You might know skin exfoliation to be that thing that has something to do with face scrubs. Maybe you’ve heard it’s your ticket to fresher, more radiant-looking skin. Both are true! While your body does a version of exfoliation on its own—a process called desquamation—there’s a catch: it doesn’t always do the most thorough job.
Natural exfoliation usually doesn’t happen efficiently enough to give you that no-makeup-yet-somehow-still-photo-ready complexion we all want. Dry patches, flakes, clogged pores—a lot can go awry when skin is left to its own devices. Luckily, exfoliants like grainy face scrubs can help remove any dead skin cells your body couldn’t get rid of on its own.
In this article, we’ll dig into the science of skin exfoliation and why it pays to introduce a face scrub to your skincare routine.
Did you know your skin is constantly renewing itself? (Crazy, we know.) Basically, your body is always making new skin cells: While you sleep, when you eat, during class or morning status meetings at work—you get the point! The entire skin renewal cycle takes anywhere from 30 to 75 days, depending on things like your age, skin type, the products you apply, and even where you live. It takes most adults roughly a month to naturally produce a fresh set of skin cells.
As this happens, older cells are forced upward through the various layers of the epidermis toward the surface, where they dry out and eventually shed. The official, tongue-twisting science word for this shedding process is “desquamation” (pronounced DE-SKWA-MAY-SHUN). Once the cells naturally flake off, they eventually become the dust that settles on furniture and in the nooks and crannies around your home. Gross, but true!
However, the process isn’t perfect. Sometimes these old cells don’t flake off quickly enough; this build-up can leave you with a rough, dull, tired-looking complexion.
SO, WHERE DO THE FACE SCRUBS COME IN?
Because everyone’s desquamation process works differently, your natural skin renewal process isn’t always able to remove enough dead cells to maintain the kind of bright, clear skin most of us strive for. Enter the exfoliating face scrub.
Used correctly, these deep facial cleansers can help boost radiance by gently buffing away leftover dead skin cells (those pesky flakes!). This often translates to better absorption of good-for-skin products you already use as well as fewer clogged hair follicles. Simply put: harder-working skincare and less breakouts.
While it’s natural for skin to look a little red post-scrub, it should never hurt or feel irritated. If it does, stop! Be gentle—your face is not a board that needs sanding! And using face scrubs on irritated or sunburned skin is an absolute no-no!
For those skipping down for the TL;DR, here goes: properly exfoliated skin looks fresher, smoother, and downright glow-ier. Though your body already naturally exfoliates itself, adding a facial scrub to your current skincare routine can take your complexion from simply good to lit-from-within radiant. Now go forth and exfoliate responsibly, dear readers. And don’t forget to flaunt that healthy, beautiful skin!