Exfoliation 101

September 18, 2019

Exfoliation 101

What is ‘exfoliation’?

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. You can use tools, chemical exfoliator or a manual exfoliator.

So what’s the difference between a chemical exfoliator and a manual (physical) exfoliator?

Basically manual (physical) exfoliation uses your fingers or buffers to physically move across your skin. You are removing the dead cells by scraping off the top surface of your skin with physical friction. Sugar or salt scrubs fall under the category of manual/physical exfoliators. This form of physical exfoliation is especially ideal for those with scars, wrinkles and stretch marks and can be too harsh for inflamed acne.

Chemical exfoliates on the other hand are exfoliation using chemicals that can dissolve the glue like substance that holds the dead cells together. You would have heard of AHAs or BHAs which are well-known chemical exfoliants. This type of exfoliation is applied to the skin then rinsed off. You do not “scrub” to enjoy the benefits. The “chemical” does the work and is best used for acne-prone skin.

Why should you exfoliate?

Before and after exfoliation

Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days or so. Sometimes, dead cells don’t shed completely. This can result in dry, flaky patches and clogged pores. Exfoliating can help prevent this.

Exfoliation can leave your skin looking brighter and improve the effectiveness of topical skin care products by enhancing absorption.  It can help prevent clogged pores and increase collagen production. Collagen will give you vibrant and glowing skin as well as promote skin elasticity, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and sagging.

If you use a chemical exfoliator without any moisturising oils, your skin might feel a little dry or tight after you exfoliate, so it’s best to moisturize your skin. Use facial lotion immediately after you exfoliate to add moisture back to your skin. Choose a moisturizer that’s formulated for your skin type.

How frequent should I exfoliate?

How often you should scrub your skin varies from person to person. Some people’s skin can only handle exfoliating once a week, while others are able to exfoliate a few times per week. Typically, you should exfoliate your skin including your body 2-3 times a week. Your skin will look its best if you exfoliate it regularly. If your skin tolerates it well, exfoliate 3 times per week.

What can exfoliation help with?

Ingrown hairs (ouch!)

Caused by hairs becoming trapped under the skin, ingrown bumps can look unsightly and is painful too. Your best form of defence against ingrown hairs is to exfoliate the area regularly, as dead skin cells can trap the hair follicle under the skin. You should exfoliate your legs before you shave them to avoid ingrown hairs!


Cellulites are caused by the accumulation of fat cells underneath the skin. To get trapped fluid and toxins (key cellulite contributors) flowing, try light lymphatic drainage massage or scrubbing with a coffee scrub. Brush gently but firmly (a heavy-handed approach can worsen the problem) on  wet skin, starting at your feet and sweeping up towards the heart. If your skin goes red, you’re brushing too hard.

Any product recommendations?

If you’re a coffee and chocolate-lover (to be honest, who isn’t!?) try our Micora Arabica Coffee Scrub to help exfoliate your skin. It can be used for both body and face (but please do not exfoliate if you have raging acne). It has grapeseed oil and Vitamin E oil for moisturising effect, so do not wash-up with soap after! You’ll be left with smooth, glowing skin! If the oils are not hydrating enough for those with eczema or dry skin, do follow-up some of our great moisturizers like our Olivarrier Dual Moist Hyaluron Essence or Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream to give your skin sufficient hydration.

Happy Scrubbing!

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