How to remove dead skin from the face
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How to remove dead skin from the face

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How to remove dead skin from the face


The skin naturally renews itself every 30 days or so. This process happens when the outer layer of the skin, or epidermis, sheds dead cells and replaces them with new ones.


Dead skin cells shed through normal daily activities, such as pulling clothes on and off. A person is unaware when old skin cells fall off throughout the day.


Exfoliation is when a person gets rid of these dead skin cells from the top layer of skin more quickly. However, people must take great care when using an exfoliant to do this, as these products can easily damage or irritate the skin.


In this article, we look at the different ways to exfoliate the skin on the face, taking skin type into consideration. We also look at what to avoid as the skin is more delicate on the face than on some other areas of the body.


How to exfoliate the face

A person can use a natural sponge to exfoliate the face.

If someone wishes to exfoliate their face, there are a number of steps they should take:


Use gentle methods specifically for the face.

Avoid the delicate skin around the eyes and on the lips.

Make sure that the face is always clean before exfoliating.

Exfoliate the skin either manually or chemically.

Manual exfoliation

Manual exfoliation involves using a tool or scrub to remove dead skin cells from the face physically.


Chemical exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation involves using a mild acid to dissolve dead skin cells.


Most products marketed for use on the face contain low levels of chemical exfoliants, so they are safe for use by the majority of people.


Chemical exfoliants may not be suitable for those with sensitive or dry skin, as they can cause dryness or irritation.


For any chemical exfoliation, building up use gradually can help prevent skin irritation.


People should not use chemical exfoliants more than once per week initially. A dermatologist can advise on use and choosing the right product.


The most common types of chemical exfoliants are:


alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)

beta hydroxy acid (BHA)


It is advisable not to use AHAs, BHAs, and retinol together as they will be too harsh on the skin.


Forms of exfoliants

Below, we list the various exfoliants that may be options.



1. Washcloth


Using a washcloth is a good option for those with more sensitive skin.


Take an ordinary washcloth and moisten with warm water, then use this to rub the skin gently in small circles.


Cleansing the face before exfoliating may also be beneficial as this opens up the skin’s pores.


2. Natural sponge


A natural sponge can work well to get rid of dead skin cells on the face.


Wet and wring out the sponge, then use small circular movements to exfoliate the face.


Try not to put too much pressure on the skin, as this can cause irritation. Light strokes should easily get rid of dead skin cells, as they are no longer firmly attached to the surface.


3. Face scrub


Exfoliating scrubs are a popular way to get rid of dead skin cells from the face. However, they can damage the skin as the ingredients may cause micro tears or irritation.


Avoid products that contain hard bits that do not dissolve, such as nutshell.


Scrubs that manufacturers have made from salt or sugar dissolve easily and are gentle on the skin. However, people should still only use them with caution and no more than once per week. They are generally not suitable for people with sensitive or dry skin.


As an alternative to buying commercial face scrubs, a person may want to make their own at home, such as a sugar or oatmeal scrub. Again, they should only apply these to the face once a week.



4. AHAs


AHAs work by dissolving the top layer of skin to reveal new skin cells underneath.


Use AHAs to make pores appear smaller or to lessen the appearance of fine lines.


Glycolic acid is the most common AHA.


5. BHAs


BHAs penetrate the pores to unclog them and are more suited to oily and combination skin types.


Salicylic acid is the most common BHA, and medical professionals use these to treat acne.


6. Retinol


Retinol is a form of vitamin A that people use for skin care. It is a powerful chemical exfoliant that a person can apply to treat acne.


Retinol can cause inflammation, so those with eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea may wish to avoid using it.