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Organic Skin Science

Exfoliants - How to choose the right one for your skin type

What is Exfoliation?

If you use skincare, it’s likely that you’ve heard of exfoliating or may already exfoliate as part of your weekly skincare routine. If you’re new to the world of exfoliation or currently exfoliate but don’t really understand why it’s important and what type of exfoliant is best for your skin, read on to learn more about this essential skincare step.

Naturally, our skin goes through a process of regeneration (exfoliation), shedding dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days or so.  A healthy skin function needs little to no assistance when it comes to regeneration, however there are a few factors that can result in ineffective shedding, leading to dry, flaky buildup and clogged pores. The environment you live in, hormones and skincare products can all impact how effectively your skin naturally regenerates, however the most common cause of a lagging renewal cycle is ageing.


Why you need to exfoliate

As mentioned above, our skin sometimes needs a little assistance with exfoliation, particularly as we age. Cosmetic exfoliation complements your natural exfoliation process by assisting your skin to remove dead skin cells, excess oil and dirt that your skin would otherwise buildup without a little help. Exfoliants create a smoother, brighter complexion, allowing our skincare products to absorb more effectively and their active ingredients to do their job. Keeping your skin clear of dead skin build up and excess oil is essential for those with acne prone skin as it can help to prevent clogged pores, resulting in fewer breakouts. Regular exfoliation has also been linked to increased collagen production, which is key to a healthy, youthful complexion. 


Types of exfoliants

There are many types of exfoliants and methods of exfoliation, and you may be surprised to learn that it’s not all about scrubbing. There are two types of exfoliants - physical and chemical, and some formulations combine the two together.


Physical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliants are products or treatments that use manual methods to buff away dead skin cells, and can include:

  • Facial cleansing scrubs
  • Exfoliating mitts
  • Dry brushes
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Pumice stones

Physical exfoliants can be a very effective way to assist your skin’s renewal process and they often show immediate results. However, there are a few precautions to take when choosing this method of exfoliation. Some exfoliants can contain particles or substances that are too harsh for our skin, potentially causing micro-tears, irritation and damage to the skin’s barrier. It’s important to avoid exfoliators that contain sharp particles such as sugar, nut shells and salt, and to use gentle to no pressure on the skin when using physical exfoliation products.


Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants use non-abrasive ingredients to breakdown and remove dead skin, and most commonly contain Alpha-hydroxy, Beta-hydroxy and Poly-hydroxy acids.

Naturally derived from fruit and sugarcane, Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) offer a gentle but effective way of breaking apart the bonds holding dead skin cells on your skin’s surface.  Glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids are all AHA’s that will assist your skin to naturally shed dead skin, improving tone and discolouration.

Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) such as salicylic acid are commonly used to treat acne prone skin due to it’s oil-soluble properties, making it ideal for penetrating and unclogging pores.

Poly hydroxy acids (PHAs) such as gluconolactone and lactobionic acid work in a similar way to AHAs, however as their molecules are larger they cannot penetrate as deeply, often resulting in a less effective but more gentle option for those with very sensitive skin.


How to choose the right exfoliation product for your skin type.

Using exfoliation products that don’t support your skin type may result in irritation and could lead to a damaged skin barrier. It’s important to identify your skin type before choosing an exfoliant and ensure it contains naturally derived ingredients that provide effective results without irritating the skin. Below are our 5 star rated top performing exfoliant recommendations based on your skin type.


Dry, Sensitive and Mature Skin

LAMAV’s Jojoba Exfoliating Scrub is a gentle but effective exfoliant, formulated with fruit derived AHA’s to breakdown and exfoliate dry skin, revealing a softer and smoother complexion without irritation. The addition of melting Jojoba micro-beads gently buff away flaky skin, offering a gentle alternative to harsh synthetic exfoliants. Bursting with nourishing oils, you’ll also get the benefits of hydration and repair, while Aloe and Chamomile soothe and reduce redness.


Oily, Combination and Acne-prone Skin

If you’re prone to breakouts or excess oil you need a product that delivers potent active ingredients without the irritation. LAMAV’s AHA Face Exfoliant is a powerful 2-in-1 exfoliator that deeply purifies the skin as it exfoliates, resulting in a clear and smooth complexion. Potent AHA’s from Desert Lime, Sugar Cane and Bilberry effectively breakdown dead skin while Bamboo Powder and Diatomaceous Earth provide a non-abrasive physical exfoliant to buff away impurities while strengthening collagen. Say hello to clear, youthful skin!

Normal Skin

If you’re one of those lucky people with balanced, normal skin, choosing our AHA Face Exfoliant or Jojoba Exfoliating Scrub will benefit your skin, supporting exfoliation and providing you with a smooth complexion. The choice will come down to your preference of texture. Our Jojoba Scrub is a creamy consistency, while our AHA exfoliant delivers more of a textured feel on the skin. Both will deliver AHA and bio-active benefits. 


How to Exfoliate

Exfoliation may seem like a simple skincare step but there are a few things to consider if you want to get the most out of your exfoliant while limiting irritation. 


When to use a face exfoliant

Face exfoliants are best used after a double cleanse to ensure their active ingredients are able to penetrate the skin, delivering fast and effective results. It might be tempting to skip cleansing on the days you’re using a facial exfoliant, but this will do your skin no favours. Cleansing and exfoliating are 2 completely different skincare steps and each one has their own important place in maintaining a healthy complexion.


Day or Night

Exfoliants are best used at night as your skin will be at its cleanest after a double cleanse and using before bed allows for skin repair while you sleep. You’re also more likely to apply highly active and nourishing products in the PM such as serums, oils and night creams, and these will assist to reduce any potential irritation after exfoliation while also penetrating deeper on freshly exfoliated skin. Using an exfoliant at night will also reduce exposure to the sun after application, limiting potential irritation, and giving your skin time to calm and repair after treatment.


How Often

If you have acne prone skin or dry patches it can be tempting to exfoliate daily in an attempt to smooth the skin. Over-exfoliation can quickly lead to irritation and a damaged barrier so it's important to only exfoliate 2-3 per week and remember to be gentle on your skin!


Avoid irritating Active Ingredients

Products applied after exfoliation should be hydrating and nourishing to calm and protect fresh skin. Ingredients such as Retinol and Vitamin A should be avoided after using an exfoliant as these ingredients encourage additional cellular turnover and could result in skin irritation or a damaged barrier.


Use H2O

If you’re using a physical facial exfoliant it’s best to apply to clean, wet skin to help the product gently buff without pulling or damaging the skin. 


Avoid the delicate eye area

The skin around our eyes is significantly thinner than the other areas of our face, making it more prone to sensitivity and irritation. It’s best to avoid using exfoliants around this area and focus on the larger areas of the t-zone and cheek areas.


Body-specific products

If you’re using a body scrub on your face, please stop! The skin on our face is more delicate and prone to irritation than the skin on our body, so it’s important to use a product on the face that is dedicated to facial exfoliation. 

Body exfoliation is often something that is not made a priority on our list of self-care rituals. We get it, most of us are busy and short on time so feel that skincare time would be best invested on the face. If this sounds like you, we have good news! Body exfoliation can be achieved in just a few minutes per day and has a long list of benefits.


Garshana Dry Body Brushing

LAMAV’s Garshana Dry Body Brush does more than just exfoliate. Indulging in this ancient Ayurvedic ritual for a few minutes prior to showering will stimulate lymphatic drainage and boost circulation while sloughing away dead skin cells for brighter, firmer skin.


Exfoliating Mitt

Designed to be used for tanning prep and overall skin health, LAMAV’s Exfoliating Mitt gently buffs away blemishes, bumps and dry skin to smooth and tone the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite. This reusable mitt is washable and reusable, making it a must have in everyone’s bathroom.


See Real Results and Reviews Below from Our Exfoliation Range

Before and After Using ExfoliantLamav Exfoliant Product Review