering how to exfoliate your skin to achieve the same glow? You’re not alone. The term ‘exfoliation’ has racked up over 658,000 hashtags on Instagram, and it‘s estimated that by the end of 2027, the global exfoliator market is set to be worth over £1.9 million. So, when we spoke to Clarins Training Manager, Charlotte McHale, we took the opportunity to ask her about her insider tips and secrets on getting your skin looking and feeling silky smooth with the ultimate exfoliation techniques.
There are several reasons why exfoliating is important for our skin – from unclogging pores to preventing acne, keeping skin smooth and glowing and removing thick or dead skin. Naturally, your skin sheds dead skin cells once every 30 days – although some don’t shed successfully, which can leave your skin clogged up, dry and lacklustre. Exfoliation helps prevent this issue, improving the skin’s overall health and boosting collagen production to keep it radiant and in tip-top condition. Plus, it helps the active ingredients in your serums and moisturisers penetrate the skin and work harder.
How to Exfoliate Skin Properly
McHale recommends using a mixture of chemical and physical exfoliators to get the best results from your exfoliation. “A method often used professionally is the combination of a chemical and physical exfoliant in one treatment,” she says. “Start by mixing a dollop of your favourite scrub with a few drops of liquid exfoliator. This technique works well because the liquid exfoliator helps break the ‘bonds’ between dead skin cells that keep them attached to the skin’s surface. The physical exfoliator will then gently buff them away,” McHale continues.
Start With Cleanser
Before you exfoliate, you’ll want to ensure that your skin is clean and free from any make-up or grime. This will allow your exfoliator to work harder.
Create An Exfoliator Hybrid
Combine a coin-sized amount of your facial scrub with three drops of liquid exfoliant (containing AHA or BHA ingredients).
“Use the tips of two fingers to scrub your skin in small circular motions,” McHale advises. “Take your time and make sure you aren’t being too abrasive with your skin and ensure that you cover every area of your face so that you’re not left with smooth and dry patches,” she adds. This method is safe enough to use once a week on normal skin types, but if you have sensitive skin, you should be more cautious of how often you are exfoliating and what you are exfoliating with.
If your skin is dry and sensitive, try Clarins Comfort Scrub, £26, which contains wild mango butter to soothe and nourish. Have an oilier complexion? Try Clarins Pure Scrub, £26, which is notoriously good at mattifying and banishing the skin of excess oil. For a quick fix, we recommend Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, £24,
Keep Away From Your Eyes
McHale also advises you to be extra careful when exfoliating around your eyes. “Both physical and chemical scrubs are too harsh to be used around the delicate eye area, so make sure you keep clear of it when exfoliating. If you want to exfoliate around your eyes, use a gentle peeling cream, such as Clarins Gentle Peeling Smooth Away Cream, £26, which can be applied to the skin and left for one minute before using your fingers to wipe away any dry skin gently,” she says.
Follow Up With Serum and Moisturiser
An effective exfoliation will maximise the benefits of any products you apply afterwards. Apply a serum and moisturiser after exfoliating to replenish moisture and nutrients to the skin.
Remember To Wear SPF
McHale explains that after exfoliating, “wearing SPF is extra important”. Because the ingredients in liquid exfoliants leave your skin more prone to sun damage, it’s essential to protect it at all costs; otherwise, you may face adverse effects.
How to Exfoliate Dry Skin on the Body
Our body skin can get seriously neglected, particularly during winter when it’s constantly covered up. And while it’s tempting to skip that part of your beauty regime when you’re layering up with cosy knits and thick winter clothes, if you care for your body skin all year round, you won’t have as much work to do come summertime. Plus, exfoliating our skin can help unclog pores, boost circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage, reducing common issues such as ingrown hairs and bumpiness. Just like the skin on your face, your body will benefit from scrubbing in gentle, circular motions.
You can also use a combination of chemical and manual exfoliators – we love Ameliorate Smoothing Body Exfoliant, £18, and Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub, £32. Want to know how to exfoliate skin naturally? Mix four tablespoons of brown sugar with a teaspoon of honey, a tablespoon of almond oil and four drops of lemon oil. Stir it all up, slather it all over your body and lightly scrub upon application. Wash it off using warm water, and et voila – silky smooth, dry patch-free skin.
The skin on your feet can become really dry, thick and even cracked, especially on your heels. Keep them smooth and groomed with a good foot exfoliation routine.
And don’t forget to get rid of your old, patchy fake tan.
How to Exfoliate Eczema Skin
Eczema-prone skin can be exfoliated; however, it must be rubbed up the right way, sparingly and non-abrasively. Be sure to clean the skin with water or a mild cleanser first before using a mild exfoliator. Use very gentle circular motions, and don’t exfoliate for longer than 30 seconds – doing so may risk causing extra irritation to your sensitive skin. Follow up with your eczema-friendly moisturiser of choice to replenish hydration and moisture.
Over-exfoliation can cause the skin’s moisture barrier to become compromised – which, in short, will cause the skin to become dry, irritated, inflamed and more prone to acne. Therefore, try only to exfoliate three times per week and be cautious of how much pressure you are applying to your skin when doing so.
How Long for Over-Exfoliated Skin to Heal?
It can take up to six weeks for over exfoliated skin to heal, but there are things you can do to speed up the healing process. First, ensure that you only use mild, gentle facial products during this time, as well as rich emollient creams or aloe vera gel. It’s also a good idea to apply SPF religiously to protect your skin from more damage. For an over-exfoliated body, try Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion, £36.