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Eryka

Exfoliation: Maximizing the DKR

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*Disclaimer: The methods mentioned here are NOT recommended for people who have started a new skin regimen within the last month. Please wait a full 4 weeks before attempting anything.*

A question that always comes up on the DKR forum is that Dan's regimen worked in the beginning but it's not anymore, what gives?

The answer may be right under your nose. Unless proper exfoliation is being consistently maintained, most likely your pores will become re-blocked with excess skin material. Which in turn creates more acne on some level.

What is exfoliation, you may be asking.

Exfoliation: The removal of dead skin cells on the outermost layer of your skin.

BP's main role in fighting acne is not one of exfoliation, but of being antibacterial. Granted, yes it makes the skin dry and peel to a certain extent, but it pretty much stops there. If BP loosened all of the dead skin and removed it, your face wouldn't be peeling after a good washing. It would just go down the drain with the water.

Less than regular exfoliation is also the cause for what I call "Concrete Skin", especially with BP. This is when your skin looks rough, thick, dry, and does not want to move. Many have felt (including me) that their face would look SO much better if they could just peel/scrape/scrub a layer or two of skin off. (Nothing that drastic will be needed, luckily.)

You do have beautiful skin underneath, I promise.

Fortunately there are many many ways to exfoliate:

Manually: This is where you physically rub the skin with something abrasive. (This does not mean the metal mesh dish scrubber. PUT IT DOWN!) It can be something as simple as adding sugar to honey and rubbing on a wet face for 20 second. This is not the only way, just an idea of the practice. Some favorites will be listed below.

Chemically: It kind of speaks for itself. This is where you add some cream or gel and it chemically loosens and makes your skin cells turn over faster. Newbies are NOT recommended to try anything chemical for a MINIMUM of 4 months after starting the DKR. This is for good reason. You will destroy your skin if you add too many unknown chemicals to your face at any given time. Gentle gradual steps are key in ANY skincare routine! There are simple drug store chemical exfoliators found in lotions such as as Neutrogena Healthy Defense with AHA. These are gentle with little danger or harm. AHA's and BHA's are some of the lightest chemical exfoliators while retinoids are highly concentrated and are not to be played with. Research and use with care.

Futuristically: The name is just for fun. What I really mean is when you go to a Dermatologist and remove dead skin by a laser treatment. This is the final and most extreme step for exfoliation and generally isn't meant to be done by people using active acne products. This is more for a re-texturizing of the skin AFTER acne. After being the key word. Be suspicious of any Dermatologist that agrees to do laser exfoliation on someone with a red face from beginning an acne treatment. If your face is red, put it to bed. In other words, let it rest.

With all the exfoliation options, it can be difficult to decide which to pick. Fortunately for newbies, the answer is simple. Start with the most gentle. Here are some versions I have personally done:

Oil + Cotton: This is really simple. Take an oil that your skin agrees with. Anything like Jojoba, Olive, Apricot Kernel, Sunflower, ect. Pour about 1 teaspoon (the small ones) into your hand and then spread around your face gently for about 1-2 minutes. Really work it in there, especially the rough spots. Then take either a soft tissue or cotton pad like these: Cotton Pads

And just gently swipe them over your face until the excess oil is gone. Wash and follow your regimen as normal. Great for adding back some moisture that exfoliation can take away. Good for dry or winter skin. Can be done 3+ times a week as long as you are gentle! For heavy peelers try doing this in the morning or at night before your routine. Back off as soon as your skin is tender or more red than pink.

Honey +Sugar/Baking Soda: You don't add both sugar and baking soda to the honey, just one or the other. Personally, I prefer the baking soda but you don't need much. Wash your face normally and while it is still dripping wet apply a mixture of about 2 teaspoons honey and 1/3 teaspoon baking soda to your face and GENTLY scrub for about 30 seconds or as long as it takes to cover your face. Go slowly and gently. DO NOT PUSH OR SCRAPE! You do not need to punish your skin! Rinse with barely warm water. No residue will be left on your skin, trust me. Rub some honey on your hands first as a test and then rinse them in the water. Nothing will be left after 10 seconds. Dry face and follow regimen as normal. This is good for oily skin types as it is oil free. Do this method a MAX of 2 times a week. Once a week is best for beginners.

The above methods are quick and VERY cheap. My skin would be so much worse off without them.

Chemical exfoliation is something you shouldn't even think about the first 4 or 5 months on ANY new regimen. Your skin is not ready for it. Please don't destroy your face. Acne.org and its people have a lot of information and are willing to share it. I won't talk about chemical exfoliation here because I know too many newbies would disregard what I say and buy something anyways. If you're not a newbie however, you might find some answers in the Non-Inflamed Acne section. A certain LionQueen is very knowledgeable. (She's going to kill me for referring more people to her.)

Hopefully this has given you somewhere to start and helps ease some doubts.

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I do the baking soda scrub every night, followed by a honey, lemon and egg white mask. I also use neutrogena wave in the morning. is this too much scrubbing? you can see my regimen in my signature. is it too much? I use the mask cause i have bad post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. any suggestions?

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Personally yeah, I think it is too much. If you have to do something everyday, (some people just shed skin like that, I was one) try the Oil and Cotton method. The cotton is buffered by the oil so it doesn't scrape the skin. It also adds back moisture but won't clog pores because you wash your face after.

Baking soda is a great tool but is is very drying and is highly alkaline. This means every time you use it, it wacks your skins PH level so you have to add something acidic to balance. Something like lemon juice, vinegar, ect. All that everyday is overkill.

Doing something gentle longer is better than doing more faster.

EDIT: For the hyper pigmentation I HIGHLY recommend Aloe Vera gel. It can be drying so mix with an oil or moisturizer you like. A lot of people use it and I personally thank it for saving my skin from red marks.

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OK. I'll try the aloe vera gel. so should i only use the baking soda twice a week, with a little lemon in it? and use the wave every morning? that would be ok right? Also, I have really oily skin so I don't think the oil+cotton method would work

Thanks

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2 times a week is better but use the lemon juice after. I would recommend waiting for the skin to dry and then using it as a toner. You skin will be dry after so use moisturizer.

As for the wave I don't know what it is. Can you enlighten me?

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I tried the lemon once and I felt that i broke out because it really irritated my skin. Is that possible?

The wave is a product by neutrogena, its this little pink thing that vibrates and you put a cotton pad (it comes with one that has a little salicylic acid on it) on it and scrub your face with it and it lifts off all the dead skin cells and stuff.

Also, is the honey, egg white and lemon mask OK? would it help my marks?

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If the lemon bug yours skin you can try skipping that part. I don't do it because the product I use at night is acidic so it balances out.

That Neutrogena thing sounds brutal, personally. I would just skip that myself and stick with the baking soda.

With all this, it makes me wonder what your skin is like. I would imagine red, dry, and painful.

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I still feel liek I need something daily to get the dead skin off my face? red dry and painful would be a treat. I have dark skin, so I'm oily, and have cheeks and a forehead covered in PIH.

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How long have you been using BP? Because the longer you use it the drier your skin gets. I went a week without moisturizer and then my face cracked and I couldn't open my mouth.

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I've been using BP for a long time now, a few years on and off. more on than off though. But my skin is really oily. my main concern for me is not irritating my skin, getting the dead skin off , keeping the oil away and most importantly, getting rid of the marks left behind after acne.

is an oat scrub a good way to exfoliate daily?

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The red marks just take time. I had cystic acne before the DKR and I still have some, (began the DKR October 1st 2007.)

Since your skin is used to everything I'm going to recommend something called Green Cream. It is a highly talked about subject in the Non Inflamed Acne thread. It belongs to a family of acne products called Retinoids. It makes your skin cell turnover rate happen faster. Essentially your skin renews itself every 30 days. With the use of a retinoid this is sped up to every 5 or 6 days. These are to be used gently and when using one of those you can not do all that you are doing now. I use it myself and I use the baking soda max 1 time a week and my face is constantly pink.

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hey eryka, brilliant post, thanks for the info, i think exfoliation is really important to maintaining healthy skin as well, you just have to know how to do it.

do you think using chemical exfoliation and manual is too harsh? i use neutrogena healthy skin every other night (have been on the dkr 3 months) but it doesnt seem to get rid of all the flakes so i was thinking of trying some baking soda...

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Hm. I have a derm appt. this week, I'll ask about green cream. Thanks for all the help. But i still have one question, the oat scrub? A good way to exfoliate? Then i can drop the wave and use baking soda once or twice a week.

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Howling Bells:

If your skin is used to it, no I don't think chemical and manual is bad. People just combine all of it at once thinking more is better. I would give the baking soda a shot or the Cotton and Oil method for a very gentle yet everyday method.

Hm. I have a derm appt. this week, I'll ask about green cream. Thanks for all the help. But i still have one question, the oat scrub? A good way to exfoliate? Then i can drop the wave and use baking soda once or twice a week.

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Great thread, Eryka. I consider myself an advocate for exfoliation and think the benefits are immense. However I kinda have to disagree about chemical exfoliation not being good for any new regimen.

Did you mean any regimen in general or just the DKR? I agree, it isn't a good idea to use chemical exfoliation during the first months of DKR due to the high amounts of BP the regimen asks for. But one can easily begin with a low-level concentration of either AHAs or BHA on a different regimen and survive with little to no irritation. This isn't necessarily directed at you, Eryka, but I do have to say that I find it ironic that most people give chemical exfoliation a bad name when most AHAs themselves come from natural sources.

I've posted this in the past and will go ahead and add it to this thread as well, I hope you don't mind.

Now i'm going to tell you about the most important part of your skin care routine. The part that makes the greatest difference in the look of your skin. Yet, this is the part that most of you don't do properly. Why not? Because it's somewhat counter-intuitive as per traditional skin-care ideas. So what is this step? Exfoliation.

Now, exfoliation is a serious business. It is perhaps the most critical step in bringing back long lost radiance into your skin. However, the vast majority of the adult population under-exfoliates. Why? Because one of the most skin-care fallacies says, exfoliation or over-exfoliation, may thin the skin in the long run. Now, if you agree, I understand because it's intuitive to think so. However, this statement is completely unfounded scientifically. The skin is a dynamic organ- the more you wear it down the more it grows. Don't be afraid of exfoliation! Most people vastly under-exfoliate. Don't be afraid - as long as you follow directions on the label and apply some common sense.

So, how do you know if you exfoliate enough? Look in the mirror: if you see clogged pores around the nose and forehead, and bumpiness under the skin; if the face is lacking radiance, looks dull and sallow - you are not exfoliationg enough. Most of these problems can be successfully addressed by proper exfoliation. Although we always have to bear in mind that individual results do vary.

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Anytime. Hopefully your Derm is sensitive and understanding. Let us know how it goes!

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Fiyero:

You know, I should really be more specific. When I mentioned chemical exfoliation I had high level retinoids in mind like Green Cream, Tazorac, and Retin A. Normal AHA's and BHA's are quite gentle and can be used with great success and little risk of damage.

I think I'll edit my main post about the chemical bit. Thanks for making me go over it again.

EDIT: I updated the Chemical section. I still think it is good to go easy on this route because everyone's skin is different so you need to give some time for your skin to react, whether positively or negatively.

Fiyero all information is accepted. I think your post was wonderful and insightful. Knowledge is power.

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Fiyero:

You know, I should really be more specific. When I mentioned chemical exfoliation I had high level retinoids in mind like Green Cream, Tazorac, and Retin A. Normal AHA's and BHA's are quite gentle and can be used with great success and little risk of damage.

I think I'll edit my main post about the chemical bit. Thanks for making me go over it again.

EDIT: I updated the Chemical section. I still think it is good to go easy on this route because everyone's skin is different so you need to give some time for your skin to react, whether positively or negatively.

Fiyero all information is accepted. I think your post was wonderful and insightful. Knowledge is power.

Thanks =] And yes, I agree - although chemical exfoliators in low concentration are not likely to burn your skin off, it is still a good idea to use them with proper precaution. Something else that's worth mentioning is that with exfoliation, you aren't going to see overnight changes. It will require time and patience to see any good full-fledged results.

Also, some people have mentioned breakouts, or purging, when beginning to exfoliate. Although I personally did not experience this, it is something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not you want to add exfoliation to your regimen.

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Fiyero, I agree. Light chemical exfoliators pose little threat but after using the Green Cream, I was going through a tough initial breakout. Last week I just jumped to Level 6 and I'm really excited to see the results.

If I ever see LionQueen in real life I'm going to give her a bear hug and a dozen roses.

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I may sound a little noobish, but what's a baking soda?

Not noobish at all. The problem with identifying baking soda is that it is called a lot of different names depending on where you live. In the USA it is called baking soda but in the UK it is called bicarbonate of soda. Singapore is heavily influenced by the UK so I think you'll find it under bicarbonate of soda.

Hope this helps

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How do you feel about the baby brush method for exfoliating for someone on the DKR for about a month?

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How do you feel about the baby brush method for exfoliating for someone on the DKR for about a month?

While I've never done it personally, there are MANY people on the Org. that do. I've heard its gotten rave reviews. If memory serves me, I believe Wynne uses the baby brush method. She may even have a link to it in her signature.

Since you've been on the DKR about a month, I think it would be safe. I don't know your skin but if it is still red and sensitive, I would wait a bit. If on the other hand it is just flakey, I'd go for it.

Remember, it is really easy to overdo exfoliation. You feel like you're not doing much but over a very short period of time, you will see big changes. Take some before and after shots to prove it to yourself.

Hope your baby brushing is great!

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I'm a little confused about using jojoba oil to exfoliate. Should I wet my face first? Or am I supposed to rub the jojoba oil on my face while it's dry? What if I have make-up on? Just rub the oil on top of the make-up?

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