What is Exfoliation and Do Men Really Need It?

Most men generally don’t feel the need to spend a great deal of time with routine skincare. They tend to focus on the basics of cleansing and shaving without considering the importance of other steps such as exfoliating. One of the reasons for this is because they aren’t exactly sure just what exfoliation is or why it’s necessary to exfoliate regularly. Those that have considered it might be skeptical about it interfering with their low-maintenance lifestyle. (The good news is you can exfoliate and still keep your reputation—as soon as you find out what it is and why you need to do it.)

What is Exfoliation?

Think of exfoliation in the same way a carpenter might think of preserving the smoothness and longevity of wood by sanding it. Without it being sanded, the wood becomes rough, flaking and peeling no matter how many conditioning treatments it’s given. Over time, it will develop lines and splinters and may even crack with age. The same goes for skin, especially the skin on your face where deep pores collect dirt and oils that contribute to acne and blackheads. So what is exfoliation? It’s a method of sloughing off dead cells so new skin can regenerate. (But please, save the sandpaper for wood.)  

Where Do I Exfoliate?

Face, neck, back, shoulders, elbows, and feet are all areas that can benefit from exfoliation, but there really isn’t a perfect all-in-one exfoliator. Different parts of your body require different means of exfoliation. Feet and elbows are tougher so pumices and loofahs can be used without risk of damage, but the fragile tissue on your face and neck needs something less harsh yet still effective. An ideal facial scrub should be gentle when stripping away dead skin but tough at removing deep dirt and impurities from clogged pores. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are derived from sugary fruits and you want to look for a natural exfoliator like this when choosing a scrub because it will be kinder to the skin. Our facial scrub for men, REVITALIZE, contains both AHAs and intensive moisturizers so not only does it exfoliate, it also provides the necessary moisture skin needs to keep it from aging prematurely. Plus it’s gentle on your face but tough enough for your back and shoulders where it can also be used.

When Do I Exfoliate?

Though opinions vary on how often you should exfoliate, exfoliating at least 3 times a week will result in improved texture with skin becoming noticeably smoother and less dull relatively quickly. Also, it’s worth noting that scrubs that are charcoal-based can give you the added benefit of detoxification by drawing bacteria from the skin, which means fewer breakouts. Just keep in mind that you may need to exfoliate more or in some cases less, depending on your skin type and lifestyle. Rob believes it’s vital to develop a routine and stick to it. And just to be clear, adding exfoliation to your schedule will only increase it by about a minute, so you can still maintain your low-maintenance character.

Why Exfoliate?

Here’s the science: though most adult dead skin cells shed on their own every month, stubborn cells can linger causing clogged pores and skin that’s dull, dry, and flaky, making it difficult for moisturizers to penetrate below the surface. Regular exfoliation will remove these dead cells, and make it easier for the underlying layers to be stay hydrated. This is essential in the production of collagen, which keeps the skin from losing its elasticity. Exfoliating can also minimize pores and fine lines, and even regulate skin tone, but it’s also beneficial for removing toxins that get trapped below the surface. And for those men who prefer a close shave, exfoliating before shaving actually preps the hair follicles, which results in less ingrown hairs and a smooth, clean finish.