Male grooming has come a long way from beard grooming, hair care to washing the body. There are so many ways men can benefit from the advances that are related to male grooming.
The skin especially needs special care, especially as you get older. Skin tends to take longer to renew itself and dead cells as well as bacteria that used to leave quickly, stay longer on the skin clogging the pores in the process.
At the same time, if you are used to shaving, you also have to deal with ingrown hairs as well, which are rather annoying, to say the least.
To speed up skin renewal and deal with ingrown hairs, you can take up skin exfoliation as part of your grooming process and see how that works for you.
- What Is an Exfoliator for Men
- Benefits of Using Exfoliators for Men
- How Do Exfoliators for Men Work
- Types of Exfoliators
- Types of Exfoliator Ingredients
- How to Choose the Best Exfoliator for Men
- How to Properly Use an Exfoliator
- Exfoliators vs Similar Facial Care Products
- Do’s and Don’ts with Exfoliators for Men
- Does More Spending Mean More Quality
- Quick Tips for Proper Facial Skincare
- FAQ About Exfoliators for Men
- Why do I need to exfoliate?
- How often should I use an exfoliator?
- Can exfoliators help with acne reduction?
- When should I apply exfoliators?
- Can I combine other skin-care products with exfoliators?
- Can I use an exfoliator if I have facial hair?
- Can I use exfoliators on my body?
- What is the best aftercare solution when I use an exfoliator?
What Is an Exfoliator for Men
An exfoliator is used in skin therapy to remove the dead cells from the skin through either a chemical component or mild abrasion.
Exfoliation dates back to ancient history, most specifically Egypt. During those days, they used a variety of methods with pumice stone being the most popular for abrasion.
Since then, cultures throughout history have long understood the importance of exfoliating and the only difference today is that exfoliating products have become even better.
Simply put, an exfoliator works better than soap, water and any basic cleanser. During the day, your skin collects dust, oil as well as dead skin. An exfoliator works to remove the excess material and dirt due to its ability to penetrate deeply into your pores because of its grittiness.
Mild cleansers like face washes are not abrasive enough to provide that deep cleaning that an exfoliator provides.
Benefits of Using Exfoliators for Men
Skincare products will protect and clean your skin and an exfoliator is no different. And just like a facial moisturizer will prevent rashes and irritation, here are a few benefits of using exfoliator for men.
Provides Deep Pore Cleansing
If there is one thing you can’t avoid is your pores filling up with dead skin. Additionally, dust and oils will also clog your pores and you need something to unclog them and that’s where exfoliators for men come in.
An exfoliator works by removing excess oils, dead skin as well as dust that may be clogging the pores. Clogged pores are the main causes of oily skin and acne breakouts.
Reduction of Acne
Acne appears when your pores have been clogged with sebum oil that is produced at the base of your hair follicles.
When you get an acne breakout, regular exfoliation will help reduce their frequency as well as strength.
Facial exfoliators get into the pores, breaking down the oils and preventing them from filling up. If you have serious acne, then it is recommended that you buy an exfoliator that has salicylic acid since it helps clear acne.
Reduces Pore Sizes
Sometimes your pores may appear larger than they are such that they end up looking like blackheads.
When that happens, the pores aren’t as huge as it looks. An exfoliator gets into those spots making your pores look smaller.
Prevents Premature Aging
Unlike women, men have more collagen in their skin, which is why they appear way more youthful than women their age.
However, even when that is the case, eventually, your skin will begin showing signs of aging, which include uneven skin tone, lost elasticity, and dark patches.
Depending on the exfoliator that you are using, after some time, you will start noticing a reduction of the patches as you continue removing dead skin cells.
Additionally, by scrubbing your face, you increase circulation, which ends up evening out any blotches and splotches. You could also use an anti-aging cream with hydrating properties to keep your skin looking youthful.
How Do Exfoliators for Men Work
Your skin is a living organ just like the heart or brain and it needs to be taken care of. That said, the skin is always shedding dead skin cells to make way for newer ones.
Men’s skin is different from that of women in that it’s thicker and has more collagen. Unfortunately, since men don’t do such a good job of taking care of their skin, they end up developing wrinkles, dark spots and will generally appear more tired at an earlier age than women.
An exfoliator works by getting rid of the tough and thick layer of dead skin cells. This helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and gives your skin and a much healthier and brighter glow.
Types of Exfoliators
Male grooming has improved over the last few decades and there are so many products to choose from today. Since skin requires different types of cleaning, there are different types of exfoliators that you may come across.
Facial scrubs are the most common forms of facial exfoliators. They are gritty to remove all dead skin cells from the skin.
They are, however, milder than body scrubs since the skin on the face is much thinner and more sensitive.
Body scrubs tend to have larger, harsher granules compared to regular body washes and face scrubs.
A body wash will provide you with a luxurious showering experience since most parts below the neck need exfoliation as well.
For instance, your elbows, knees, and feet are areas where the skin is likely to dry out, overproduce excess oil to deal with the drying out and die easily. As such, the skin often gets oily or flaky, hence why you need to use a body scrub from time to time.
A scrub bar is usually a bar of soap that has some sort of coarseness. These soaps provide a quick body exfoliation and are usually a bridge between exfoliating solutions and tools.
Types of Exfoliator Ingredients
When you are buying an exfoliator, one of the most important things that you need to pay attention to are the ingredients as these determine the kind of exfoliator you buy and how effective it will be for your skin type.
While chemical exfoliators may send a chill down your spine, they are only different from physical exfoliators in terms of their functionality.
Rather than removing the dead skin cells, chemical exfoliators, dissolve the glue that binds dead skin cells.
They are absorbed by the skin and are recommended for those who have a resistive skin that can’t handle the harsh abrasion of natural exfoliators.
Known as alpha hydroxy acid, it serves as an overarching name for several ingredients. All the materials in the ingredient come from milk or plants and they include;
This can either be milk or plant-based. It is gentler than glycolic acid and works well on all skin types and comes in a variety of strengths.
Glycolic acid usually more powerful than lactic acid and works best for deeply congested skin. It is used in a similar form as lactic acid in stronger and deeper cleaning products.
Citric acid occurs naturally and is found in fruit and it dissolves the top layer of the skin to smoothen and clean it and also works as an anti-aging agent.
This falls in the category of both chemical and physical exfoliators. It contains four Chinese herbs that are meant to brighten and strengthen your skin.
It works by removing the upper layer of dead skin cells through granules that melt, releasing chemicals that dissolve any dead skin cells remaining.
Going by the technical name beta hydroxy acid, when used in skincare, the term refers to salicylic acid. It works best on the skin that is prone to acne breakouts since it penetrates the pores removing debris and any other impurities.
If you have oily skin, there are two features that you need to consider. One, you need a deep scrub that cleans the pores and prevents clogging, which can lead to breakouts. Look for a scrub that also has salicylic acid since it flushes out clogged pores.
Exfoliating agents are part of the exfoliation formulas that are used to remove dead skin cells and debris.
These include alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acids, lactic acids, and various acids. These compounds then dissolve debris and dead skin.
When buying an exfoliate, ensure that it doesn’t contain ingredients that you may be allergic to, especially with chemical exfoliants.
Exfoliants that have beta hydroxy acid work better for those who are prone to acne breakouts. This is because beta-hydroxy acid penetrates deeply to get rid of all impurities.
Extra Natural Ingredients
While most chemical compounds mentioned earlier are either natural or synthetic, there are natural ingredients that may also be added to an exfoliator to make its texture more comfortable.
Such ingredients include things like aloe Vera, green tea, shea butter, tea tree, volcanic ash, and cocoa butter. Such ingredients also contribute to the scent of the exfoliate.
While these natural ingredients are not always necessary in chemical exfoliators, they are a great sign of a good exfoliator and will enhance your experience.
Physical exfoliators work by removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin through rubbing and friction. The key ingredients that you need to look out for include;
This is a natural abrasive that works well on sensitive skin, but it is as effective on any skin type. Compared to other abrasive ingredients, jojoba beads are smooth.
In such a case, they don’t scratch the skin but gently strip away the deal cells and dirt. They are so smooth that there is no harm using it on the lips. Additionally, they are environmentally friendly compared to other ingredients.
Pumice Stone Fragments or Crystals
These are stronger and much harsher and that being the case, don’t work for those who have sensitive skin.
They are, however, effective for those who need a strong scrub, especially if you haven’t had a scrub in months.
The fragments are natural and create a manual abrasion that removes the fine lines on the skin, clogged pores, and dullness.
Mineral beads are the most recommended when you are looking for a physical exfoliator. Small beads that are made of minerals like jojoba beads offer a great way of exfoliating the skin physically, even for those who have sensitive skin.
These minerals do not scratch the skin but rather act as a buffing agent that removes dead skin cells. If you have tough skin, then you can go for crystals that are ground into a fine powder.
Pumice crystals are the common types of exfoliating agents that are used to buff away dullness and pore problems. They also work very well in the removal of tough dirt that has clogged deep into the pores.
Microbeads, however, are harmful to the environment and you need to avoid exfoliators that have them. They are normally made of plastic, which means that they don’t biodegrade.
When it comes to physical exfoliation; however, plastic microbeads are more effective than the mineral ones.
How to Choose the Best Exfoliator for Men
Choosing a good exfoliator is just like choosing the best shaving soap with a thick consistency since the skin type, to a large extent, determines the product you will buy.
Fortunately, there are a variety of facial scrubs in the market that work on different skin types. Here are a few factors that you need to concern yourself with so that you buy an exfoliator that works for you best.
The skin type determines just how effective a face scrub will be. Different face exfoliators will be more effective on certain skin types and less effective on others.
While any face exfoliator can work on any skin type, for the best results, it is important that you buy face scrub according to your skin type.
Contrary to popular belief, men with dry skin can still exfoliate. Signs of dry skin include flaking dead skin, red patches, tightness after washing the face, roughness and dullness.
However, you need to be very careful with the kind of exfoliator that you buy since those that have a strong formula will strip away moisture from your face worsening the problem.
To prevent this, go for an exfoliator that has ingredients that can restore the moisture. Scrubs that have a creamy consistency normally have such ingredients.
If you have sensitive skin, then you need to be more careful when you are buying a face scrub. If you have such a skin, you can choose not to exfoliate.
However, there are face scrubs that are gentle enough to be used even on the most sensitive of skins.
Go for products that are labeled hypoallergenic or allergy-tested or check with your dermatologist before you buy any.
If you have oily skin, there is so much you need to consider in an exfoliate. For one, you need an exfoliate that penetrates deeply to ensure that pores don’t get clogged.
At the same time, you need an exfoliate that balances the skin to reduce oil production. In such a case, go for an exfoliate that has salicylic acid since it’s a deep cleaning agent that deals with any existing skin blemishes.
If you have normal skin or a combination of the three mentioned above, consider yourself lucky. You can choose any exfoliants regardless of the ingredients.
However, focus on getting a product that provides deep cleaning while still maintaining healthy-looking skin. You are also free to use any exfoliants that contain more than one exfoliating agent.
Facial scrubs contain different ingredients that act as exfoliating agents. However, it is recommended that you go with those that have natural ingredients like oats, coffee, cornmeal, pumice, sugar, walnut shell powder, and the likes.
Skin exfoliators that have scrubbing beds are the most effective in removing dead cells and clearing clogged pores.
The size of the beads differs, however, from super fine to super coarse and anything in between.
Generally, avoid scrubs that have coarse grains if you shave daily since these are very abrasive and may irritate the skin.
Finer grains are ideal for men who don’t shave regularly, like those who have a full beard that needs only an occasional trim.
At the end of the day, what you need to avoid are products that have plastic microbeads since they don’t decompose and end up in rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans.
There are face exfoliators that also moisturizes the skin and this is something that you need to pay attention to, especially in top-tier face scrubs.
The reason why this matters is that a lot of exfoliators tend to dry out the skin after exfoliation.
The amount of face scrub in a bottle contributes to the overall value for money at the end of the day.
Some exfoliators come in small bottles but tend to be very effective even in small amounts.
Exfoliators that come in bulk most of the time are of poor quality and you may end up spending even more, replacing it.
When buying an exfoliator, decide on the amount you will be using so that you can settle on the mount that is appropriate for you without spending so much along the way.
How to Properly Use an Exfoliator
The main reason why people use face scrubs is to get rid of dead skin cells that build up over time and clog the pores.
Since your skin doesn’t shed skin cells as effectively as the rest of the body, it can begin looking dull, rough and unpolished.
So how do you effectively use an exfoliator to have healthy-looking skin?
Step 1 – Rinse the face
Start by rinsing your face with warm water before you apply any exfoliator. The warm water is supposed to open up the pores so that the scrub can easily penetrate deeply to get rid of all dead skin and dirt.
Step 2 – Use a small amount with every application
Don’t just scoop face scrub and smear it all over your face. Use a small amount per application.
You can place a dime-sized amount in the palm of your hand, then use the fingers to apply in circular motions on the face. You could also use a soft washcloth or loofah.
Step 3 – Use gentle motions
When applying the face scrub, use gentle motions since scrubbing too vigorously can end up irritating the skin and not to mention removing too much of the natural oils.
Step 4 – Apply exfoliator first if you are shaving
If you are planning on shaving, ensure that you apply the scrub first for that it can smoothen your skin and lift the hairs for a smooth shave.
In such a case, you don’t even need to use refreshing shaving cream to achieve smooth shaving since the exfoliator will do that work.
An aftershave that significantly reduces razor burns is; however, a must use if you are to prevent irritation and ingrown hairs.
Step 5 – Rinse off
Once you are okay with the amount and are sure that you have removed all dead cells and dirt, you can rinse off with warm water and then follow it up with cold water.
This shrinks the pores and prevents impurities and excess oils from finding their way back in them.
Step 6 – Pat the face dry
After you have rinsed, pat with a towel and avoid drying it completely so as not to irritate the skin further or lose too much moisture.
Exfoliators vs Similar Facial Care Products
Exfoliators work by removing dead skin cells and dirt from the face but how do they compare to other facial care products?
Exfoliator (Face Scrub) vs Face Wash
Face washes are usually mild and aren’t as abrasive as facial scrubs or other forms of abrasion.
Premium face wash for men is often recommended for daily use since it works by penetrating the top skin layer and doesn’t effectively deep clean like facial scrubs.
Exfoliator vs Scrub Bars
Compared to exfoliators, scrub bars come in the form of a soap bar. Face scrubs, however, have a coarseness that sets them apart from other regular bar soaps.
They are suitable for quick body exfoliation and the same can be said about liquid body scrubs.
Exfoliator vs Chemical Exfoliants
Chemical exfoliants make use of chemicals that tend to dissolve the glue that binds dead skin cells. Exfoliators, on the other hand, naturally remove the dead skin cells through abrasion.
Chemical exfoliators are ideal for those who can’t handle the abrasive nature of facial scrubs. They have different chemicals which include, lactic acid, glycolic acid, citric acids as well as salicylic acid, which works well for those who have oily skin that is prone to acne breakouts.
Exfoliator vs Chemical Peels
Chemical peels usually fall under the chemical exfoliator category but are much harsher. A chemical peel usually consists of a watery gel-like solution that is meant to strip away the top layer of the skin to reveal a new layer beneath.
Peels work best for those who have excessively blemished skin and are used to remove dead cells, blackheads as well as unwanted hair to improve the skin’s texture and color.
Chemical peels used at home are less effective than those administered by a professional who treats issues like severe acne.
One thing that you need to note before you use chemical peels is that they are not recommended for use on sagging or wrinkled skin. Facial lifts and laser treatments are the only ones that can work on such skin.
Exfoliator vs Masks
The best face mask for men contains several ingredients such as clay, aloe vera, seaweed as well as essential oils and is meant to remove impurities from the skin.
Masks can also tone, tighten, hydrate, nourish and rejuvenate the skin when used properly. Clay masks, for instance, draw dirt and oil to the surface and tighten the skin. Gel and cream masks, on the other hand, nourish and hydrate the skin.
Do’s and Don’ts with Exfoliators for Men
- Find an exfoliator that is recommended for your skin type for the best results.
- Rinse the face first before you use an exfoliator to open up the pores.
- Apply an exfoliator first before you shave to lift the hairs for a smooth shave.
- Go with exfoliators that contain moisturizing agents to hydrate the skin.
- Don’t scrub too much when you are using an exfoliator; otherwise, you may irritate the skin or dry it further.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
When you are buying an exfoliator, more spending does mean more quality. An exfoliator is supposed to remove dead skin cells as well as dirt that may clog your pores leading to acne breakout and oily skin.
Most high-end exfoliators contain the right ingredients that will leave your skin feeling hydrated even though you may be forced to spend more.
To be on the safe side, consider factors like ingredients, skin type, exfoliating agents as well as the scrubbing beads when you are buying a facial exfoliator so that you get value for your money.
Quick Tips for Proper Facial Skincare
While exfoliating is the best way of ensuring a healthy-looking face, there are steps that you need to take so that you can have the perfect skin.
A face wash that is formulated for your face will be gentle on your skin and will help you maintain a fresh look in-between exfoliators.
While there are a lot of multi-use body washes, it would be better if you went with a face wash. Such don’t have ingredients like walnut powder and pumice that tend to be more abrasive.
The face cream is what ensures that your face looks and feels healthy throughout the day because they moisturize the skin.
If you also live in urban areas, face creams can also ward off pollutants and if you want added protection, go for a face cream that has an SPF rating of more than 15.
As you take care of the skin, don’t forget the eyes. The skin around the eyes, specifically, is more delicate than the rest of the face. Ensure that you apply eye cream to reduce puffiness and redness as well as dark circles.
FAQ About Exfoliators for Men
Why do I need to exfoliate?
The main reason why you need to exfoliate is that exfoliation removes dead skin cells and dirt that may be clogging your pores for healthy-looking skin. Exfoliation also helps reduce acne, pore size and prevents premature skin aging.
How often should I use an exfoliator?
You need to exfoliate at least once a day or every few days, although too much of it can cause skin irritation hence why you need to lower the frequency to about once a week.
Can exfoliators help with acne reduction?
Yes, exfoliators help reduce acne by removing dead skin cells and dirt that may clog the pores. They also balance out oil production such that the skin doesn’t produce too much of it, which is the main cause of acne breakouts.
When should I apply exfoliators?
It is recommended that you apply facial exfoliator in the morning before you start the day or at night just before you go to bed.
If you are looking for long term benefits, however, apply an exfoliator that contains salicylic acid before bed to promote skin repair and fight acne.
Can I combine other skin-care products with exfoliators?
Yes, you can combine exfoliators with other skincare products as long as you don’t do that at the same time. Exfoliators need to be applied alone so that they can penetrate deeply into the skin. Applying another chemical may end up diluting the exfoliator, which causes it to be less effective.
Can I use an exfoliator if I have facial hair?
The simple answer is yes. Applying an exfoliator if you have facial hair may be more beneficial than you may think since facial hair is prone to dandruff. If you have thin hair, however, you need to be careful about the exfoliator you use since some may dissolve the hair, which can lead to a patchy beard.
Can I use exfoliators on my body?
Yes, you can. Some exfoliators can be used for body exfoliation, although they are specifically meant for use on the face.
What is the best aftercare solution when I use an exfoliator?
The best thing you can do is to rinse the face with cool water to help close the pores. Follow that up with a hydrating cream or a lighter style lotion to restore moisture.
While exfoliation is supposed to be a part of your daily skincare routine, if it doesn’t work for you or you experience any negative effects, you need to discontinue use immediately and consult a dermatologist if the problem persists. Additionally, when you exfoliate, ensure that you always have a moisturizing facial cream to use to hydrate and restore the moisture loss. The last thing you want is to damage your skin in the name of exfoliating by stripping away moisture and natural oils.
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