Do You Need To Exfoliate?
The Meow Meow Tweet Guide To Exfoliation
Exfoliation = getting rid of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Pretty simple. But how, how much, when to do it... etc., etc... it starts to get a tad confusing. Your skin is delicate, you don't want to go hacking away at its sweet surface!
MANUAL VS. ENZYMATIC EXFOLIATION
When it comes to natural exfoliation the two best options are manual and enzymatic. A manual exfoliation consists of little particles like sugar, salt and seeds that use friction to physically loosen dead cells from the skin’s surface so that they can be washed away. This is a great option for legs, back, chest, elbows, feet or other areas that are prone to dryness, blemishes and ingrown hairs. For facial skin and other delicate areas, it’s best to use soft particles like oats, almonds and ground leaves or flowers. The pressure you apply is important, too. It should be with the gentleness of brushing your teeth.
Let’s be clear, exfoliation isn’t just scrubbing. Enzyme exfoliants are most often from fruit like papaya, pineapple and pumpkin that function by dissolving the “glue” that holds the dead skin cells together. They are the most gentle option and are perfect for those with sensitive or blemish prone skin. If you are prone to breakouts on your face, focus on enzymatic exfoliation instead of heavy cleansing which can dry out your skin. This is especially important in the dead heat of summer when you’re sweating more. The skin will cleanse itself without the obstruction of dead skin cells which leads to fewer blemishes.
If your inclination is to wash until you're 'squeaky clean' or if you crave that 'massaged your face with a piece of sandpaper' sensation—it’s time to rein it in! One to two times per week is all you need to keep your skin properly exfoliated without over-abrading or drying it out. (Put the sandpaper down, folks!)
BENEFITS OF EXFOLIATION
In the summertime, we’re looking for any excuse to go without makeup (because even your face wants to walk down the street half-naked in the hot, sticky heat). Exfoliating improves your overall skin tone and promotes healthy circulation. It will also help to unclog pores, promote a speedy turnover of skin cells, balance your skin’s oil production and rid your pores of toxins and dirt. Ultimately, healthier functioning skin looks better, too… which means you’ll be more likely to put that heavy foundation away.
Exfoliation also allows better penetration and performance of your personal care products like moisturizers and deodorant. One of the most overlooked parts of the body to exfoliate are your underarms. If you notice that your deodorant isn’t holding up throughout the day, try exfoliating your pits once or twice per week. A build up of old deodorant and dry cells can disrupt the efficacy of your deodorant and cause underarm dryness. A gentle exfoliant like sugar or oats followed with a conditioning moisturizer like our Underarm Primer can make a big difference in staying fresh. We also love this compostable, plastic-free Mesh Body Scrub Cloth, made by Sasawashi in Osaka, Japan, from natural washi threads woven with deodorizing kumazasa plant fibers.
BUT… DO I REALLY NEED TO EXFOLIATE?
Not really, no. Your skin regenerates and sheds dead skin cells on its own. Exfoliation just gives it a little extra help. Enzymatic exfoliation is also a great way to clear up environmental buildup which breaks down collagen and the lipid layer in the skin. If you’re spending a lot of time outside or live in a city, pollution is a major culprit for aging skin, uneven skin tone and blemishes. You can also brighten up your skin by making sure it’s properly hydrated and moisturized.
Enzymatic and manual exfoliation appear in our Matcha Lime Exfoliant Mask. The powdered marshmallow root in this formula does a double-duty of giving it a little manual exfoliation and hydration. The pineapple in the mask provides an enzymatic exfoliation. Basically it’s a choose your own adventure. You can scrub it on or you can apply it and leave it on for a bit. Either way, you’ll be left with noticeably softer skin afterward (sensitive skin included).
So, do you need to exfoliate? No, your skin sheds dead cells on its own. But will it make a difference in the look of your skin? Probably.
If you’re the type of person that brushes their teeth so hard the dentist wags their finger at you, avoid manual exfoliation. It should not feel satisfying until after you’ve rinsed the exfoliant off.
The Meow Meow Tweet Blog Is A Collaborative Thought Project Between The Founders Of Meow Meow Tweet And Our Editorial Team. This Post Was Written By Tara Pelletier, Co-Founder.