What Is the Best Time to Practice Chemical Exfoliation?

Want your chemical exfoliants to perform at their best? Read on to know why there is a *particular* time to kissing your dead skin cells goodbye

Over the past few years, chemical exfoliation has taken precedence over other skincare steps in the world of beauty. Rightly so, given that for a lot of us, a common skincare goal is a clear and glowing skin. One of the best aspects of regularly chemically exfoliation is that it helps the absorption of other products such as serums and moisturisers better. Not only that your foundation also glides on along with other products smoothly. 

But, what are chemical exfoliants? "Chemical exfoliants are various types of acids that break the skin cell to reveal a healthy layer of skin cells. This process depends on the strength and chemical properties of the acids" shares Dr Devayani Barve, a plastic and cosmetic surgeon. She also adds, ageing, smoking, a poor skincare routine couple with dehydration and sun exposure are all reasons for the skin to look dull. Since most of these factors result in poor skin turnover.

"Exfoliation takes away the dead skin layer and brightens the skin making it look fresh and vibrant. Chemical exfoliation hastens the natural process of skin turnover while providing nutrients to the skin" she tells.

But, that's not it, most chemical exfoliants can also provide solutions for pigmentation, dryness, flaky skin, and more. Coming in various forms like an overnight mask, peels and even face washes—there is a time for everything. For example, it is best-suggested one uses retinol at night as against day because it makes our skin sensitive. The same is the case for chemical exfoliation as well. 

What hour of the day should you accomodate chemical exfoliation in your routine?

Dr Devayani shares with Cosmo, "The best time to exfoliate is in the morning." This is because the skin regenerates at night and the layer of dead skin cells can be easily removed the next day. While Dr Madhuri Agarwal, Founder and dermatologist at Yavana Aesthetics Clinic further elaborates that, "When the skin is oily or dull, dead in appearance, use chemical exfoliation in the morning." 

She further adds for those who regularly apply make-up, "it is best to practice exfoliation at night to enhance the absorption of products at times" Inarguably, both agree that whatever may be the skin concern, it is imperative that everyone uses a gentle exfoliator on the face and eventually following it up with a moisturiser and regularly applying sunscreen. 

When it comes to chemical exfoliants, there are two types— AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids). "AHAs work on skin texture and is amazing for dry and mature skin. They help eliminate fine lines and wrinkles along with signs of sun damage. While BHAs or salicylic acid work on acne-prone skin, sensitive skin and scars" shares Dr Devyani. 

How to take care of your skin post exfoliation?

Dr Madhuri's first advice is, "Always focus on hydrating your skin after chemical exfoliation and apply sunscreen. This is to reduce the skin barrier damage and minimise sensitivity to the sun." She also suggests skipping your actives such as retinol or vitamin C that day as your skin is particularly sensitive post the exfoliation routine. 

It is important to remember that one doesn't over-exfoliate the skin as it can result in frequent breakouts and higher sensitivity. Dr Madhuri points out, "Dry and sensitive skin should restrict exfoliation to once in 10-15 days to prevent irritation."

While Dr Devyani suggests, "Oily skin type can exfoliate at least thrice a week. For those with normal to combination skin type, it is suggested  you begin with once a week and increase it by twice a week depending upon your skin's response."

Product recommendations

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Quench Botanics, Mon Cherry Overnight Peeling Mask

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SkinQ, Exfoliation Kit 

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