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Exfoliation 101

Learn about the different types of exfoliation, how often to do it, and how to save your skin if you over do it.

Barefaced Glow Peel Pads

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Barefaced Glow Peel Pads
Barefaced Glow Peel Pads: your at-home chemical peel

Why Everyone Should Exfoliate

Long gone are the days of the basic girl’s apricot scrub (the grip that had on us in the early 2000s!) but–exfoliation is still very important.

As we age, our skin's natural ability to exfoliate, or shed dead skin cells, begins to decline. Not only does exfoliating help your skin "breathe" better, it also:

    • Helps your other products work better
    • Prevents clogged pores
    • Smooths uneven skin texture
    • Reveals new, vibrant skin
    • Minimizes fine lines 


Two Types of Exfoliation

There are two ways to help your skin remove dead cells: physically and chemically. We love gentle chemical exfoliants, which are considered gentler than physical exfoliants (scrubs) and the acids in chemical exfoliants penetrate deeper in the skin making them more effective!


Physical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliants are abrasives designed to mechanically or manually scrape away dead skin cells, like granular scrubs, brushes, cloths, etc.

These can damage the skin barrier if too much pressure is applied, so make sure to use gentle circles with the product on your face, and avoid harsh scrubbing or rubbing vigorously. Use the same gentle pressure when exfoliating your body with dry brushes or granular scrubs. We recommended only using 1-2x per week, max.

      • From our shop: Revision Finishing Touch, which uses Polynesian volcanic black sand and ultra-fine pumice to exfoliate dead skin.


Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), various acids designed to dissolve dead skin cells by gently loosening the bonds between them.

Because acids are not as grinding on the skin barrier, they can be used up to 1-2x daily as tolerated.

Acids are still a potent active ingredient, though, so always introduce them gradually! Read our Barefaced Pads Breakdown for more information on how to do that properly.

Acids to use if you have... Infographic 


Regular exfoliation may leave your skin feeling tingly or with a mild burning sensation, but these side effects shouldn’t last more than a couple of seconds. If you do feel lingering irritation after 5-10 seconds when using chemical exfoliants like Toning Pads or Glow Peel Pads, rinse your face with cool water. There is an entirely different category called over over-exfoliation and this means a damaged skin barrier.


Signs you might have over-exfoliated:

    • lingering redness
    • dryness
    • inflammation
    • irritation

This type of damage can be caused by mechanically exfoliating daily instead of weekly, scrubbing too hard, or using acids thats are too strong for your skin type. For example, we recommend Glow Peel pads 1-3x weekly–if using them once is all you can tolerate, listen to your skin!


How to repair and nourish the skin after over-exfoliating:

    • Switch to a gentle or mild cleanser, like Papaya Enzyme Cleanser
    • Cut back on acids and/or retinoids for the time being, lessen or stop altogether while your skin heals
    • Keep using Liquid Gold as antioxidants vitamin C and E help heal the skin
    • Moisturize daily (or even twice daily!) to help draw in and retain water
    • Use a serum like Overachiever to soothe redness and inflammation and strengthen the lipids in your moisture barrier


Exfoliating From Head to Toe

Unlike their lesser recommended use for the face, neck and chest, Glow Peel Pads are ah-mazing for exfoliation on the body and can be used there daily since the skin is thicker and less sensitive. Use GPP on:

  • ARMS for KP bumps, breakouts, and dark spots.
  • UPPER BACK/SHOULDERS think where your sports bras typically lay, trapping sweat and bacteria and causing body breakouts.
  • UNDERARMS the fancy way of saying use them on your armpits to help exfoliate away any surface debris trapping smelly stuff in those pores.
  • BIKINI area for ingrown hairs.
  • HEELS where the skin gets hard, dry, cracked and flaky in between pedicures.
  • LIPS to help prevent & correct chapped lips. Don’t use Toning Pads (II) because the salicylic acid in them can be drying to the lips, the glycolic acid in GPP is key! Swipe a pad gently across your lips to help remove the dead, flaking skin cells that are desperately trying to hang on. Next, apply moisturizer, like Hydrating Lotion, to deeply hydrate. Finally, add an occlusive barrier on top, like Vaseline or Aquaphor, to keep the moisture and water molecules locked underneath. **Do this only 1-2x a week so the acids are not overly drying to the thin skin on the lips.

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