There’s a sharp chill in the air and it’s likely that the shift in temperature is already wreaking havoc on your skin and making it drier and flakier than the usual. If this is something you’re experiencing, you’re probably all too aware of the power of exfoliation and its ability to make or break the current state of your skin. But, how exactly should you exfoliate in winter? Is there such a thing as too much exfoliation? And, what products should you use?
During the winter months, humidity levels drop and your skin dries out almost instantly. When there’s less moisture in the air, it leads to chapped lips, cracked and rough hands, and dry flaky skin. While moisturising almost always seems to be top priority, for some, the benefits of exfoliating might be hugely underestimated.
Should you still exfoliate in winter?
The answer is actually very simple. Yes, you should definitely exfoliate in winter. If the surface of your skin has dead skin cells, the efficiency in product absorption becomes lower. No matter how much effort you put into applying all that skincare in the attempt to moisturise, without proper exfoliation incorporated into your winter skincare routine, the products that you use may not be able to penetrate your skin properly to sufficiently nourish and hydrate it.
When your skin is exposed to cold air (or extreme temperatures) and dry indoor heat, your skin becomes easily dehydrated and quite simply, skin cells tend to die faster. Whenever you exfoliate, you’re helping replenish and rejuvenate your dead skin cells so that they can be replaced by new and healthy skin. Buffing away these dead skin cells can help in easily absorbing the skincare products that you are applying, thus making your skin look and feel better during the dreaded colder months.
How much should you exfoliate in winter?
Exfoliating in winter is great for your skin, but it’s quite easy to overdo and it can easily damage your skin if you go overboard.
Depending on your skin type, exfoliating once a week should suffice. Overdoing it can result in drier and irritated skin and nobody wants that! Choosing an exfoliating product that suits your skin type is also very important. A product that’s too abrasive or too potent for those who have sensitive and already dry skin can worsen their current skin condition and even cause irritation. Whilst choosing a product that’s too gentle for oily skin types can make the skin oilier or show no significant skin improvement. As much as it is important to exfoliate your skin, it is equally important to make sure that you choose a product that is suited to your skin type for optimum product performance.
Who should be exfoliating in winter?
Whether you have normal, combination, oily or dry skin, everyone needs to exfoliate during winter. The only difference is what products you should be using and the frequency of exfoliation that should be undertaken.
Experts say that exfoliating helps your skin absorb your moisturiser better, so it’s best not to skip it regardless of your skin type. All you have to do is look for the best way to exfoliate your skin.
How can you tell if you’re over exfoliating?
Some of us are guilty as charged. It’s either you don’t keep track of when you last exfoliated, so you end up exfoliating more than once a week, or that you simply feel like your skin needs more exfoliation even when it doesn’t.
If your skin starts to feel parched and itchy, these are some of the signs that you should lay off on the exfoliation for a while. Redness can also be seen in some areas, and you might also feel a slight burning sensation when you apply your skincare. You may even get more acne and irritation which makes you feel like you need to scrub more—but this certainly should not be the case.
Try to minimise the use of any type of exfoliating product until your skin looks and feels normal. You may also want to opt for products that are gentler even after your skin has recovered. It is also good to double check the products you are using as the irritation might not be because of over-exfoliating but more because of an unfavourable reaction to an ingredient.
If you’re a fan of gritty scrubs, you might want to stay away from harsher exfoliators too. Opt for exfoliators that are smooth and round like jojoba beads and the like.
How to exfoliate in winter?
The most important thing to remember is to be gentle with your skin. Despite using a scrub, you should always refrain from physically scrubbing your face with too much pressure. You should also always choose an exfoliator that’s nourishing. It should also be mild, yet effective. The best time to exfoliate using physical exfoliators is at night after a shower, because your skin has already softened and your exfoliator won’t be working double time to slough off those dead skin cells. Other than that, don’t forget to hydrate your skin after exfoliating.
However, there are exfoliators that can also be used during the day, just like the Obagi CRX C-Exfoliating Day Lotion, which is considered a chemical exfoliant that contains Glycolic acid.
Products To Use When Exfoliating
There are 3 types of exfoliating methods, one is the chemical exfoliation method which uses alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), and poly-hydroxy acids (PHAs). The second is the most common, which is physical exfoliating with the use of small granules, brushes and bristles. Lastly, the enzymatic exfoliation is a mild option that uses enzymes that are naturally found in fruits.
When it comes to the right exfoliation for you, there isn’t really any one size fits all. It’s completely dependent on preference and should also depend on your skin type too.
How to determine the best method for exfoliating for me?
Others may be a fan of physical exfoliation, but others may find it too harsh for their sensitive skin so they opt for something that leans on the chemical side. What may be effective for some may not be effective for others, so it is highly recommended that you follow some of these steps to determine which method will work best for you.
1. What’s your skin type? All skin types need exfoliation, but those who have dry and sensitive skin are better off using chemical exfoliators rather than physical exfoliators. Consider skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and rosacea before using any form of exfoliating as it may further aggravate the skin’s condition.
2. Follow an exfoliating schedule: do not over exfoliate, ever. Make sure that you schedule your skincare rituals and monitor them properly. While chemical peels seem like the perfect thing to do to exfoliate your skin, it’s not something that should be part of your daily routine.
3. Choosing the right products is key: there are a lot of product options that offer great benefits. But not all of them may be effective and beneficial for your skin. Always opt for products that are from reputable and widely recognised companies such as the Obagi Skincare product line.
The Obagi CRX C-Exfoliating Day Lotion
This revolutionary product is part of the third step in the CRX C-System for normal to dry skin. What it does is help reduce the visible signs of ageing while promoting radiant looking and rejuvenated skin. Because of its Glycolic acid content, it acts as an exfoliant that sloughs off dead skin cells. It reduces hyperpigmentation and smoothens wrinkles with regular use.
The formula also boasts Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and chamomile extract that helps brighten, hydrate and soothe the skin.
Aside from exfoliating dead skin cells, its professional strength ingredients makes the skin look luminous and glowing. With regular use, it slows down the process of skin ageing that is caused by the harmful UV rays of the sun and exposure to pollutants. It also has Hydroquinone that acts as an early intervention to prevent and further limit the damage that the skin attracts.
Frequent users of this product report that during the first month of use, significant changes can already be seen. Their skin became healthier, vibrant and more youthful.
While experts can only suggest products that might work well for your skin type, it is still up to you to decide on which products are truly helping your skin look and feel its best. It is also up to you to create a skincare routine that you can manage so that you can keep track of the products you’re using and ensure you’re using them regularly or as and when needed.
During the winter months, as with any month or season of the year, learn how to tune into your skin’s needs in response to the changing conditions and external environmental factors. Treat your skin with the utmost care, using quality skincare products and you will be rewarded with skin that looks vibrant and youthful, regardless of your skin type, age or how low the temperatures drop!