This Is A Must-Read Before You Exfoliate This Summer


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Exfoliation is a skincare step you cannot skip if you want great skin – it’s that simple. Here’s why: exfoliating will help buff away dead skin that can lead to clogged pores, which will also help to maintain a smoother and brighter complexion. However, if you over exfoliate you could weaken your skin’s protective barrier, leaving it open and inflamed, and exposed to bacteria and irritation, not to mention sun damage. So make sure you follow our quick guide on how to exfoliate like a pro during the summer season.

Limit Your Use Of Chemical Exfoliators

During the summer months, your skin is prone to creating more oil, which means your pores are likely to become congested. To combat this, exfoliation is key. We’re big fans of using lactic acid and glycolic acid toners to gently exfoliate the top layer of skin while it also tightens and tones pores. However, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ingraham, explains that “Products with glycolic acid and lactic acid [should be used] sparingly, as both ingredients expose skin to the sun and may cause sensitivity.” This means during the summer, it’s always best to exfoliate in the evening and use your acids sparingly.

It’s also worth checking your other products for AHAs and salicylic acid to ensure you’re aware of when and how often you’re using exfoliators in your routine. If you’re using an AHA toner or lactic acid serum, it’s worth skipping this on the day and day after using a peel or physical exfoliator, so that you don’t over-exfoliate your skin.

Protect Your Skin With SPF

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Sunscreen is so important as it will protect your new skin, so it isn’t left exposed and unprotected. If you skip sunscreen, you’re increasing the likelihood of sun damage in the form of sunburn, wrinkles, dark spots, pigmentation, and red, dry skin. Wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or 50 with a 5-star UVA rating to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays (find out the difference here). You should also ensure you apply SPF twenty minutes before you go in the sun as it takes this amount of time to activate. We’re currently obsessed with the SuperGoop Unseen Sunscreen, $32 – the weightless water-resistant formula contains SPF 40 and is infused with skin-soothing ingredients like red algae. Plus, it has a slight glowing effect so it gives your skin a radiant finish, which is perfect for summer.

Schedule Your Exfoliation

Scheduling your exfoliation correctly will help you avoid over exfoliating and aggravating your skin. Firstly, you should only exfoliate once or twice a week as part of your nighttime routine to allow your skin time to replenish while you catch some zzzs. Then, to lower the risk of sun damage, exfoliate two to three days before spending long periods of time in the sun, which will give your skin time to heal – basically don’t exfoliate the day before going sunbathing. This will also help create a more even, long-lasting tan. If you’re doing an intense peel, we’d avoid sun exposure for at least five days, but as always, regardless of how well you schedule your exfoliation, always apply sunscreen to protect your skin.

Always Follow With A Moisturizer 

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Once you’ve exfoliated, follow with a hydrating moisturizer to soothe and restore your skin. Due to the active ingredients in exfoliators, your skin is more likely to become dry and could end up flaking if you don’t rehydrate. Although for the summer months, trade in your heavier creams for a lightweight formula like the Clinique Moisture surge 72-hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, $20, which leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and boasts antioxidant-rich aloe vera, as well as hyaluronic acid.

How To Identify Over Exfoliated Skin And How To Fix It

If your skin feels tight and sensitive, or stings when applying other products, chances are you’re over exfoliating. The most common causes of over-exfoliation are exfoliating too regularly or using harsh abrasive scrubs. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t mean your skin is ruined forever! To rebuild your natural epidermal barrier, hydrate your skin as much as possible and avoid using any AHAs or exfoliators for a week to 10 days (depending on how your skin feels), then gently and very slowly introduce them back into your routine. Be mindful that a lot of cleansers also contain a very low percentage of AHAs and BHAs like glycolic, lactic, citric or salicylic acid. If your skin has reached the stage where there’s bleeding or open pus, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.

Let us know your go-to exfoliator in the comments below.