16 Mistakes You’re Making When You Exfoliate

Exfoliating doesn’t seem like the most complicated of things. Creating the perfect fishtail braid or using liquid eyeliner are a lot more complicated. When it comes to exfoliating, you basically just grab a handful of a grainy scrub and start massaging it in, right?

I will say that is pretty much 90 percent of it, but there are little things that you should be doing to make sure you get the most of exfoliating. There are also some things you should not be doing because they can actually irritate your skin. And no one wants red, upset skin.

To ensure that you get flake-free skin without any negative reactions, here are 16 common exfoliation mistakes that you might be making.

1. Only using regular soap.



Your face and body wash are probably brilliant, but they cannot do it all. You need a proper scrub in your routine to ensure your skin stays flake-free.


2. Not doing it before you shave.



Are you prone to ingrown hairs? If so, try using a scrub before you shave. Exfoliating helps to reduce the likelihood of getting ingrown hairs. Note that if you have sensitive skin, don’t use a scrub then shave straight away because that could cause irritation. Play it safe and wait a day between the two.


3. Only doing it in the shower.



Exfoliating in the shower is great because all of the dead skin washes down the drain, but you can also do it when your skin is dry. That’s where dry brushing comes in. Grab the brush and massage your skin to remove flakes and promote the lovely-sounding lymphatic drainage, aka getting rid of fluid retention.


4. Ignoring your lips.



Are your lips prone to flakes? Do you try and combat flakes by using a lip balm? The first order of business is to actually remove those flakes with a lip scrub. After you give your kisser a rub, you can then apply your lip balm.


5. Not using tools.



Hands are great, but even the driest hands don’t have the optimal texture for exfoliation. Instead, try things like konjac sponges, washcloths, loofahs, and body brushes.


6. Ignoring other options besides scrubs.



There are lots of different types of exfoliators. (See what I just said about tools.) Besides those and grainy products, there are also chemical exfoliators, aka things like peels that use active ingredients to take the flaky skin away instead of friction.


7. Doing it too often.



If you’re exfoliating every day, you can cut down your routine. Exfoliating two to three times a week at most is normally sufficient. The exception to this is you’re using an exfoliator that states it’s specifically meant for daily use.


8. And being waaaay too rough.



It might be very satisfying for you to really go to town when you’re using that exfoliator, but take it easy. Your body and face don’t need to be scrubbed until they’re pink. A little bit of exfoliation will go a long way.


9. Not thinking about your scalp.



Yes, even your scalp needs exfoliating. You’ll be surprised by all of the dead skin that accumulates up there. Hello, dandruff. Look for a scalp exfoliator or a textured shampoo such as one with sea salt.


10. Forgetting places.



When we’re exfoliating, it’s easy to forget certain spots like our armpits, knees, and elbows. However, these spots often need exfoliating more than other areas.


11. Using the wrong amount of product.



Face and body scrubs aren’t like masks. You don’t need to slather on a thick layer. You just need enough for the scrub to be effective. For your body, start off with a handful and you can always use more.


12. Applying exfoliators to dry skin.



If you’re using a product that is meant to be used in the shower/sink, make sure that your skin is actually wet before you slather it on. This helps the product to work better. Plus, if you apply the scrub onto dry skin, it could irritate it due to too much friction.


13. Using body exfoliators on your face.



Unless that product is specifically formulated for your face and body, do not put it on your face. The reason being is that your complexion is a lot more sensitive than your bod so a gentler formula needs to be used.


14. Not having the right technique.



As with everything, technique is key. You want to remove those flakes and the best way to do that is usually by rubbing your exfoliator in a circular motion. Try to avoid patting it or rubbing it back and forth.


15. Keeping your exfoliators in the shower.



It’s not the best idea to keep a lot of beauty products in the shower. It’s particularly not good for scrubs because you don’t want them diluted. You want your products to be as fresh on application 18 as they were on the first application.


16. Trying random DIY scrubs.



Body scrubs are often made with a lot of ingredients you have in your kitchen (sugar, salt), however, you should be careful of the DIY route because you could whip up a scrub that could irritate your complexion. If you want to make your own, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before you slather the product all over.


What exfoliation mistakes have you been making? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Heather Cichowski, on Twitter.


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