Exfoliating in the Winter
We've already talked about how important it is to take care of your skin in the winter, so now let's talk about exfoliation. It's important to exfoliate your skin all year, but it's even more important to keep exfoliating, perhaps even exfoliate more, during the cold winter months. The cool air often dries out our skin leaving us with flaky, scaly skin looking patchy and uneven. In general, it's great to exfoliate as we age because our skin cell regeneration slows down. Our bodies are just naturally slower at shedding the dead skin cells that are resting on the surface of our face, and the slower they're removed the more they pile up leaving us with clogged pores and fine lines. Exfoliating helps rid our faces of extra skin cells and leaves us with bright, fresh skin.
Exfoliating helps to shed any dead or dry skin making way for new, healthy skin. It can unclog pores filled with dead cells as well, but we have to be careful not to exfoliate too much and damage our skin. Try to avoid exfoliating every day as that will irritate your skin, leaving it red and inflamed. Once a week is great for most people but you may require a couple of times per week depending on your skin type. If you over-exfoliate then you might get into this cycle of feelings like you need to exfoliate more and more, and it's hard to break. If you feel like you need a good scrub, but you don't really need another exfoliating treatment, opt for a cleanser that is a non-scrub cleanser and use a rotating brush to help clean your skin.
Steer clear of cleansers that have particles in them, especially harsh ones such as nuts or sea salt. They create little tears in the skin, and that can lead to redness, inflammation, and acne (even more so if you're already acne-prone) as well as an uneven skin tone. Opt for a chemical exfoliator if you can, alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids are the best kinds to use as they dissolve the dead skin cells and also offer anti-aging benefits and cleans out pores for those who are susceptible to acne. If you have sensitive skin, be careful with the amount of actual exfoliate that you use. You can find products that use fruit enzymes (such as papaya and pineapple) which help to dissolve the dead skin cells right on the surface of the skin, and they don't cause nicks on the skin's surface and don't tend to irritate the skin at all. Some fruit enzyme scrubs usually contain natural oils to brighten your complexion as well.
For even more health advice during the winter, check out these eight winter skin care tips!