How To| Exfoliate Problem Skin + Benefits

by West Parsons on December 12, 2013 · 8 comments

in beauty, skin care

how to exfoliate problem skin


Diligence in skin care is a must for those of us who have acne prone skin. The cause of acne often is as a result of blocked glands or a buildup of dead skin cells causing inflammation. To the naked eye this inflammation is simply a zit.  My own personal battle with acne is a daily struggle. That being said, there are a few items that I keep in my arsenal of beauty products  — acidic cleanser, peel, toner, moisturizing mask, and hyaluronic acid.

Why Exfoliate?
Simply put, cleansers alone do not do the job of increasing cell turnover and renewal of skin cells. An active ingredient is necessary. Sloughing off of  dead, dull, and flaky skin cells are pertinent to unclogging pores and removal of dirt to help reveal bright, fresh skin. Use of a peel is best when done weekly. All other exfoliants can be used daily to help in the upkeep.

There’s Levels To This.
Exfoliating products come in many strengths, represented by percentage, depending on when the product is used on your routine and how sensitive your skin may be. The higher the percentage, the more contents of an active ingredient it contains. Best practice use of exfoliators goes as follows:
    • Level 1 Exfoliating cleansers contain acid ingredients in minimal amounts to help remove surface oils, which may still be left otherwise with use of an unspecified facial wash. This allows the peel to work from a clean canvas | Exfoliating Cleanser ($22)
    • Level 2 Typically you will find that peels and masks contain the most alpha or beta hydroxy acids. The products usually are left on the skin for 2-10 minutes, allowing the chemical compound (most often derived naturally from sugars or milk) to penetrate the top layer of skin  |  Pumpkin Enzyme Mask ($14) +  Lactic Acid ($4)
    • Level 3 Because exfoliating can be very drying to the skin, a moisturizing mask helps it to bounce back from the shock of the acidic peel |  Moisturizing Enzyme Mask ($20)  or a Homemade Honey Mask
    • Level 4 The toner helps to neutralize the pH of the previous treatment, but may also contain an acid peeling agent as well |  Glycolic Toner ($20)
    • Level 5 Hyaluronic acid is not really acidic in the sense of other products listed, but it is a chemical which is naturally found in the body and is squandered as we age. Moisturizers containing this chemical contribute to a more supple and plump skin surface as hyaluronic acid helps to retain water |  Mango Moisturizer ($14)

skinceuticals retinol

I would be remiss if I failed to share the honorable mention retinol. Products containing this ingredient should be used once a week in pea-sized amounts (not on the same day as AHAs or BHAs), as it works overnight to stimulate and speed up skin cell turnover. It can be very irritating and cause redness to new users. Moisturizing 10 minutes post-application is advised.

Skin Care| This Model Uses Food to Wash Her Face
Skin Care| Exfoliating for Smooth Even-Toned Skin + AHAs vs BHA
Skin Care| DIY Honey & Nutmeg Facial Mask



AmeeraNakisha October 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I have extremely dry skin and I notice if I exfoliate too often, my skin is raw. I’m nervous about it now. I do want to get rid of the darkness on the sides of my nose tho. I hate it, they say it come from being pregnant. Its called pregnancy mask. Any suggestions?

westNDNbeauty October 17, 2012 at 8:32 am

How often was too often? Did you always follow with a heavy moisturizer? Considering you already have dry skin and exfoliating can make skin even more dry.

AmeeraNakisha October 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I was doing it like 1-2 a week and I was using Clinique moisturizer at the time and it’s not heavy at all. I am going to try something else tho

S/N I follow you on twitter and who is on here acting up, I can get them if you like LOL

westNDNbeauty October 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm

For normally dry skin definitely try something heavier when using acids.

About the subliminal message poster….haha! I’ve already edited their posts on all their profiles lol. It’s like this –I don’t mind people posting links to their blogs with a relevant comment, etc., but posting an un-uelevant comment disguised as a compliment, advertising another product for a large company with an advertising budget — #NoBueno

Rashida December 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm

My skin has been out of control this past year. I’ve never really experienced breakouts so I’ve been feeling super self-conscious about them. I’ll look into some of the products you mentioned. Thanks for sharing 🙂

saniel December 13, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Anyone used Andalou Naturals products? Saw at local store and want to try.

Nell January 14, 2014 at 11:48 pm

How much of the lactic acid should be combined with the pumpkin mask?

westNDNbeauty January 15, 2014 at 12:17 am

Hi Nell. I don’t add the lactic acid to anything. I dilute it with a little water bringing the solution potency to ~60% and use the both separately.