For some men, the simple act of getting to grips with a made-for-men face wash was a major step forward in the male grooming stakes.
But a simple face wash isn’t going to save your skin from things like clogged pores, blackheads, flaking skin, and even those fine little lines encroaching on your youthful state of mind.
Adding to your cleansing routine need not be a time-consuming endeavor, but for our money, if you haven’t cottoned on to the benefits of exfoliation you’re missing out.
What is exfoliation and why do you need it in your life? Let us count the numerous ways a gritty scrub will transform your face from dull to dazzling in a few circular motions.
What is exfoliation?
If we get right down to it, it’s the removal of dead skin cells. Nothing more, nothing less.
Our skin has its own natural process known as desquamation which is fairly effective in our youth but can be improved upon, particularly as we age.
As skin grows and new cells are formed the deeper layers of our dermis, the outer layers known as the epidermis get sloughed off. A lot of this happens physically when we use a face cloth, rub a towel on our skin, or when the bonds of the cell weaken enough so that the cell literally floats off. Incidentally, these discarded skin cells are what make what we all know as dust in the home. So far, so gross.
The older we get, the less efficient our skin becomes at discarding those old cells. It means we have a layer of dull, dead skin that also acts as a barrier to the absorption of other topical products. So getting rid of these layers is a great thing.
Having these dead cells stay past their welcome also causes havoc for our pores and can be particularly bad news for oilier skins. Oilier skin types produce more sebum than normal or drier skin types, and that oil can act like a glue keeping dead cells stuck to the skin surface. On drier skin it makes the skin look dull and ashy.
A facial exfoliator is a product that will help remove these dead cell layers either through a physical method (using small rounded ingredients that have an abrasive effect) or a chemical method (like some gentle acids that dissolve the dead layers).
When you factor these points in, getting rid of excess dead skin cells sounds like a brilliant plan.
What are the benefits of facial exfoliation?
Removal of dead skin cells
We’ve covered why this is a good thing already! But we’ll add here that men’s skin is thicker than women’s and exfoliation is key to getting your face polished and glowing.
Reduces the incidence of ingrown hairs
Hair follicles can get clogged with dead skin after close shaves, resulting in the hair shaft growing inwards which makes painful red bumps.
Cleans out clogged pores
Using an exfoliator helps to dislodge pesky blackheads and helps keep them clean as a whistle and debris-free.
Reduces beard itch and dandruff
Exfoliation will rid the skin under a beard of any length of dead skin cells that may linger longer than they should. Flakes get trapped in the beard hairs making unsightly dandruff.
The simple act of using an exfoliator will boost circulation to the skin surface. The circular application of the product and the motion used on the skin encourages blood flow which imparts a healthy glow.
Helps your other skincare products be even more effective
How does it do that? By removing those occlusive layers, you’re letting your skin reap the benefits of the products you follow up with like serums, hydrators, and moisturizers because they can penetrate more easily and reach deeper layers.
Evens skin tone
Any skin type will look dull and potentially patchy if you have uneven desquamation going on. And who wants uneven desquamation? Reveal a more even tones complexion by gently sweeping away those dulling layers. Keeping the pores clean will also mean you get a more refined skin appearance.
Remember how we mentioned those fine lines? The ones that linger when you’ve stopped smiling around your eyes and mouth? The ones on your forehead and between your eyebrows? Well, exfoliation tackles them too. This is not to say they are going to disappear (if only it was that easy), but they will soften in appearance when you whittle down those dead cell layers that make them more apparent.
Things to look for when choosing a facial exfoliant
This is where things can get a little heady. There are tons of options on the market, even for men-only ranges. When you understand why exfoliation is such a brilliant addition to any skincare routine, you understand why everyone wants your hard-earned money to choose their facial exfoliator.
If you recall, there are two types of exfoliation methods.
There are physical or manual exfoliators that make use of natural or artificial particles suspended in a paste, cream, gel, or lotion. When applied to the wet or dry skin depending on the formula you use gentle, circular motions to thoroughly slough off the dead skin.
The second type is chemical exfoliators which make use of natural or man-made acidic compounds combined in a serum, lotion, or moisturizer that is applied all over the skin and left on until cleansed off. These types will dissolve the dead skin cells but can cause irritation.
For most men, the sensation of a physical scrub wins hands down. It’s invigorating and has that instant glow satisfaction that comes with the boost in circulation. Plus don’t men generally like to be a little more hands-on?
We love the double-duty foaming formula True Grit Detox Face Scrub for men by Jesse Jimz. And we love it because it’s dermatologist tested and has high-quality ingredients.
Activated charcoal helps to deeply purify the pores and peppermint creates and that all-important invigorating, stimulating sensation that refreshes. Jojoba beads and rice bran are gentle particles that won’t scratch your skin, unlike less expensive brands that use crushed nuts and shells that are irregularly shaped.
How often should you exfoliate?
That’s easy and it’s pretty much down to your skin type.
Normal and combination skin types should exfoliate once or twice a week, and if you’re oilier or are a normal/combo experiencing more oil than usual try three times a week.
Dry or sensitive skin types should aim for once a week. If you have acne-prone skin you should take it easy and aim the same.
It’s important to note that if you have visibly red, irritated whiteheads or cystic-type acne you should avoid using a manual exfoliator and help unclog your pores using a chemical type that will gently release the plugs and their contents.
Helpful do’s and don’ts of exfoliation
Do – Exfoliate before shaving
This helps rid the face from build-up for a closer shave and lifts the beard hairs for a cleaner cut with the razor. You’ll keep your razor sharper too when it isn’t cutting across a swathe of blade-dulling dead cells.
Do – Stick to a schedule for exfoliation
Keep your regime on point and your sloughing days on a schedule so you aren’t overdoing it. A regular cycle of dead cell removal for a consistent skin look and feel is best.
Don’t – Over-exfoliate
Resist the temptation to use your scrub more than three times per week. If you do you can remove too many cell layers which is counterproductive and can increase sebum production resulting in oilier, slicker skin or for drier types flaking from removing the moisture barrier. Gently does it!
Don’t – Scrub too vigorously
Let the ingredients and the particles do the work for you. Anything too aggressive or with too much pressure will only result in sore, red skin. Never a good look.
Don’t – Scrub skin with active acne or that is irritated
As we mentioned earlier, active acne should not have an abrasive type of exfoliation action as it can open the pimples which will spread bacteria around.
You should be able to see now why the benefits of exfoliation make it a bonafide staple in any skincare routine. It can be the single most impactful product to the appearance of skin and gives that glow you just can’t replicate with a simple face wash or a moisturizer.
Whether you prefer to be clean-shaven or sport a beard of epic proportions, exfoliation is a must! Trust it to keep ingrown hairs at bay, beard dandruff from forming, and pores scrupulously clean and clear. Throw in the added bonus of softening fine lines and a glow that says you care about your skin and what’s not to like?
Become a dead-cell removing machine in an instant using True Grit Detox Face Scrub by Jesse Jimz and never have a dull moment again.