When did you start exfoliating?
Me, I started dabbling with scrubs when I was around 15. Only once in a while, though. I was worried that, if I did it too often, I’d damage my skin.
You always hear that if you start using this or that product too early, something awful is going to happen (although, no one ever shows you proof – isn’t that odd?).
Now, I regret not exfoliating more regularly. Exfoliation really does wonders for the skin.
Why You Should Exfoliate
We can debate when the right age to start exfoliating is, but exfoliation itself is not optional. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells that accumulates on the surface of the skin, which has lots of benefits:
- It helps keep the pores unclogged, preventing breakouts
- It makes skin smoother, so that wrinkles look smaller
- It reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation
- It makes skin glow
- It helps skincare products better penetrate the skin
You see, you’d be crazy not to exfoliate!
So, How Do I Exfoliate?
When I first started exfoliating, I’d do it with scrubs. Big mistake! Those contain small particles with rough edges, like apricot kernels and walnut shells, that can scratch and irritate skin.
These days, I prefer chemical exfoliation. I know the word chemical has become synonym with harmful, but that’s nonsense. When it comes to exfoliation, nothing works better than alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids. In particular:
- Glycolic acid is perfect for dry and sun damaged skin because it hydrates and boosts collagen production
- Lactic acid is ideal for sensitive skin because it is very gentle and hydrating
- Salicylic acid does wonders for oily and acne-prone skin because it can treat and prevent breakouts
Just don’t go overboard. When you’re first starting out, exfoliating two or three times a week is more than enough. You can always increase frequency later on, if your skin can tolerate it. Unless you have sensitive skin. Then, once a week will do.
So, when should I start exfoliating?
Sorry for going on such a tangent. So, back to the initial question. When should you start exfoliating?
As exfoliation can help treat breakouts, and we all know that teenagers are prone to breakouts, I’d say in your early teens (13-15 years old).
By all means, don’t take my word for it. Dr Neal Schultz, a practicing dermatologist in NYC, thinks the same. He recommends to his patients that they start this early, when their bodies are changing and hormones are all over the place.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to exfoliation, it’s best to start early. Especially if you have oily skin that’s prone to breakouts. Your skin will look so much better!