Over the weekend I published a blog post on my skin treatments website about the importance of using Skin-Function Friendly Exfoliators i.e. exfoliators that support your skins natural desquamation process rather than anything too harsh or aggressive that would cause irritation or inflame the skin, like apricot scrubs for example *shudders*.
Whilst I'm an acid and enzyme kinda guy, I do appreciate that many people still prefer manual scrubs because some people a) are fearful of anything that contains the word "acid" (you needn't be!) and b) just like the feeling of a manual scrub against the skin.
The key is the type of manual exfoliant and how often. Remember anything too aggressive, coarse or harsh is seriously going to impact the skin barrier function. Which over time will leave the skin unhealthy and unable to protect itself.
Powder-based exfoliants are a great alternative to traditional scrubs. Not only are they gentler on the skin, they generally contain some form of AHA, BHA or enzymes. So you get the best of both worlds, a hybrid between chemical and manual exfoliation if you will. Plus, because the ingredients are stored in powder form, it means there is generally less need for preservatives and the active ingredients remain active!
Like any exfoliation though, they should still be used in moderation. Around once to three times a week, depending on your skin (despite what the manufacturers may say!).
They can be mixed with water or a cleanser of your choice. They generally have some form of foaming agent for addition cleansing power while they polish.
Here are 3 powder exfoliators you should all be trying (in order of price).
Indeed Labs Facial Powdered Exfoliator 75g - £18.99
A combination of Bamboo Powder, Rice Bran Powder, Red Algae, Hyaluronic Acid and Bromelain. Provides physical polishing and enzyme exfoliation. The addition of the Red Algae for a natural polysaccharide for barrier function support. They recommend using daily, however I'd limit to 1-3 time a week.
Available from Boots.
CosMedix Purity Detox Scrub 90g - £37.81
This is the one I personally use and also use in my facials. A combination of milled Yellow Corn Meal and Date Seeds, whole Poppy Seeds and Jojoba Beads / Esters plus Salicylic Acid.
The addition of Salicylic Acid makes it a better option for congestion. What's unique about this powdered exfoliator is the different sized grains to add a multi-layered polish and scrub aspect to the treatment.
Available from Medico Beauty.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant 75g - £41.30
The first powdered exfoliator I tried and probably the most well known. Similar ingredients and consistency to the Indeeds Lab version, being mainly Rice Bran based with an enzyme but with the addition of Salicylic Acid. Again, despite the name, I wouldn't recommend using it daily! As with any exfoliator you can over-exfoliate the skin and make it sensitised. 2-3 times a week is plenty.
Available from Dermalogica.