Q&A: Why Exfoliate?

Believe it or not: real men play sports, drink beer and take care of their skin. Skeptical? Well, you can take Mintel’s word for it. According to a 2014 report, U.S. sales in the men’s personal care market (aka: grooming) jumped 19 per cent in five years, making it a $4.1 billion dollar industry. In fact, Mintel even predicts sales in this category will grow to a whopping $4.6 billion by 2019. No matter which way you look at it, that’s a whole lot of men spending their hard-earned cash on moisturizer, shaving products and exfoliator.  

Just in case you now have a perplexed look on your face—you get the numbers, you can even rationalize the moisturizer and shave stuff, but the exfoliators? Let us explain.

Exfoliating your face and neck once a week with a gritty-feeling facial product, mask or in some cases a small brush is a good thing, healthy even, and can make your skin look better when you’re done. “It helps to smooth the skin for an improved appearance and feel and it rids the skin of dry flakes and dead skin cells for a better glow,” affirms Charmaine Cooper, the education manager, The International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica Canada. “Plus, it helps to improve the skin’s natural cell renewal rate as that natural metabolic process slows down with age.” With all of that skin cell elimination and decongested pore, you’ll also benefit from a closer shave. Exfoliators even help to lift the hair follicle and help eliminate ingrown hairs.

So where should you spend your money? Since there are multiple options to choose from, Cooper recommends picking an exfoliant that is best suited to your skin type.


Exfoliate with a Scrub: Typically packaged in squeeze tubes or containers with a pump, this form of exfoliant is cream- or gel-based and replete with gritty, sandy or bead-like ingredients.
Benefit: “Scrubs use abrasive ingredients [think: rice, jojoba or synthetic beads, salt, pumice stone or apricot kernels, sugar, coffee grounds] to smooth the outer most part of the skin’s surface,” explains Cooper.
AmongMen recommends: Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant is $52 and available at spas across Canada and online at www.dermalogica.ca.


Exfoliate with a Mask: Typically packaged in a squeeze tube or a tub-like container, masks generally have a thick and smooth consistency.
Benefit: The actual mask and its ingredients help to “purify and detoxify the skin,” says Cooper. “When it is physically removed off of the skin, it exfoliates.”
AmongMen recommends: Avene Cleance Mask is $27 and available at Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Canada.


Exfoliate with a Facial Brush: These small, hand-held brushes have soft, flexible bristles that can be physically or electronically manipulated.
Benefit: Brushes are supportive tools that help enhance the performance of cleansers, product capsules and scrubs. They can even “help to strengthen the muscles of the face by providing the additional element of exercise for the face,” says Cooper.
AmongMen recommends: Clinical Luxury by Nature Superfood Mask + Scrub is $39 and available online at www.clinicalluxurybynature.com with the Clarisonic Smart Profile for $299 and available at Sephora stores across Canada.


Exfoliate with a Skin-Safe Acid: “These are exfoliators contain safe to use acids,” says Cooper, such as glycolic, hyaluronic, salicylic and lactic acids.
Benefit: These types of exfoliants use mild-level acids to renew the skin. They deep clean, lock in moisture, fight bacteria and inflammation and improve scarring or pigmentation.
AmongMen recommends: Jack Black  Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser is $22 and is available at www.getjackback.ca.

Adriana Ermter

Adriana is an award-winning writer and editor. The former beauty director for FASHION magazine and editor-in-chief of Salon and of Childview magazines has hosted beauty videos for fashionmagazine.com, as well as contributed to Men’s FASHION, Chatelaine and chatelaine.com, Flare and flare.com, Huffington Post Canada, National Post, AmongMen.com, thekit.ca, iVillage.ca and thewhaleandtherose.com. She lives in Toronto with her very spoiled feline, Trixie-Belle, and a fantastically large perfume collection.

You may follow Adriana on Twitter: @AErmter and on Instagram: AdrianaErmter.

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