How To Improve Your Skin by Cleansing and Exfoliating

Cleansing and exfoliating are two terms very well known but commonly misused since they are considered similar processes suitable to clean and take care of our skin. However, can they be used interchangeably? The answer is no since they are different products with different purposes. Let’s learn more about the products and processes surrounding these two important steps in any skincare routine.

Soft gel cleansers versus exfoliants


It is important to highlight that any soft gel cleanser is generally designed for gentle cleansing rather than exfoliation. These cleansers are formulated to do a daily removal of dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin’s surface without causing irritation and they can be used in the morning and at night. They typically do not contain exfoliating agents like physical scrub particles or chemical exfoliants, which are usually present in exfoliants.

Benefits of cleansing:

  • Removes dirt, oil, and impurities from the skin’s surface.
  • Helps prevent breakouts and acne by unclogging pores.
  • Maintains a clean and healthy skin barrier.
  • Prepares the skin for better absorption of skincare products.
  • Refreshes and revitalizes the skin, leaving it feeling clean and refreshed.

However, if you are looking to incorporate exfoliation into your skincare routine, you might want to consider using a separate exfoliating product. In this case, you should know that there are two main types of exfoliants:

  • Physical exfoliants, which contain small particles to remove dead skin cells manually
  • Chemical exfoliants, which use acids or enzymes to dissolve and remove dead skin cells.

If you prefer a gentle exfoliation, you could opt for a mild chemical exfoliant with ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). These ingredients help to promote cell turnover and can improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin. However, do not forget that it is essential to use exfoliants in moderation and follow the product instructions to avoid over-exfoliation, which can lead to irritation and sensitivity.

Benefits of Exfoliating:

  • Removes dead skin cells, revealing smoother and brighter skin.
  • Improves skin texture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Unclogs pores, reducing the likelihood of blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Enhances the effectiveness of skincare products by allowing better penetration.
  • Stimulates cell turnover, promoting a more youthful complexion.

How to cleanse and how to exfoliate


It is important to know the difference between cleansing and exfoliating not only as regards using the right product but also following the steps when applying it.

To begin with, in order to cleanse your face, you have to apply the chosen cleansing product to slightly wet skin and gently massage it in circular motions. Then, rinse with warm water to remove the remains of the product and gently dry the skin patting with a towel. Do not forget to always use a clean towel that should be only for personal use.

On the other hand, if you are looking for skin exfoliation, you have to apply the chosen exfoliant to previously wet skin and gently massage it in circular motions. If you are using physical exfoliants, the particles help to remove dead cells through friction. Be cautious with physical exfoliants, as harsh or uneven particles can potentially cause irritation or microtears in the skin. It is usually recommended to use physical exfoliants less frequently than chemical exfoliants.

Moreover, if it is a chemical exfoliant, once applied it should be left to act for a certain time in order to let the acids dissolve dead cells. Finally, rinse with warm water and dry the skin with a towel. Check the concentration of the exfoliating ingredient and the recommended frequency of use. It is typically advisable to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase if your skin tolerates it well.

Always remember that it is important not to over-exfoliate, as this can lead to irritation, sensitivity, and other skin issues.

Custom Skincare Selection


Developing a tailored skincare routine transcends the basics of cleansing and exfoliating; it’s about finding the right products that align with your skin type. The journey to vibrant, healthy skin hinges on this personalized approach.

If you’re navigating dry skin, choose hydrating cleansers that infuse moisture back into your skin, alongside gentle chemical exfoliants that slough away dead cells without irritation. For oily skin warriors, foaming cleansers paired with oil-absorbing exfoliants work wonders in maintaining a clear complexion by removing excess oil and unclogging pores.

Those with sensitive skin should lean towards fragrance-free, hypoallergenic options, with mild exfoliants enriched with calming agents like chamomile or oat extract. For the combination skin crowd, gentle, pH-balanced products that cater to both dry and oily zones without causing imbalance are key.

Embracing products that cater specifically to your skin type elevates your routine from routine to remarkable, paving the way to a luminous, healthy complexion.

Follow the right steps


As regards application order, the correct order in a facial care routine is to cleanse the face first and then to exfoliate. Facial cleansing helps remove surface impurities and prepares the skin for more effective exfoliation, it should always be the first step. By removing blockages from your pores, exfoliation can reach the deeper layers of your skin and work more efficiently as it happens with any other product you apply.

Always patch-test new products, and if you have any concerns or specific skin conditions, consider consulting with a dermatologist for personalized advice on creating a skincare routine that suits your skin’s needs.