How To Exfoliate Correctly

From our K-beauty columnists, Glow Recipe’s Sarah Lee and Christine Chang. 

While we all know that scrubbing is beneficial, it’s not uncommon to forget to include this step in your regular skincare routine. Exfoliation is actually one of the superstars of a healthy skincare routine. Skin turnover happens on a 28 day cycle, but aging and environmental stresses contribute to a more sluggish skin cell turnover. This in turn can mean a build up of dead skin cells of the surface layer of the skin, resulting in a dull, lackluster or flaky complexion. This build up also gets in the way of your skincare absorbing efficiently and effectively. Regular manual or physical exfoliation will not only help remove this build up but also keep pores clear of break-out inducing sebum and impurities.

With the recent ban on microbeads, we’ve outlined some of the newest trends in exfoliation (sans scratchy, harsh scrubs) below, for perfectly glowing skin.

Exfoliate & Hydrate with an Aqua Peel
Chemical exfoliators or peels refer to products formulated with skin-retexturizing acids. The latest Korean take on the chemical peel comes in the form of the popular and express Aqua Peel facials. Originating from an express dermatology treatment of the same name which helped to simultaneously exfoliate and hydrate skin, this trend trickled into skincare in the form of an oversized cotton swab pre-infused with gentle Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). The result? Renewed skin that is ready to glow with minimal redness and irritation. Not only does the Yoon Dermaline Aqua Peeler leave even the most sensitive skin types softer and smoother, but the wand is also great for precision exfoliation, especially for areas that are prone to blackheads. After exfoliating, especially after using AHA-infused products, it’s important to use a sunscreen to continue to keep skin protected and healthy!

Erase Away Dead Skin
Gommage peels are a great, non-abrasive way for more sensitive skin types to exfoliate skin. Formulated in an enzyme-rich gel, gommage peels are meant to be gently massaged into damp skin in a circular motion to slough off dead skin cells. As you massage, you’ll feel little ‘balls’ forming under your finger tips, which serves as visual evidence that it’s working to remove surface layers of the skin. The name comes from the French word for ‘eraser,’ as the small ‘balls’ are akin to eraser shavings. We’re partial to Dr. G’s Peeling Gel which is gentle enough for those with sensitive skin, and you’ll find that skincare applied afterwards seems to absorb better and skin tone is instantly even and clarified.

Skin, In the Buff
Still seeking that satisfying scrubbing sensation? Try something gentler but equally as effective: textured pads infused with gentle exfoliating ingredients that buff away dead skin. The one-two punch of physical and chemical exfoliation leave skin squeaky clean and bright. The Wish Formula Squish and Bubble Mesh Mask is soaked in skin-brightening Vitamin C and starts to self foam as soon as it’s removed from the packet. Squish to create a rich lather that not only be used all over the face but also rough patches on elbows, knees and feet. Use the mesh-covered side to buff away dead skin cells clogging the skin, then finish by turning the puff around and using the softer side to gently pat away moisture.

Splish and Splash
One last way to get your fill of those gently exfoliating AHAs takes only 15 seconds to immediately notice softer and brighter skin. Splash masks are a new innovation that reimagines the Korean bath house tradition of splashing botanical infused waters or milk onto the face. This accelerated blend of lactic acid, antioxidant-rich botanicals and fruits, and hydrating glycerin works to re-texturize skin but also leave it hydrated and brightened. If you’re in a rush, or just love to multi-task, take the splash mask in the shower and gently pat it into skin for a few seconds. Afterwards splash and pat water from the shower to dilute and tone the skin. The splashing and patting action is critical – this helps the formula to absorb and efficiently exfoliate the skin.

For more from GlowRecipe see this beginner’s guide to Korean skincare, also read this article about how to get glowing skin