In the first part of our cleansing series, learned that a proper cleansing routine is essential to completely removing makeup, dirt build-up, excess oil, and environmental pollutants. In this second part of the Facial Cleansing Essential series, we are going to take a look at introducing controlled exfoliation into our cleansing routine to stimulate the skin’s natural renewal process and open up pathways that allow skin care products to absorb and work better. Combining basic cleansing with controlled exfoliation is what we call “Cleansing Like a Pro.”
There are two types of exfoliation, chemical and physical. Whatever method used, exfoliation in moderation is key. Over-exfoliation whether through aggressive use of a washcloth or using facial scrubs containing rough particles, will result in painful and unsightly irritation, especially for acne-prone individuals.
Physical Exfoliation: Scrubs
Basic physical exfoliation at home typically is accomplished by incorporating into your cleansing routine a scrub containing some type of physical particle to loosen skin build-up. These particles can come from a variety of natural and man-made sources including sugar, salt, crushed fruit pits, or even volcanic stone. The key is to choose a scrub that will gently remove dead cells and impurities without abrading the skin. Scrubs containing particles made from crushed elements are typically more abrasive than man-made particles known as mirco-beads, which are specially manufactured with a spherical surface and to dissolve quickly for a more gentle result.
To use a scrub, start with a dry face and use upward circular motions until there is no longer any “slip” to the product. Wet hands and continue upward circular motions before rinsing thoroughly and patting dry. Skin should never feel irritated or chapped. If this is the case, discontinue physical exfoliation until the irritation disappears.
Physical Exfoliation: Cleansing Brushes
Another way to increase exfoliation and the effectiveness of your cleansing routine is to use an electric cleansing brush. The concept is analogous to going from a manual toothbrush to an electric, sonic type of toothbrush. The differences are immediately apparent and the positive long-term effects are well documented. Practically speaking, this means that your skin tone will even out, breakouts and blemishes will disappeared, moisturizers and face oils will absorb much better, and your skin will feel cleaner than ever before.
But what do you look for in a cleansing brush? As with electric toothbrushes, there is a wide range of features and prices to navigate. We’re going to look at some of the key components you should look for when purchasing a cleansing system.
When it comes to skin cleansing system speeds, having a couple speeds may benefit you more. On more sensitive areas, you can use a lower speed, before cranking it up for areas where you really want that deep clean feeling.
There are two main types of movement with a cleansing tool.
- Spin / Rotation
- Oscillation / Vibrating / Sonic
Rotation provides a basic daily cleansing action that provides a deep cleansing result. Oscillating, vibrating, or “sonic” action tends to work best when a deeper cleansing result is desired. Some devices allow you to switch between modes of movement, which gives you the best choice for you particular needs.
With an external charger, you have to recharge your device periodically, typically waiting a 24-hour period before initial use and with each subsequent charge. With a battery-powered cleansing system, you can immediately use your product once you purchase it and there is no recharge time. Of course, using rechargeable batteries gives you the benefit of a chorded and unchorded device.
The brush head of the cleansing system is very important, as it is what is directly touching and cleansing your face. Whether it is a bristle brush, pad, sponge, or other special purpose head, make sure that the head is not too abrasive to your skin. You may think you want a stronger head to give you that deep exfoliation feeling, but using a head that is too abrasive for your skin could irritate it and you may not be able to use the system as often.
Always rinse your brush heads after each use and replace them regularly, usually every three months with typical use.
As with electric toothbrushes, there is a wide range of prices from which to choose. At the heart of most systems is the same electric mechanism, so compare features and price for the best value. Some may do less for much more money, and some may do exactly what you want for a more affordable price.
Incorporating Masks into Your Cleansing Routine
There are many different types of masks to accomplish many different results: cleansing/exfoliating, hydrating, collagen, firming, and more. We are going to limit our discussion to cleansing and hydrating masks, because with today’s skin care technology, it is possible to combine both results into one mask suitable for home use. Cleansing and hydrating masks work to absorb or lift away impurities, drawing away excess dead skin, oils, and pollutants. As they draw away the unwanted elements, they drive hydrators, vitamins, and antioxidants back into the skin.
The basis for these types of mask is typically natural clays, fruit extracts, marine extracts, and man-made gels or creams. Clay masks are very popular due to their abilities to clear and soothe all skin types. They have the ability to draw elements to the surface of your skin. They can draw impurities out from deep in your pores, while also drawing moisture up to the surface from below. This benefits both dry skin and congested skin as it helps return the skin to a balanced, moisturized state.
Look for masks infused with hydrators and moisturizing ingredients such as Shea Butter; olive, coconut, and avocado oils; and hyaluronic acid. For oily, irritated, or acne-prone skin, Sulphur is an ideal ingredient to draw out impurities and calm irritation.
It is ideal to incorporate a cleansing brush, scrub, and mask into your routine to achieve a truly professional result. You can use the cleansing brush daily with a gentle daily cleanser and incorporate scrubs and masks a couple times per week to give you a smooth, healthy, hydrated complexion.
Physical exfoliation and chemical resurfacing are commonly confused. In the final part of our Facial Cleansing Essential Series, we will be looking at chemical resurfacing of the skin with home resurfacing and professional treatments to get your best facial cleanse. Don’t miss out! Enter your email in the subscription box above to have the BeautyWorkout Zone delivered straight to your inbox.
Ask your Skin Authority Skin Coach: What can I do to take my cleansing to the next level?
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