Exfoliating: Basic but Crucial Skincare Step

Welcome back to Life with Pris Wong!

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This week we discuss all things exfoliation! Why you need to exfoliate, the benefits you didn’t know of, what to look out for, and my top favourite exfoliators out there! So let’s dive right in!

Why Exfoliate?

To simplify, we exfoliate because we want to get rid of the dead skin cells. Exfoliating is just ONE step in achieving the healthy, youthful, radiant glow we all aim to achieve in our skin. There are many other steps and tips to further achieve this, in which you can check out my other blog posts for in depth product reviews.

Exfoliating is my favourite step in my skincare routine because there are days I feel I need a good scrub, where I feel “extra gross” and just want to scrub it all away. Regularly exfoliating increases the skin’s radiance, clarity and youthfulness. Exfoliating is great because there are different types of exfoliating. We have different physical exfoliators, and we have chemical ones too.

Exfoliation is a key step, it gets rid of the dead and dry skin. But, even if you don’t necessarily have dry skin, there’s a lot of reasons why you should be exfoliating.

Benefits Of Exfoliating

It Unclogs Your Pores

By exfoliating, you’re effectively unclogging your pores. You are getting rid of that dead, dry skin, along with other surface debris that may remain after you cleanse. By unclogging your pores, you’re stopping any excess debris from getting into your pores which may result in whiteheads, blackheads, and possibly pimples in the long-run. Blackheads and whiteheads are the two most common skin issues as to why exfoliating is so important. Those who suffer from blackheads understand! Blackheads take TIME for it to reach surface, and you should be going to a professional to remove them.

“Dead skin seals the pores, so when sebaceous glands produce oil, it’s ‘stuck’ under the dry skin. This causes breakouts because there is nowhere for the oil to go,” explains celebrity esthetician and skin expert, Sonya Dakar.

It Prevents Acne

As previously noted, by exfoliating you get rid of the blackheads and whiteheads that can potentially form from any debris you might not get from cleansing. It is recommended that you exfoliate in a safe and nonirritating way. By scrubbing the skin raw to prevent acne, you are potentially harming your skin and leading it towards other problems.

Use a physical exfoliant, that is, something that contains small grains. These physical exfoliants are used once or twice a week, at most.

Gentle chemical exfoliants may be used, but depending on its strength. For more information about chemical exfoliants, you should always do your research, or consult in a professional!

It Helps Other Skincare Products Work Better

Since your pores are unclogged at this point, the surface of the skin is smooth and rid of any dead, dry skin, or any debris. Therefore, the other skincare products in which you should be following with, are able to penetrate deeper into the layers of your skin. Exfoliating helps the serums, essences, moisturizers, and so on to penetrate deeper into the skin, which will work more effectively. Exfoliating will put all the money you spent on your skincare products to good use! This is a crucial step in seeing how well your skin can achieve it’s healthy glow!

Dakar notes that “dead skin basically becomes a barrier between your skin and serums. By removing it you allow everything to work better.”

It Evens Skin Tone

Those that suffer from uneven skin tone, such as dark spots, rough texture, hyper pigmentation, and acne scarring will understand how frustrating it can be. I get it, I have a bunch of acne scarring along my chin, between my eyebrows, and even on my nose. Because exfoliating breaks down the skin, it smooths the skin’s texture, meaning over time, the skin will appear to look even overtime. To further help these issues, you can use products that have the following factors:

  • brightening
  • collagen
  • anti-aging

It Boosts Circulation and Lymphatic Drainage

One of the many benefits of exfoliation: stimulation of lymphatic drainage for internal cleansing, and stimulation of oxygen-rich blood to feed and nourish the skin’s surface. The former, is a way to detoxify the skin, working to remove any toxins and unhealthy debris. The latter, boosts cellular growth to reveal healthy, radiant skin.

It Increases Cell Turnover

Exfoliating boosts the skin’s radiance by helping cell turnover, which ultimately is what’s needed for that glow. This means that the skin stays fresh with healthy cells at the surface, and you’re removing dead, dry or dying ones (if you didn’t pick that up already from this post). With cell turnover, you will achieve a dewy, baby faced complexion that we all aim for. Great way to speed up cell turnover are at home peels.

Stimulates Collagen

As you already read, exfoliating boosts circulation, lymphatic drainage, and cell turnover. This also means that regular exfoliation stimulates collagen synthesis which helps the skin’s texture and integrity. The skin will look plump, tight and young, therefore it’s an anti-aging benefit.

What To Look For In An Exfoliating Product

Physical vs Chemical Exfoliants

Physical Exfoliants instantly smooth the skin by treating the visible layers of skin, requiring interaction and a level of abrasion. Physical exfoliating products include facial scrubs, facial brushes and konjac sponges.

Chemical Exfoliants treat both the visible and the deeper layers of the skin. After chemical exfoliants are applied, they are left alone and require minimal interaction. With regular uses, the effects build and increase the skin’s natural rate of exfoliation. Chemical exfoliants also provide antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and collagen boosting benefits. Chemical exfoliating products include exfoliating toners, Salicylic acid masks, glycolic acid moisturizers, and chemical peels and exfoliating cleansers.

By Skin Type

Normal Skin: gentle physical exfoliants, as well as chemical exfoliants like Glycolic Acid and Enzymes. These are great for getting rid of dead skin cells away from the top layer of the skin.

Dry Skin: those with dry skin respond well to chemical exfoliants like Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid, which work to boost moisture and improve skin tone. On the other hand, chemical exfoliants like Salicylic acid will have a drying effect on dry skin.

Sensitive Skin: sensitive skin types respond well to Lactic Acid, as it is gentler than other chemical exfoliants. If you have sensitive skin, avoid Glycolic Acid and physical exfoliants, which can easily trigger irritation.

Oily/Combination Skin: those with this skin type are prone to acne and blackheads due to the overproduction of sebum. This means they can use something a little hardcore like Salicylic Acid and/or physical scrubs to exfoliate the skin

Mature Skin: those with this skin type are able to use a variety of exfoliants that work to fight pigmentation, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. This means you can use a combination of physical and chemical exfoliants several times a week

Based on Concentration

Each exfoliant has a strength, even the physical ones. As noted, if you have sensitive skin, you want a mild product. Maturing skin is more tolerant, therefore using a variety of physical and chemical exfoliants won’t harm the skin.

As Adore Beauty notes, concentration is based off of two factors:

  • Type of Exfoliant
  • Your Application (how much product you use, how vigorously you scrub, etc.)

Chemical Exfoliants

  • Salicylic Acid: can be found in strengths up to 2%. At this level, the Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are able to penetrate the skin deeply
  • Glycolic Acid: can be found up to 30%, but most commonly 14% or less. At this level, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), like Glycolic Acid, works by clearing the surface and improve acne scarring.

Now that I’ve given you a run down on all this exfoliating, here are my top favourite exfoliating products you can purchase. It should be noted that this list does not include any DIY masks with household ingredients. You are welcome check my previous blog post for ideas though!


I have two microdermabrasions and two liquid peel exfoliators. Microdermabrasions tend to be finer and contain more of that grainy texture, which means they will be slightly harsher on the skin. These textures are meant for those with normal, dry skin, mature or oily/combination skin. If you have sensitive skin, I would avoid this, but you can always sample this first! Liquid peel exfoliators are gentle, perfect for light exfoliating and those with sensitive and dry skin.

Note: You should always protect your skin following a microdermabrasion treatment with a UVA/UVB sunscreen of SPF 15 or great.

Vitamin C Glow Boosting Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Face Scrub



Credit: The Body Shop
Credit: The Body Shop

Credit: The Body Shop


This Vitamin C Microdermabrasion contains fine exfoliating micro particles and crushed garnet stones. It’s used to remove the dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, more radiant complexion.

Product Details

  • Refreshes dull, tired, grumpy skin by adding Vitamin C to your skincare routine
  • Contains Amazonian camu camu berry, known to have one of the highest contents of vitamin C
  • Vitamin C, an antioxidant, encourages production of collagen, improves elasticity and protects against damaging environmental aggressors
  • Contains Community Trade shea butter to soften and refine skin

To Purchase, Click Here

Keihl’s Re Texturizing Micro-Dermbrasion



Credit: Kiehl’s
Credit: Kiehl’s

Credit: Kiehl’s

(via Kiehl’s.ca)

  • Affords an immediate skin-smoothing effect and with regular, tri-weekly use, helps to visibly minimize discolorations and small marks on face, hands, and décolleté
  • Over time, the look of facial lines is reduced and skin texture is significantly smoother and clearer, while the appearance of pore size is diminished
  • Helps to facilitate the absorption of topical skin treatments to maximize their efficacy


Willow Herb: derived from fireweed or willow herb plant. Known to have anti-microbial and soothing properties for the skin

To Purchase, Click Here.

Drops of Youth Youth Liquid Face Peel



Credit: The Body Shop
Credit: The Body Shop

Credit: The Body Shop

The Drops of Youth Youth Liquid Peel gently exfoliates and gently peels off impurities from your skin, lifting the dead skin cells and residuals. Infused with a blend of three plant stem cells, this gel-to-peel leaves the skin feeling clean and purified from the day’s pollutants. Continued use leaves skin fresh, smoother, and more luminous youthful looking skin.


  • 100% vegetarian
  • 3 plant stem cells: edelweiss from the Italian Alps, criste marine and sea holly from the Brittany Coast
  • instantly feels like dead skin cells are lifted
  • dermatologically tested

To Purchase, Click Here




Credit: Face Shop/Nature Collection
Credit: Face Shop/Nature Collection

Credit: Face Shop/Nature Collection

An exfoliator with natural papaya enzymes and hyaluronic acid. This gentle formula works to smooth and enrich the skin with moisture while removing any dead or dying skin cells. It efficiently removes impurities and unclogs pores.

Product Details
via FaceShop.com)

  • Smart Peeling Mild Papaya efficiently removes impurities and dead skin cells that clog pores.
  • Soft Exfoliation + Moisturize.
  • Minimizes irritation with 5 free formula (Free from paraben, alcohol, animal ingredients, mineral oil, artificial coloring).
  • Ideal for all skin type (especially sensitive skin or thin skin).
  • Natural enzyme extracted from papaya softly absorbs dead skin cells.
  • Hyaluronic Acid creates a layer of moisture barrier, maintain smooth skin texture.
  • For skin calming and moisturizing ability.

To Purchase, Click Here.

In Conclusion

I should note that with exfoliating, you need to listen to your skin. If you are ever sensitive or red after exfoliation, reduce your frequency! Start by using a gentle exfoliant like a liquid peel, or a gentle cream exfoliant product, once a week. If your skin needs more, work your way up to exfoliants that are a little tougher. And always, remember to follow your skincare routine after exfoliating to help renew your skin’s barrier to ultimately achieve that beautiful glow! If you opt for a physical exfoliant like a scrub, aim to use tiny finely milled grains as they should not scratch or damage the skin.

There are many other ways in achieving healthy skin, and exfoliating is just one. Eat and drink your way to healthy skin! A lot of products are based around vitamins, so why not eat and drink them as well? All around benefits if you ingest the natural form of the vitamins and minerals.

That’s all folks! Thank you so much for tuning in to these week’s post. Hope you enjoyed this one! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, or if you have others you swear by, drop them down below! Maybe I’ll fall in love with others too!

As usual, these are all my own opinions. All information is sourced, and photos are credited. You’ll find me on socials! Stay tuned for next week’s post!

With love,

Pris Wong xo

Other Sources Used: https://www.eccotique.com/blogs/news/why-is-exfoliation-so-important-for-your-skin

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