The Right Way to Cleanse Your Skin

Sometimes a girl just needs a good scrub. On any given day your face is battling natural factors like oil and pollution, not to mention challenges you may be imposing on yourself like heavy, pore-clogging makeup and a poor diet. Here’s how to keep your face feeling fresh (without irritating your skin) on days when a simple cleanse just won’t do it.

Dull skin, meet exfoliation. Your new BFF.

There’s nothing quite like the way your face feels after a good scrub. Exfoliation removes dirt and oil like a regular cleanser, but also removes dead skin cells that can clog pores. Keep exfoliation to two to three times a week.

But good exfoliation is not to be confused with scrubbing your face raw. Your face can be irritated easily if you are using a product that’s too harsh, especially if you have sensitive skin. The method is really a matter of preference: you can choose an exfoliating cleanser with beads or crystals in the formula, or apply a regular cleanser to a washcloth to remove dead skin cells. The key is not to apply too much pressure. It’s tempting to scrub hard for smoother skin, but you can tear or tug skin, creating wrinkles and lines. Scrub in a circular motion to avoid tugging skin, and use the same light pressure as regular cleansing.

Get Clear Pores

Pore strips go a little deeper than exfoliation to literally extract blackheads from your nose and chin, and should be a once-a-week treat. Blackheads occur when sebum (or oil, which our face produces naturally) and dead skin cells get trapped in pores. When the pores try to push out the offending clogging substance, the bacteria’s reaction to oxygen turns them black.

Pore strips have an adhesive on a piece of material that is sticky when wet but dries once it has been applied to your face. When the substance dries, the blackheads become glued to it. So when the hard, plaster-like material is pulled off, all the nasty goes with it. Pore strips can’t prevent blackheads, but they can improve the appearance by removing some.

Go for a Peel

Face peels are similar to pore strips in that they pull pore-clogging dirt, oil and dead skin cells from your face. But instead of a quick, waxing-type motion, it’s a chemical cleansing process that turns the cleanser you apply into a film that can be peeled off. Like pore strips or anything cleansing that involves peeling or pulling, face peels should be used in moderation.

The best face peels contain fruit acids like lactic acid, alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids, or AHAs and BHAs. Two of the most popular AHA-rich fruits are papaya and pineapple. Both fruits contain enzymes that will help scrub off dead skin and help boost collagen production. Translation: Not only will pineapple and papaya help exfoliate, they’ll help your skin look renewed and plumped-up.

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Tags: Beauty, blackheads, cleansers, dead skin cells, exfoliation, face, face peels, oily skin, pollution, pore strips, Sarah Robinson, sensitive skin

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