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10 steps to exfoliate your face properly for glowing skin

Are you looking for the right way to exfoliate your face, here's the correct way to exfoliate your skin and get a beautiful, glowing skin.
View All Images How to exfoliate your face
How to exfoliate your face properly? Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Published: 13 Oct 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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Whether you are a newbie or a skincare enthusiast, you must know that exfoliation is an important part of achieving glowing skin. In fact, exfoliation is believed to be a good solution for those seeking ways to get clear, smooth and brighter skin. But one wrong step in exfoliation and you could end up with irritated and barrier-compromised skin. To help you avoid these mistakes, here’s the right way to exfoliate the face.

How to exfoliate the face properly?

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how you can exfoliate your face the right way to avoid skin problems:

1. Take the ingredients of your choice in a bowl. You can include papaya, oatmeal, besan (chickpea flour) or any other ingredient of your choice.
2. Now, add yogurt, milk, or rosewater to the dry mixture. Begin by adding 1-2 tablespoons and add more so that your paste is a little thick. The choice of liquid depends on your skin type:

  • Yogurt or milk is suitable for normal to dry skin as it provides moisture and a creamy consistency.
  • Rosewater is suitable for oily or acne-prone skin as it helps balance oil production and soothes the skin.
  • If you have dry skin or want extra hydration, you can add a teaspoon of honey to the mixture. Honey is moisturising and has antibacterial properties.

3. Mix the ingredients well until you have a smooth and thick paste.
4. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry before applying the mask.
5. Apply the mixture to your face using a clean finger or a brush, avoiding sensitive eye care.
6. Let the mask sit on your face for about 15 minutes or until it dries out completely.
7. Once the mask has dried off, wet your fingers and gently massage your face in a circular motion. It will help exfoliate the skin.
8. Be gentle to avoid irritating the skin.
9. Rinse your face thoroughly with lukewarm water until all the mask is removed. You may need to use a washcloth to help remove any residue.
10. Gently pat your face dry with a clean towel and follow up with your regular moisturiser.

exfoliate your face
Tips to exfoliate your face properly! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When to avoid exfoliation?

You should avoid exfoliating your face or skin in the following cases:

1. Sunburn or irritated skin

If your skin is already sunburned, or irritated from any other cause, avoid exfoliating until it has healed completely. Exfoliating can further irritate and damage sensitive or compromised skin.

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2. Open wounds or cuts

Do not exfoliate if you have open wounds, cuts or active acne lesions on your skin. Exfoliating can introduce bacteria into these areas and hinder the healing process.

3. Severe acne or active breakouts

While gentle exfoliation can help manage mild acne, it should be avoided during severe acne outbreaks or when you have many active pustules.

4. Certain skin conditions

If you have certain skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, or dermatitis, aggressive exfoliation can worsen these conditions and lead to more irritation.

5. Recent chemical peels or skin treatments

Avoid exfoliating immediately after undergoing chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, or other intense skin treatments.

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6. Sensitivity or allergies

If you have sensitive skin or known allergies to exfoliating ingredients (like alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, or certain natural exfoliants), be cautious when using new products. Always perform a patch test first.

Tips to get exfoliation right and avoid skin problems

1. Know your skin type

Understand your skin type and its specific needs. Dry, sensitive, oily and combination skin types may require different exfoliation methods and frequencies.

2. Start slow

If you’re new to exfoliation or trying a new product, start with a lower frequency (once a week) and gradually increase it as your skin tolerates it. Over-exfoliating can lead to irritation and sensitivity. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, as this can cause micro-tears and damage to the skin.

3. Do a patch test

Before using a new exfoliant, perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for any adverse reactions or allergies.

4. Use sunscreen

Exfoliation can make your skin more susceptible to UV damage. Always apply sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF after exfoliating your face.

skin exfoliation
Applying sunsreen after exfoliating your skin is important. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Moisturise

Follow-up exfoliation with a good moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated. This helps maintain your skin’s natural barrier and prevents excessive dryness.

6. Be patient

It can take some time to see visible results from exfoliation. Be patient and consistent with your routine.

7. Listen to your skin

Pay attention to how your skin reacts to exfoliation. If you experience excessive dryness, redness, burning, or irritation, scale back or stop exfoliating temporarily.

8. Consult a professional

If you’re unsure about the best exfoliation routine for your skin or have specific concerns, consider consulting a dermatologist or skincare expert for personalised advice.

Remember that exfoliation is just one aspect of a comprehensive skincare routine. Proper cleansing, moisturising, and sun protection are equally important for maintaining healthy, radiant skin.

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About the Author

Dr Jaishree Sharad is a popular cosmetic dermatologist. It's been over 22 years since she committed to bringing the essence of skin care to India. She is also the founder of Skinfiniti Aesthetic Skin and Laser Clinic in Mumbai. She is the Board Director of the International Society of Dermatologic Surgery. She has authored two award-winning bestsellers, Skin Rules, and Skin talks, both published by Penguin Random House. She has authored over 70 chapters in various textbooks on Aesthetic Dermatology. She has delivered over 500 lectures at national and international conferences since 2006. She is also a TEDx speaker. ...Read More

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