I know we've all been on pins and needles...but no worries!
So about exfoliants-
These little boogers, if not used correctly, can cause some damage. There are two types of exfoliating ingredients- chemical and physical. Let me just make a note by saying that people LOVE their exfoliants, so much so that they use them every day. This is a problem. The most commonly used exfoliant used is a the physical scrub...to be specific it's a "fruit seed scrub" (name was concealed for those who might inbox me hate mail should I specifically name it) . (Using any type of product where you can physically feel scrubbing is considered a physical exfoliant) You are only meant to use a physical exfoliant one to two times a week. So you could be doing damage to your skin if you are overdoing it. Using it more than the designated time could compromise your barrier and allow dirt and debris to penetrate deeper AND allow moisture to escape PLUS cause sensitivities. Even then, I would only use a physical exfoliant if you are normal to oily skin. Dry skin could handle it but too dry could allow micro-incisions to worsen and take longer to heal. For oily skin types chemical exfoliants are fine but I would steer more towards a salicylic acid because it's a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and therefore is OIL-LOVING, meaning it's attracted to oil.
If you're a dry or sensitive skin type, chemical exfoliation might be more your style. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are considered chemical exfoliants because they dissolve the glue that holds keratin (aka skin cells) together. Once they are dissolved then skin cells can slough off. AHAs are WATER-LOVING meaning that they attract water and one of the common AHAs, lactic acid actually helps bind moisture to the skin. I can go on and on about these acids but I think that's going to be saved for another post.
Another alternative would be enzymes. Enzymes found in papaya and pineapple, for example, will actually "eat" superficial dead skin cells. This is going to be the best for sensitive skin types and for those who are contraindicated to other types of exfoliants.
Masks..dun dun dunnnnn!
These are the products most associated to your beauty and skin care regimens. When you see a chick flick, what's the most common night ritual you see them have? A bright green mask with cucumbers over their eyes. Ultimately, masks are customizable as well but you definately want to choose which one you use based on your skin type and possible challenges you might have. Clay and mud masks are setting masks. They dry and when you smile it cracks. This is what all setting masks do. Clay and mud masks are for detoxifying the skin and pulling out impurities from the skin. That being said, oily and acneic skin would benefit more from these types of masks. Non-setting masks are masks that do not harden and stay moist. These have different ingredients but are usually meant for my dry, aging, and prematurely aging skin because they are the types that need more moisture/hydration delivered into the skin. And what were the cucumbers for? They have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce puffy eyes and are very soothing.
This is looking more and more like it's going to have to be a trilogy post...oh well! The last three products coming up next!