We’ve all seen men’s exfoliators on the shelves of the local health store or available in the online store of a cosmetics brand. There are endless different kinds of exfoliators available, each one claiming to do wonders for your skin.
Many experts claim that exfoliators form a key part of the perfect men’s skincare regime alongside other creams, oils, and face scrubs. In this article, we’re going to cover what an exfoliator is, when exfoliators should be used in a men’s skincare routine, and how often they should be used.
Let’s delve into what men’s exfoliators are first.
What Are Men’s Exfoliators?
Any men’s skincare regime should contain an exfoliator. We will cover where and when to use them as part of your regime later in the article, but first, we need to learn what exfoliators are.
Your skin naturally produces oils and sweat that build up over the course of the day along with dirt, dust, and makeup residue. This can slowly begin to block your pores, eventually leading to blackhead, whiteheads, and breakouts.
An exfoliator is a product that removes dead cells from the skin, helping to expose the healthy cells underneath. Exfoliators can also help to clear pores, remove bacteria from the epidermis (outer surface of the skin), and balance the pH of the skin.
Exfoliating products come in two different forms - chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliants use a number of different acids to dissolve the oils and dirt on your skin. These acids include glycolic acid and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs).
AHAs are very well-known and commonly-used ingredients found in many chemical exfoliators. These acids are beneficial for your skin and can help to break down old skin cells or built-up bits of dirt and debris on your skin.
By using a chemical exfoliator that contains AHAs, you can achieve a smoother and healthier complexion. Keep an eye out for either AHA on the labels of your skincare products. It may be listed under alternative names, such as lactic acid, glycolytic acid, or citric acid.
Another well-known exfoliating ingredient is papaya seed oil. The proteolytic enzymes in papaya seed oil break down dead skin cells and oils. It also contains lots of vitamin C and lycopene, both of which are antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage in your skin, which locks in moisture and gives you a healthy glow.
Physical exfoliants contain small hard grains that help to remove dirt and clean pores when they are rubbed against the skin. Most face scrub products and face masks act as physical exfoliants.
Whether you choose a chemical or physical exfoliant is completely down to your personal preference. It’s worth trying both options to see which one helps to clean pores and smooth out your skin. It’s also important to consider the specific ingredients in the skincare products to avoid using anything that you know will irritate your skin.
Where Does an Exfoliator Go in a Skin Routine for Men?
One of the most common questions that many dermatologists receive is where does an exfoliator belong in skincare routines for men of color?
Truth be told, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to where an exfoliant fits into a skin routine for men.
You can use an exfoliant before or after applying a cleansing oil or toner to the skin. The order that you use is completely up to you and depends on your unique needs and preferences.
Using a cleanser before exfoliating provides you with a clean slate before you apply the chemical or physical exfoliator. This is usually the more common order of application.
However, some people do prefer to use an exfoliator before cleansing. The exfoliator may remove dead skin cells and excess oils on the skin, and these effects are enhanced when you use a cleanser afterward. If you are going to exfoliate before using the cleanser, it’s best to use a physical exfoliator, such as a face scrub.
How Often Should You Exfoliate?
The frequency at which you exfoliate your skin largely depends on your skin type. Exfoliating too little may result in you not seeing the effects that you desire. Exfoliating too much pain irritates the skin and causes redness and itching.
On average, it’s recommended that exfoliators are used around twice a week in a men’s skincare regime. For men with a normal skin type, this will be enough to keep access oils at bay and keep the skin looking bright.
For oily skin types, expert dermatologists generally recommend a higher frequency of exfoliation. Around three to four times a week seems to be the general consensus for those with oilier skin.
Drier skin, however, should be exfoliated less frequently. Once a week is often enough to avoid stripping to skin completely of its natural oils when it is already fairly dry.
For acne-prone skin, regular exfoliation can aggravate the skin and cause frequent breakouts, redness, and itchiness.
The time of year and the weather can impact your skin. Therefore, these factors can impact the number of times that you should use a men’s exfoliator as well. For example, when the weather is hot and humid, you might find that you sweat a lot more. This may lead to excess oils on the skin and, as a result, you may need to exfoliate more than usual.
During winter, when the weather is dry and crisp, your skin will naturally start to produce fewer oils. You won’t need to use a chemical exfoliator or face scrub as often during these times.
What is the Problem With Over Exfoliating?
It is possible to over-exfoliate your skin. If you use a face scrub every day of the week, you are putting your skin under a lot of stress. This can impair the skin’s ability to repair and rejuvenate itself.
The abrasive nature of many exfoliants can lead to access dryness, flakiness, and screaming irritation. This is especially the case for sensitive skin or acne and eczema-prone skin.
Remember that too much of a good thing can be harmful. You don’t want to create new problems by over-exfoliating and damaging your healthy skin.
Exfoliating too frequently or too harshly can cause just as many problems as not exfoliating at all. Overusing exfoliants can cause micro-tears in the skin by breaking the small capillaries that lie just below its surface.
It’s good practice to apply moisturiser after you have applied law exfoliator. This will help to lock in moisture and nourishment to keep the skin healthy and hydrated.
When it comes to how often you should exfoliate, it really depends on a number of factors. Your skin type, the type of exfoliators that you use, the weather, and your personal preferences are also key factors.
The best advice we can give is to follow the genera guidelines we have set in this article but also to try things out for yourself. Everybody is different and a general skin routine for men might not work perfectly for your needs.
Give a few different exfoliating products a go and use them at varying frequencies to figure out your perfect skincare regime. Good luck!
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