Exfoliation – Everything You Need to Know & Why It’s So Important!!!

Exfoliation is a very important step in taking care of your skin and it’s often skipped. Let’s talk about why exfoliating is so important and how to do it!

5 Layers of Epidermis - Skin Cell Life

Step into my science class for just a minute and learn why exfoliation is necessary. The part of skin, called the Epidermis, is made up of 5 layers. Skin cells are produced in the bottom layer. When skin cells are brand new they are plump and beautiful. As they work their way up through the layers of skin they start to flatten out. By the time they get to the top layer, which is what we see on the outside, the skin cells are dead, completely flat and dull. See the diagram to the right.

Without exfoliating these dead skin cells off, they just hang around like your dirty laundry that doesn’t ever go away on its own. They will get comfortable in any open pore, nestle themselves in there and cause blackheads and break outs. They give you that “texture” and an over all dull look. They cause your foundation to crease and settle in places you don’t want. They also give you an uneven complexion. Yeah, we all hate those yucky dead skin cells!!

Why do we exfoliate? To get all those dead, dull skin cells off our face! Exfoliation gets off the dead skin to reveal brighter, more glowing skin.  Exfoliating will also help prevent break outs and give you a more even complexion.  It keeps your skin smooth, which is a better surface for applying make-up.  A traditional exfoliation will get off the loose dead skin cells and as much as the top layer.  Something more aggressive like microdermabrasion or an acid peel will get off the top 2-4 layers of skin.

Just to be completely clear, a Clarisonic is not a replacement for exfoliating. If you use a Clarisonic, you also need to exfoliate.

Lush Ocean Salt Scrub

How to exfoliate? Exfoliating is a very easy step to add to your skin care routine.  I exfoliate every other day (3x a week).  I do it in the shower right after I cleanse.  Gently massage the exfoliant in a circular motion for 60 seconds all over face, avoiding eye area, then rinse off.  Get out off the shower and apply moisturizer.  You can of course exfoliate standing in the bathroom and rinse off in the sink.  I find it easier and cleaner to do it in the shower.

What to use to exfoliate?  I currently use Lush Ocean Salt Scrub.  Love it!  It works on all skin types, so anyone can use it.  You can also use some organic sugar and rub it on a wet face.  There are many exfoliators for all different skin needs.

The important thing is to start exfoliating!!

28 thoughts on “Exfoliation – Everything You Need to Know & Why It’s So Important!!!

  1. Very helpful. I usually exfoliate before I self tan. I was wondering if thats bad in a way I would think after exfoliating, my skin would be thirsty for some serum n moisturizer. I do use million dollar tans which I think is hydrating but not as hydrating as my moisturizer
    Thanks :)

  2. Wow!! I’m going to school for nursing and I’m barely in the beginning stages. I have an Anatomy test this coming Thursday and it just so happens that we’re on the Integumentary Ststem (hair, nails,and skin) part of the class. I was having a hard time understanding this part of the chapter and reading your blog just made me understand the different layers if the skin. It’s the first time I read your blog and it was very very helpful. Not only did you help in making me understand the different layers of the skin but you also pointed out the importance of why we have to exfoliate. This is indeed my new favorite blog and I can’t wait to read the next one. Again thank you so so very much, sincerely a new fan :)

  3. I actually stopped exfoliating once I started using my Clarisonic. I guess I assumed that doing both would be too harsh. Glad to know one should not replace the other.

    1. Hi Amie! The order goes like this: Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize. Exfoliating never replaces cleansing.

      1. Oh ok thanks! I use a homemade face/body scrub. It has sugar, essential oils and coconut oil in it. Is that ok to use? I find it makes my skin kind of greasy.

        1. Coconut oil is extremely moisturizing, and depending on your skin it can leave you greasy. Try making the scrub with less coconut oil and add a little water if it’s not liquidy enough.

          1. Ok. I’m looking at the lush face scrub and it’s main ingredient is sea salt. Would it be better for me to make it with sea salt rather then sugar?

  4. Hi Rachel! I love your blog!! I have a question about Sugar, I was told that sugar can actually make little cuts in the skin and can cause more issues, is there a difference in the kind of sugar I should use ? Also what is your professional opinion on BHA exfoliation?

    1. Hello Lauren, allow me to reply to your comment. I would always recommend putting the sugar in a blender and blend it, but make sure that It’s not too powdery.

    2. I believe it’s actually the other way around! Salt has jagged edges that can leave tiny abrasions on the skin. Sugar has rounded edges that are gentler and don’t have the ability to cut the skin.

  5. Hi Rachel!! You blog is sooo helpful I’ve learned so many things about taking care of my skin! My face has never looked so good! Thank you for all your tips!

  6. Hi Rachel :) I am looking into getting a Clarisonic. How do you know which one to get? I am leaning towards the one for acne prone skin. Also, I am looking into trying out the Murad brand. I am currently using the Sibu Sea Buckthorn line, and I am noticing dryness, and flaking around my nose and cheeks. I don’t know why this is happening, but I think it’s time for a change in my skin care.. I would really appreciate any feed back you can offer.. Thanks :)

  7. Shouldn’t what you use to exfoliate be completely cylindrical? In other words, completely round so that jagged edges don’t create micro tears in the skin? That’s why I’m afraid to use the sea salt because it’s not completely round and looks/feels too harsh for my skin. Is there anything else you suggest? :) thanks!

  8. I love that you said the clarisonic doesn’t replace exfoliating. I’ve always thought doing both would be too harsh and no one ever addresses the clarisonic factor. I love your blog! You’re awesome!

  9. This is not a question about exfoliating, but I’ve been dying to get help on this issue! I have tiny bumps underneath my eyes (in the circle area) and I’m wondering what they are/what may have caused them/how to get rid of them. They are very tiny and not acne/blackhead like, but aren’t just large pores because they are actual little bumps. I feel like they have always been there but who knows! Any idea what this could be or how I could fix it? I thought maybe you’ve come across someone who has alsohad this problem. Thanks for being so amazing on this blog!

  10. for oily skin what toner do you recommend i been using one but i just read on your blog that alcohol is actually bad for the skin so i need help to find a new toner (:

  11. Hi, I am so glad I came across this blog. I use a lot of the products you have mentioned here and feel glad and reaffirmed that I did pick the right things for myself. I have a question which is not related to this but about dark underarms due to using hair removal cream for a long period of time and switching to waxing now. How can I get rid of the darkness? Also, is sugaring underarms better than honey wax?

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