We all know that your skin collects dead cells over time. And if you didn’t know, now you do. But did you know that those dead cells could be the reason that your tattoo looks less vibrant and fresh? Much like a dirty window blocks your view, dead skin cells do the same to the ink of your tattoos. While you might be washing your skin regularly, that is not enough to cut through the layers that are built up over time. This is where exfoliating comes in.
What is Exfoliation
Exfoliation refers to the process of removing the layer of dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin. This process is necessary to help promote the growth and development of new skin cells. You can accomplish this by using a range of products from chemical peels, to textured cloths.
Benefits of Exfoliating Your SkinBy exfoliating your skin, you will be enabling many benefits to emerge! Some of these benefits include:
- Acne prevention
- Pore unclogging
- Evening of skin tone
- Boosting circulation to the skin
- Helps other products penetrate the skin
Acne Prevention & Pore Unclogging
Exfoliating essentially rubs away dead cells that can become trapped within the pores of your skin. Leftover skin debris can cause whiteheads and blackheads to form. Dead cells trap the naturally occurring oils within pores and cause acne. Pollutants in the air can also become trapped into the pores from leftover dead skin and lead to acne or skin irritation.
Even Skin Tones
Acne scars and other patches of dark skin (hyperpigmentation) can be super frustrating. Exfoliating those areas can help break down the dry and damaged skin cell layers that cause uneven skin tones. Overtime, the skin will look more even and bright.
Boost Circulation to the Surface of Your Skin
Exfoliating your skin actually stimulates the lymphatic system of your body (helps regulate fluid levels in tissues). By stimulating this system, you promote blood flow of oxygenated blood to the skin! This helps to detoxify the skin and promote healthy and bright skin.
Improve Product Penetration
Once the dead cells are all gone from the surface of your skin, it leaves healthy skin underneath. If you are putting products such as tattoo balms or lotions over dead cells, it has less of a chance of doing its job because it is blocked by dead cells and debris. Removing those cells with exfoliating will help your skin absorb all of the benefits from your care products.
Different Types of Exfoliants
Using an exfoliant is really important for skin health, but choosing which kind is best for you means knowing all of the options out there. There are three main types of exfoliators.
1. Physical Exfoliators
This type of exfoliating process includes some form of granular scrub. When it is applied to the skin, it physically brushes the skin and removes dead skin cells. Exfoliating this way will help to improve the skin's texture and tone.
How to Use a Physical Exfoliant
To use a physical exfoliator, wet the skin with warm water (typically in the shower or bath) and apply scrub to your hands. Rub the scrub between your hands and begin to make small, circular motions on the skin. Do this for 30 seconds, up to one minute and then rinse with warm water.
2. Chemical Exfoliators
Chemical exfoliants use enzymes and acid-based products to dissolve protein bonds between dead skin cells. This allows them to break down and buff away. Chemical exfoliators soften the dead skin cells and prepare them for removal. This type of exfoliator may cause a tingling feeling, which is completely normal.
How to Use a Chemical Exfoliant
When using a chemical exfoliator, prep the skin by washing it and wetting it. If you are using a liquid chemical exfoliator, add the product to a cotton pad and then apply it to the skin. If the exfoliant is a lotion or gel, you can apply it directly with your fingers. Leave the solution on for a few minutes and then rinse with warm water.
3. Mechanical Exfoliators
Mechanical exfoliators involve the use of a device or machine such as a laser. These can also be tools such as brushes, textured cloths, or sponges. You can add a skin-safe soap or cleanser when using these tools.
How to Use a Mechanical Exfoliant
Whichever tool you decide to use, make sure you read and follow the instructions. For example, if you are using an exfoliating brush, use circular brush strokes over the skin for 30 seconds up to a minute before rinsing the area with warm water.
How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Tattoos
Exfoliating your tattooed skin will help keep it looking bright and fresh. Whether you choose to use a scrub or a chemical peel, you should exfoliate about once or twice a week. If you exfoliate more than that, you can actually damage your skin and cause irritations.
Exfoliate Your Tattoos to Keep them Bright
It is no secret that tattoos can start to look dull or faded in time. But one way that you can combat this and hit refresh on your tattoo is to start exfoliating your skin on a regular basis. It will remove that top layer of dead skin that could be fogging your view to your ink.