Exfoliation is something that most women worth their ‘beauty salt’ incorporate into their weekly beauty regime. –and with good reason, too! Besides the instant gratification of soft, smooth skin, there are other reasons for liking exfoliation. These as I have discussed before, include improving blood flow to the surface of the skin, buffing away dry patches, even skin tone and make up going on and sitting better, among other things.
However, as stated in one of my previous articles on exfoliation, there is such a thing as over exfoliation and the wrong way to go about it. Sadly, many women aren’t aware of this; because as long as they’re exfoliating, they’re happy! Darker skinned women in particular, need to be very careful when it comes to exfoliation, as darker skin is easily traumatised. If skin is traumatised and inflamed, all the hard work you’ve put into your skin care can very easily be undone in a short of time, because this could lead to heavily uneven skin tone.
Things For Women of Colour Can Do With Knowing.
- Over-exfoliation in dark skin is very likely to lead to skin aggravation and ultimately, patchy pigmentation (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
- Overzealous exfoliation causes skin to look and feel irritated and/or damaged.
- What’s more, being heavy handed with your exfoliation can also disrupt your skin’s natural equilibrium, leading to the over production of sebum, which then results in break outs.
- Studies have shown black skin to have a more compact stratum corneum; the outer layer of the skin is thicker basically, and this is essentially the amount of dead skin cells. This could explain why some black women may feel their skin is tough enough to take any amount of trauma through use of harsh products.
- That paired with the fact that black skin tends to have larger pores and higher sebum secretion than other skin types, means it’s important to keep the surface of the skin as clean as possible to guard against break outs. However, it also scars very easily and means black women need to find that happy medium, to avoid inadvertently causing more harm.
- Asian skin also needs to be handled with extreme care, perhaps even more so, as it’s been found to have a weaker barrier function, making it more it sensitive to external chemical elements. For Asian skin, just as with black skin, over scrubbing will not do at all as it will almost certainly lead to further weakening of the skin barrier and ultimately, scarring it.
- Generally speaking, exfoliating once a week should be more than enough. It’s worth noting that skin cell turnover takes 20-40 days to renew itself, so using an exfoliator once a week suffices.
- Use of loofahs, scrubs or microdermabrasion can irritate the skin and increase the chance post-inflammatory pigmentation.
- Exercise caution with exfoliators with jagged edges as they can cut into skin and cause inflammation and irritation.
- Consider new age exfoliators that do not employ any amount of scrubbing that are fast becoming very popular, not only for their gentle nature, but for their cutting edge efficacy in bringing about fantastic results. These use a gentle peeling mechanism to break down and lift away dead skin cells. They often contain fruit acids and are kinder on skin. But even so, they should be used according to instructions because lest we forget, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing!