Want smooth, radiant skin but don’t really know how to achieve it? Exfoliating – the process of removing dead skin cells and clearing dirt build-up from deep inside your pores – may just be your answer.
There are two types of exfoliants: physical, which mechanically buffs away your dead skin cells, and chemical, which gently dissolves your dead skin cells and clears your pores with the help of acids or enzymes. These acids have the power to heal, hydrate and even regenerate your skin (plus they’re much safer for you and the environment!).
But exfoliating is only the first step to healthy, glowing skin. Your skin can become sensitive and vulnerable afterwards (which is why you should only exfoliate once or twice a week), so it’s important to use products that also feature hydrating and nourishing ingredients that will protect your skin. Below, we break down the top 6 clean ingredients to look out for that are great for exfoliating and keeping your skin nourished. (P.S these were the ingredients we hand-picked for our very own chemical-based exfoliant, Clean Slate!)
(Green tea leaves)
1. Salicylic Acid (BHA)
This is an excellent pore-cleansing ingredient and gentle exfoliator. It is a type of Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) which can be found in the bark of willow trees. It works by dissolving and clearing the dirt, oil and dead skin build-up from deep inside your pores––a key ingredient to tackling acne and dull skin!
2. Green Tea Leaf Extract
This is a concentrated version of your favourite caffeinated tea (which has it’s own benefits when consumed this way!) When applied to your skin, Green Tea Leaf extract soothes redness and irritation, evens out discolouration, and even diminishes signs of ageing. On top of that, it works as an exfoliator to get rid of dead skin cells and decrease the appearance and occurrence of blackheads and whiteheads.
3. Sodium Hyaluronate
Sodium hyaluronate is a derivative of hyaluronic acid––a chemical naturally found in your body that helps retain moisture and keep your skin plump and hydrated. It helps revitalise your skin by restoring the moisture in your skin and balancing out the drying effects of BHA ingredients. It also helps smooth the appearance of wrinkles and improve your skin texture so your skin appears fresher and younger.
4. Centella Asiatica Extract
Also known as Cica or Gotu Kola, Centella Asiatica is a herb grown primarily in Asia which has been used for hundreds of years in traditional medicine. It’s stuck around for good reason: it’s a hydrating skin-saviour rich in antioxidants that can calm irritation and inflammation, boost skin cell growth, speed up the healing of small open wounds, and revitalise your skin's protective barrier.
5. English Chamomile Extract
Another favourite as a steaming cup of tea, English Chamomile extract can do wonders when applied to your skin too. It’s a calming ingredient with antibacterial properties that soothes irritation and tackles the effects of bacteria and pollutants on your skin. It also has healing properties which work for a host of different skin concerns including acne, eczema, and dermatitis.
Arginine is an amino acid which can be found in your body, along with most protein-rich foods including fish, red meat, poultry, soy, whole grains, beans and dairy products. It’s an antioxidant that boosts collagen production which regenerates your skin cells and repairs skin damage. It also protects your skin from free-radicals (unstable atoms that can cause premature ageing).