While many skin-related concerns like acne and sensitivity are genetic, your dull, lacklustre complexion is probably not your folks’ fault — but yours and yours alone. Because how do you go from glowing, ever-radiant skin to skin that’s dry and flaky within the span of a couple of months? It’s time for a big, fat reality check.
The truth is that you’re not exfoliating your skin at all. And not even your eight-step skincare ritual can do much for your skin without exfoliation. Your skin is crammed with dead skin-cell build-up, and every day that you don’t exfoliate is one step farther away from reinstating that glow. Here’s what you need to know about dead skin cells and how to remove them safely and effectively at home. Turns out dead skin removal isn’t that much of a hassle.
Every cell in your body has a life-span — even the ones your skin is composed of. Most of these cells live for about two to four weeks in total — from being pushed up to replace dead skin-cell build-up to being replaced by newer, healthier cells, it’s a whole process that happens without you knowing it’s happening. Think about it. You lose about 50 million of these cells every day — about 30,000 to 40,000 every day — and that’s why your body is in a perpetual state of regeneration. You’ve never heard of someone running out of cells, have you?
But, sometimes, your skin doesn’t shed off these cells as effectively as normal, and it leads to a build-up of dead skin on face that can make your face look dull and dry. Before we learn about how to remove dead skin from face, what causes this build-up anyway?
Exposure to sunlight accelerates the ageing of the skin. This triggers your cells to die out faster than normal. Replacing them takes a little while and this delay leads to a build-up of cells on the surface of the skin.
Ageing slows down the process of cellular ‘turnover’ — a process wherein your skin sheds dead skin-cell build-up for newer, healthier cells. This ‘turnover’ happens two times faster in babies and children as compared to adults.
Dehydration can cause your skin to flake off too. Even dryness can cause the rate of turnover to increase — leading to a build-up that doesn’t shed fast enough.
A lack of exfoliation can further intensify the dullness and dryness. Exfoliation is a technique wherein you employ formulas or scrubs to slough off this layer of build-up on your own.
But how do you reinstate that glow, then? Here’s how to remove dead skin from face.
There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. The former exfoliates the skin manually; while the latter enlists the expertise of chemicals to dissolve the build-up. While one employs particles like grains, granules and beads as well as soft-textured surfaces like sponges and washcloths into the equation to decongest the pores and dislodge dirt, the other relies on chemicals like AHAs, BHAs and plant-based enzymes to do much of the weightlifting.
PSA: Remember to cleanse the face before exfoliation. Here’s how to remove dead skin cells from face.
You can rub (read: gently) the face with a clean, freshly-washed cloth. Just run it under some water — preferably warm — and rub it into the skin in circles for a minute or two. Make sure you’re not scrubbing your face harshly while you’re at it. This can disrupt the barrier and hurt the skin. Now you know how to remove dead cells from face.
Many scrubs are composed of beads, grains, and granules that slough off build-up and dirt effectively. Think of all the sugar-based and coffee-based scrubs you’ve seen. Though this method is generally accepted as safe by experts, some of the ingredients in the line-up could have sharp-edged, jagged ends that infect and inflame the skin. Even scrubbing too harshly can cause microtears on the surface. Make sure you’re picking a non-abrasive exfoliant while you’re at it.
Use: MyGlamm Superfoods Cacao & Berry Face Wash
This superfoods-charged facewash is enriched with cacao powder, strawberry, mulberry, blueberry, and black currant extracts that deep-cleanse the skin. It also contains sugarcane & sugar maple extracts with AHAs to exfoliate without stripping your skin of oils and hydrators — and for those with reactive skin, Vitamin E, B5, and Allantoin soothe dryness and irritation effortlessly. Orange & Lemon, on the other hand, promote brightness and minimise pigmentation.
A sponge is your next option. You can use it just like you’d use a washcloth. Just wring out the excess water before massaging it into your face in circles.
Remember the formulas that dissolve the cells instead of sloughing them off? Enter AHAs. Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid are the most sought-after AHAs, and they’re excellent at exfoliating the skin. They’re water-soluble compounds that work on the surface of the skin and treat problems like dullness, texture, and lines too. If your skin has discolouration, or your skin tone is uneven, you can try out an AHA
Even BHAs work by dissolving bonds between cells. They’re oil-soluble compounds that plunge into the skin, cleanse the pores, and counter issues like acne and oiliness. Salicylic Acid is a popular BHA. Even combination skin-types can benefit from incorporating a BHA into their routines.
Even though you know how to remove dead skin from face at home now, keep these in mind.
If you're using exfoliators with higher concentrations of acids, you might end up hurting your skin. Side-effects can manifest as redness, peeling, inflammation, and irritation. Make sure you’re beginning with a lower concentration at the start.
Even layering your skin with other vehicles of AHAs, BHAs, and Retinol (like serums) can worsen the situation. Make sure you're not doing that and conclude your routine with sunscreen as AHAs and BHAs can make your skin much more sensitive to the sun in general.
Avoid exfoliators featuring plastic-based beads and balls, and try something ground-up or gentle like jojoba beads, sugar crystals and apricot seeds instead.
Avoid exfoliators featuring nutshells, salt, or walnuts. Remember that natural doesn’t always mean better.
Remember that dullness and dryness are not always genetic. It’s probably just a build-up that’s preventing your skin from reaching its full potential. Slough away because now you know how to deal with dead skin cells on face.
Is it good to remove dead skin?
Yes. A lack of exfoliation can lead to a dryness and dullness in your complexion because of the build-up that covers the surface of your skin.
What is the easiest way to remove dead skin?
Just make sure you’re exfoliating once or twice a week, and you’re done. You can either physically exfoliate with sponges, cloths or beads or chemically dissolve any build-up with AHAs and BHAs.
What does dead skin look like?
It can look flaky, dry and calloused. You might find your skin rough and scaly to the touch. Thickness and breakouts are common too.
How To Exfoliate The Face: Here’s exactly how to exfoliate the face without disrupting your barrier or triggering breakouts on your skin. Read on.
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How To Get Clear Skin: Here’s an all-encompassing guide on getting clear, even-toned skin without it being a hassle. Read on.
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