How to Apply a Daily Chemical Exfoliant
How to Apply a Daily Chemical Exfoliant
by Wendy Ouriel
As discussed in my previous post, exfoliating your skin daily with a AHA/BHA/PHA chemical exfoliant is one of the most powerful measures in your anti-aging skin care regimen. In addition to promoting skin cell turnover, exfoliation promotes collagen growth, smoothes out fine lines, and can help alleviate the symptoms and appearance of acne.
Since daily chemical exfoliation is paramount for proper skin care, you need to make certain that you are applying it correctly, otherwise you may not experience the optimal benefits.
In this tutorial I will be using OUMERE's No. 9 daily chemical exfoliant as my reference product. I recommend starting out with a once daily chemical exfoliation in the morning, and you can work your way up to twice daily if your skin requires.
The best candidates for those requiring twice daily exfoliation are people over the age of 40 who have begun to see a loss of plumpness in the skin, along with overall dullness and dryness. I also recommend twice daily exfoliation for those with bacterial (not cystic) acne. However, for those with acne, be sure to slowly work your way up to a twice daily exfoliation. I say work your way up because skin with acne is already inflamed and sensitive, and overdoing it with exfoliation could make the problem worse.
Step 1: Prep.
In the morning, if you choose to wash your face, be certain that you are using a cleanser that is oil-based, fragrance and essential oil free. Fragrance/essential oils are irritating to the skin, and oil-based cleansers won't strip your skin of their natural oils, and tend to be more pH-balanced than non-oil based cleansers. It's important to choose a cleanser that won't strip your skin of its natural oils or have a pH that is too high (alkaline) because your skin's natural pH balance can get disrupted by harsh, overly drying cleansers.
How do you know if your cleanser is too harsh? If your cleanser leaves your skin feeling dry, tight, or "squeaky clean," it is too harsh. Your skin has what is known as an "acid mantle," and harsh cleansers are too alkaline, which disrupt the acid mantle, causing increased skin sensitivity. The pH of healthy skin is about 4.5-5.5, and I recommend a cleanser that is between a pH of 5-6
- Harsh face wash ingredients to avoid: sulfates, sulfites, sodium lauroyl isethionate, sodium isethionate, sodium stearate, sodium cocoate/sodium palm kernelate, tetrasodium EDTA, tetrasodium Etidronate
When you have the right cleanser, gently massage the cleanser into the skin, rinse with cool (not warm or hot) water, and blot dry with a clean towel.
Step 2: Test and Dilute.
You can skip this step if you have used No.9 before. However, if this is your first time, it is necessary to do a patch test first before applying to your face to ensure that your skin does not have an adverse reaction to the product.
The patch test should be done on the wrist. Place a few drops of No. 9 onto a cotton pad and dab onto wrist. Wait at least an hour and examine skin for redness or irritation. For sensitive skin do another patch text on skin below the ear.
For those with sensitive skin, acne, and those who have never chemically exfoliated (or haven't done so for a month or more) I recommend diluting the exfoliant at first. Use equal parts water to exfoliant (so if you use 20 drops of No. 9, add 20 drops of water). After a week, you can lessen the amount of dilution, and continue the process until you are using 100% chemical exfoliant. Here is a month-long dilution routine that will prep your skin for 100% No. 9
Week 1: 15 drops No. 9, 15 drops water
Week 2: 15 drops No. 9, 10 drops water
Week 3: 15 drops No. 9, 10 drops water
Week 4: 20 drops No. 9, 5 drops water
After the 4th week, your skin should be ready for 100% of the No. 9 chemical exfoliant, however you may continue to dilute the product if you desire.
Step 3: Apply
Add several drops of No. 9 (at least 15 drops) to a cotton pad
Dab (don't rub) onto face starting at the jawline, then move to the cheeks, forehead, nose, brow bone, mouth area and chin. Be careful to not get product into eyes, and if contact occurs flush eyes with plenty of water for several minutes.
You can also apply more No. 9 to neck and décolleté for added anti-aging benefits.
Step 4: Wait
Chemical exfoliation requires time to work, and the longer you wait before applying additional products, the more effective the exfoliation. Chemical exfoliants work for up to 30 minutes, and after 30 minutes your skin naturally balance's out the acidity of the chemical exfoliant, and exfoliation ceases. If you apply products (such as serums or moisturizers) before 30 minutes, you will neutralize the exfoliant, causing it to stop working prematurely. Neutralizing the exfoliant prematurely is ok when you are first using No.9 because 30 minutes of exfoliation may be too much for unaccustomed skin. However, after using No. 9 for a month, you should try and leave the exfoliant on your skin as long as possible to achieve the maximum anti-aging benefits.
Step 5: Continue with Skin Care Regimen
No. 9, unlike other chemical exfoliants should not be washed off because it naturally stops exfoliating after 30 minutes, and contains beneficial anti-inflammatory extracts and antioxidants which should remain on the skin for skin health benefits
After 30 minutes (or sooner if your skin is not prepared for full exfoliation just yet), your skin has had its dead cells removed, and fresh skin cells are on the surface ready to absorb additional skin care products. I recommend using OUMERE's Serum Bioluminelle next because the ingredients within the serum will be readily absorbed into your skin after exfoliation, leading to more effective anti-aging effects.