How to Gently Exfoliate Sensitive Skin

How to Exfoliate Sensitive Skin

As someone dealing with sensitivity all the time, trust me when I say that you can exfoliate even if you have sensitive skin. You don’t need to resort to harsh, irritating ingredients to maintain smooth, clear skin. So it’s not a matter of whether to exfoliate but a matter of how to exfoliate sensitive skin.

Exfoliation means removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. When done properly, exfoliation has a lot of benefits such as increasing skin turnover, softening the appearance of fine lines, smoothing flaky skin, and brightening skin tone.

But exfoliation has certain drawbacks such as irritation and redness even for normal skin. It can be tricky when you have easily irritated skin. If you’re not sure how to get started, no worries. Keep reading to learn how to exfoliate sensitive skin.

How to Exfoliate Sensitive Skin

1. Avoid physical exfoliants.

Physical exfoliation refers to using sugar scrubs, cleansers with microbeads, exfoliating towels, loofahs, and anything that requires you to apply manual pressure against the skin.

This can be irritating even for normal skin let alone sensitive skin. Because you don’t have enough control over the application when you’re using these. Avoid physical exfoliants as you can scratch your skin, which leads to irritation and more sensitivity.

2. Use chemical exfoliants.

Chemical exfoliation refers to using chemical exfoliants to dissolve the glue that holds dead skin cells together. These include alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and beta-hydroxy acids like salicylic acid.

Among these, lactic acid in particular is the gentlest. It’s the best alpha-hydroxy acid to use on sensitive skin because it has hydrating benefits too.

You can use low-concentration lactic acid serums once a week. You can also use daily lactic acid toners or lactic acid cleansers to improve skin texture and tone without irritation.

3. Use polyhydroxy acids.

Alternatively, you can try polyhydroxy acids like gluconolactone, lactobonic acid, and maltobionic acid. They are not as penetrating and they work on the surface of the skin. This reduces potential irritation considerably.

4. Try enzyme exfoliators.

You can try enzyme exfoliators as an alternative to chemical exfoliants. They’re derived from fruits like papaya and pineapple. And, much like chemical exfoliants, they break down the bond between dead skin cells.

You can try enzyme peels such as powder cleansers or exfoliating masks to manage blemishes, flakiness, and congested skin.

5. Choose the right exfoliator.

Exfoliation comes in many forms like cleansers, toners, pads, lotions, and serums. Some products are to be used daily and some are to be used weekly. If you’re very new, start with an exfoliating toner or cleanser but use it sparingly.

6. Look for a gentle exfoliator.

Regardless of whether you’re using a toner or serum, look for a gentle formula. Non-drying, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free products are better.

Also, look for other ingredients in your exfoliator to minimize potential irritation. Soothing oatmeal, green tea, and aloe can reduce potential redness from exfoliation.

7. Start slowly.

When you’re new to exfoliation, it’s important to start slowly to avoid irritation. Exfoliate only once a week at first to make sure your product works well for your skin. Once your skin gets used to it, you can increase frequency.

8. Use your products properly.

Applying products properly is just as important as using the right product. For example, don’t apply too much product. If it’s a serum, a pea-sized amount is enough.

Avoid using exfoliants on wet skin as wet skin is more absorbent. This can increase the likelihood of irritation. Use a replenishing moisturizer in your routine to avoid dryness. Always use sunscreen as exfoliation can make your skin prone to sunburn.

So this is how to exfoliate sensitive skin without irritation. Remember, avoid physical exfoliants and go for gentle hydroxy acids like lactic acid. And remember to slowly incorporate your products into your routine and use them sparingly until your skin builds tolerance. As long as you’re gentle with your skin and you pay attention to how it responds to your products, you can safely exfoliate even if you have sensitive skin.

Read Next: Best Face Masks For Sensitive Skin

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