Cleansing and exfoliating serve a similar same purpose: removing unwanted substances from the skin. However, there are key differences between the two, and both should be used in your skincare routine for different reasons.
What is Cleansing?
A cleanser primarily works to remove impurities from the surface of your skin, such as dirt, dust, makeup, oil, residual skincare and particles from air pollution.
A walk through the skincare aisle of any supermarket or beauty store will expose you to a variety of cleansers, such as gels, creams, oils and foaming cleansers. Understanding your skin type is key to narrowing down on a cleanser that is best suited for your skin.
It's important to cleanse twice-a-day—once in the morning, since your skin releases toxins while you sleep, and once before you head to bed, since oil, dirt, pollution and impurities can build upon the surface of your skin throughout the day. However, don't cleanse more than this or overdo it, as it can strip your skin of natural oils and dehydrate your skin.
“Physical exfoliants can be much harsher on your skin and cause micro-tearing”
What is Exfoliation?
Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells on a daily basis. These dead skin cells can build up on your skin and need some extra help to get rid of them. On top of that, the oil, dirt and sweat that accumulates on the surface of your skin can clog your pores, and clogged pores can lead to acne, breakouts, and rough and uneven skin.
Think of exfoliation as a much deeper and more thorough cleanse. While a cleanser cleans the surface of your skin, exfoliation works to buff away dead skin cells and goes into the deeper layers of your skin to unclog your pores.
There are two types of exfoliants—chemical and physical. Contrary to popular belief, chemical exfoliants are much gentler on the skin and safer to use since they eliminate dead skin cells by dissolving the bonds that hold them together. Physical exfoliants, on the other hand, do their job by scrubbing away at the skin, and often contain all-natural physical particles such as sugar or ground-up fruit pits. However, physical exfoliants can be much harsher for the delicate skin on your face and can even cause micro-tearing.
While you should always aim to cleanse twice daily, you should only ever exfoliate once or twice weekly. But trust us when we say if you cleanse and exfoliate properly, you can say goodbye to dullness, blemishes, and breakouts!
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