Our skin is constantly renewing itself by generating new skin cells (the average cell turnover rate is every 28 days) at the lower layer of the skin & the new cells rise to the surface of the skin. As the cells rise to the surface they eventually die & become filled with keratin. These keratinized skin cells protect our skin & as time passes the old protecting cells are replaced with new cells that rise from below.
As we age the process of cell turnover slows down significantly – all these cells that before were constantly sloughing off, now pile up unevenly on the skin’s surface. These piles of skin make it look dull, dry, rough & unhealthy.
Exfoliation is a process that removes these old dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Exfoliation is necessary as it helps to remove those cells that are clinging on by revealing the fresher & younger skin cells below.
The thing to keep in mind is the goal of exfoliation. It should leave your skin feeling softer and looking healthier — not red and irritated. If you over-exfoliate, you could end up doing more harm than good.
What Skin Care Problems Can Exfoliating Resolve?
- Blemished skin
- Post-breakout red/dark marks
- Clogged pores
- Dry skin
- Rough skin
- Aging skin
How Often Should You Exfoliate?
There are many methods for exfoliation from treatments and products available for home use to more advanced ways of exfoliation that can be provided by your aesthetician.
In general there are two types of exfoliation:
- A “chemical” or “acid” exfoliation dissolves the dead skin cells (Glycolic Acid, AHAs and BHA, and enzymes such as Pumpkin, Papaya, and Pineapple). Try a mild AHA exfoliator for gentle chemical peeling.
- A “physical” exfoliation means that the dead skin cells are simply rubbed off the surface (facial brushes, sponges, and facial scrubs).
Usually the best exfoliating results will be achieved when using both methods in conjunction. For example use a mild AHA serum before night cream for seven nights and then give your skin a break for the next seven nights. Combine it with a very gentle scrub once a week to remove the dissolved skin cells.
If you have very sensitive skin try enzymatic exfoliants instead of the acids as these are a bit more gentle on the delicate skin.
Moisturize Your Skin After Exfoliating
Very gentle and regular exfoliation lifts away the dead cells at the surface and reveals the healthy skin underneath. This will not only make your skin brighter, but it will also feel softer, absorbs your skin care products better and looks much smoother.