Gentle Exfoliator for the Face x 3

If you've never exfoliated your face, you're in for a treat. Regular exfoliation removes dead cells leaving skin looking more refined and feeling smoother to the touch. It allows skincare products to absorb and function more effectively, encourages cell renewal and even helps make up sit nicely on the skin. It's also easy to get wrong, either by aggravating skin with harsh, scratchy products or overusing acids that some skin types can't tolerate.

There's been talk of over exfoliating in the beauty industry recently - and when two skincare experts suggested I may be guilty, I sat up and took notice. For as long as I can remember I've been plagued with under skin bumps, so while my skin may look ok in certain lights, little pin prick sized bumps are visible on closer observation (and really bug me). I assumed that exfoliating would help reduce these - and at times it did temporarily - but I decided to ease off and see what happened. NB I also have quite sensitive skin and am prone to flare-ups of rosacea.

So I've cut right back on exfoliation (for now) restricting use to 2-3 times a week, with a mix of acids (separate post on my favourites?) and a super gentle physical exfoliant. Today I'm sharing my top 3 gentle physical exfoliators for the face - ie the kind that have (very) fine grains.

Dermalogica Superfoliant
This active powder resurfacer addresses the effects of ageing and pollution on the skin. Mixed with a little water in the palm, it becomes a mousse-like paste that is massaged into the face and immediately rinsed off. The ingredients - which activate on contact with water - include AHAs, purifying charcoal (it's grey!), niacinamide, red algae and fruit acids. According to directions, this is gentle enough to be used daily or on alternate days for sensitive skin (I use it less often). Daily Superfoliant is a pleasure to use and I particularly enjoy this one as an extra step after cleansing off heavier than usual evening make up, followed by my regular serum/oil and moisturiser.

Image Iluma Intense Brightening Exfoliating Powder
Image polishing powder contains natural botanicals, antioxidants and pumpkin enzymes to remove impurities and leave skin looking more radiant. Protein peptides with lactic acid help correct uneven skintone while liquorice extract brightens. I've only been using this one for a couple of weeks, so am hoping it helps reduce a couple of pigmentation marks over time. Initial impressions are good... of the three, it feels the most gentle on my skin, is softening and feels luxurious to use. Activated with water and massaged into the face, it has a surprisingly sweet scent, which I'm guessing is from the coconut milk powder. I've had great results with several products I've tried from this professional, salon-only brand, especially the Vital C range (T 0345 504 0461 for stockists).

Pixi Peel & Polish
This has been a regular part of my routine for quite a while now and I'll often use it before a special occasion to brighten my skin without irritation... I find make up applies particularly well afterwards. Described as a resurfacing concentrate, this cooling peachy gel is applied to dry skin like a mini mask for a few minutes before rinsing off... and can be massaged in pre-rinsing for extra exfoliation. Active ingredients include gently exfoliating lactic acid and natural fruit enzymes, cellulose and sugar extracts... it tingles slightly on my skin but not at all uncomfortably so. NB this tube was originally vintage pink... mine has faded from sitting on the bathroom windowsill, my bad but it looked so pretty!

All three of these products have micro-fine grains, almost dust-like fine - and do not irritate my skin. I also use them on my neck and decolletage, where I find coarser body scrubs too harsh. Decreasing exfoliation does seem to have calmed my skin - and somewhat ironically, improved its texture. I'm not where I want to be just yet, but it's a definite start. I previously used acids twice daily, so this has been quite a jump. I may go back to once daily but think twice is too much for me personally... there's no right or wrong here, so if it's working for you, keep going!

I'd love to know your experiences of exfoliation and which products you prefer to use. 

PS The candle in the pic is Garden by Field Day and reminds me of freshly picked tomatoes, a beautiful day time scent!

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