How to Choose the Right Exfoliating Pad
Skincare is for everyone, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to it. As mentioned, exfoliating pads come in a wide array of solutions and concentrations, which are made for different skin types and conditions. Needless to say, not every exfoliating pad out there will work for you. But you don’t need to worry.
Below, you will learn how to choose the most appropriate exfoliating pad for your skin.
Determine your skin type
Two people can have very different skin types and skin conditions, and you might find that the products that a friend swears by don’t work for you. So, whenever you’re looking for a new exfoliating pad, you should always put your skin first.
If your face feels firm and you barely experience breakouts, you probably have normal skin. That means your skin is neither dry nor oily. You also don’t experience stinging or burning sensations while using regular products. On the other hand, if you have dry skin, you’re usually concerned with sensitivity and itchiness. To make up for your skin’s lack of oil, you’ll need pads that hydrate and seal moisture in your skin.
Oily skin makes your skin shine and look greasy, so you can easily tell if you have this skin type. However, if only your T-zone area is oily, you most likely have combination skin. This condition means that your skin is only shiny from your forehead down to your chin, while the rest of your face is either dry or normal.
Whether your face is dry or oily, you could still be prone to acne. Your pores easily get clogged up, leading to blackheads, whiteheads, and other pustules. In this case, you’ll need exfoliating acne pads. They are formulated to clear acne and reduce breakouts.
Synthetic fragrances or alcohol will irritate sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, don’t use cosmetics or skincare products with fragrances, alcohol, witch hazel, and silicones, among others. Using these products on your skin will sting, burn, or turn your skin red. If this happens, you could also suffer acne breakouts.
Choose between AHAs and BHAs
Alpha hydroxy acids and Beta hydroxy acids are some of the most common types of chemical exfoliants on the market. These are very effective, but they’re also used differently. To get the skin you want, you should know if you need AHA or BHA.
What Are AHAs?
AHAs come from natural substances such as fruits, milk, and sugarcane. They can remove dead skin from the surface, revealing new and evenly pigmented skin cells. AHAs are ideal for treating fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tones.
Although AHAs tend to be marketed for all skin types, they’re actually not suitable for people with dehydrated and sensitive skin because they can cause irritation. AHAs also make you more susceptible to sun damage. So if you exfoliate with AHAs, you should never skip your sunscreen, even if you’re indoors.
You shouldn’t apply AHAs every day. Start slow by using them every other day until your skin gets used to them.
What Are BHAs?
BHAs can give your pores a deep cleanse. They can remove dirt and slow down oil production. Unlike AHAs, they can even get rid of excess sebum, which clogs your pores. Also, you can apply BHAs daily. However, like AHAs, you should start slow by using them every other day until your facial skin gets accustomed to them. By starting slow, you can prevent irritation and inflammation.
BHAs can address various skin concerns, including acne. Use BHAs for your skin if you are prone to acne. However, you might experience purging before you see actual results. The same goes if you have oily skin. BHAs can keep your oil glands from producing excess sebum.
Now, can you use them together?
Some exfoliating pads contain a cocktail of AHA and BHA ingredients. They are formulated to treat different skin concerns at the same time. If you’re concerned with pigmentation, for example, you can use a formula with AHA and BHA.
Consider the products you're already using
There is such a thing as over-exfoliation. One of its causes is mixing skincare ingredients that don’t go together. Take retinol for example. Retinol reduces the signs of aging and addresses hyperpigmentation, giving you a vibrant and smooth complexion. However, it doesn’t go well with acidic ingredients such as AHAs and BHAs. If used together, these exfoliants increase the sensitivity of your skin, making it look and feel inflamed and irritated.
There is, however, an exception. With the recommendation of skincare professionals, you can use retinol and hydroxy acids to treat acne.
If you’re using benzoyl peroxide to treat your acne, you might want to reconsider using chemical exfoliants. They increase skin irritation, making your face red and flaky. If you really want to use both, you can try using them on alternating days. For instance, you can exfoliate once or twice a week and use benzoyl peroxide every other day.
Over-exfoliation can worsen your acne breakouts. Hence, always be careful with the products that you put on your face.
Choose the right concentration
Exfoliating pads have various concentrations of serums and other active ingredients. Salicylic acid, for instance, is a type of BHA you’ll often see in pads with concentrations of up to 2%. On the other hand, glycolic acid usually has a concentration of 14% or less. But some products carry up to 30% of this AHA.
Choose the right concentration that matches your skin. After all, you want to get your desired results while keeping your skin safe. Aside from your skin type, you should consider your usage habits. How many times a week do you usually exfoliate?
Take note that your product use should decrease as the concentration increases. More importantly, you should remember to wear SPF sunscreen after exfoliating to protect your sensitive skin from the sun.
Over-exfoliation makes your skin susceptible to the sun and dirt. Dry and flaky skin that you could peel off is one of the tell-tale signs that you are overdoing it. Tightness is another. Instead of stimulating collagen production, you can end up doing the opposite, removing much-needed elastin and collagen from your skin. Without elastin and collagen, your skin would feel tight.
If you notice any of these symptoms after using your exfoliating pads, you should start rethinking your skincare routine. Take a closer look at the ingredients you’re using. Perhaps you shouldn’t be using them together. Also, reconsider your exfoliating habits. Maybe you’re better off exfoliating once or twice a week rather than every day.