Great skin care is fairly straightforward once you understand the basics. Professional dermalogical or spa services certainly can help, often in radical ways that you couldn’t achieve at home- however the crux of your skin’s health is dependent on you and what you do in your home routine. Exfoliation is absolutely key.
What is Exfoliation?
To put it simply, exfoliation is a process of removing the top layer of the dead skin cells. The cells, complete in their life process, are essentially still clinging to your skin, face and body when they no longer need to be there. If built up and not sloughed off with exfoliation, they can make you appear older, have drier and less vibrant looking skin. Dead skin cells do remove themselves naturally as the newer cells push through, but exfoliation keeps the process fresh, making sure that your new fresher skin is always shining through. Exfoliating the skin also improves the skin’s ability to receive serums and other moisturizers that can help protect and rejuvinate the skin, which is why exfoliation is so important in facials as well as other body treatments. Skin and spa professionals know that exfoliation is the main benefit to most of their services.
Types of Exfoliation
Exfoliation can fall into two categories- mechanical and chemical.
Mechanical exfoliation occurs anytime there is a physical caused reaction, such as using a beaded face scrub, a coffee or salt scrub, dry brushing, the loofah sponge you use to scrub your back, or a professional microdermabrasion treatment. When it comes to your face you’ll want to be much more picky- choosing a manual exfoliant that is gentle yet effective is key. A gentle beaded scrub approved by an esthetician or dermatologist, along with an exfoliation brush like the Clairisonic or other complimentary exfoliator are great for manunally exfoliating your face. When it comes to the rest of your body, general body brushes and coarse scrubs are great.
Chemical exfoliation has nothing to do with any rubbing or scrubbing but is all about the reaction of different chemicals on your face. This is where chemical peels come in and at home glycolic and lactic acid peels that you can do regularly. Common chemical exfoliants are enzymes, AHAs and BHAs. While people can use these ingredients on their whole body, such exfoliation products are typically made for the face.
Keep in mind the main purpose of exfoliation on your face and body is to speed up cell turnover, which inturn keeps your skin looking more youthful because the keratinized dead cells are removed. As a person gets older the dead skin cells don’t slough off as quickly, therefore you’ll need to more exfoliate, with a mechanical or chemical exfoliant (or both).
Do’s and Don’t to Skin Exfoliation
Body exfoliation and facial exfoliation are two different animals. The skin of the body is tougher and can withstand what the thinner skin of the face cannot. Exfoliate the skin appropriately.
Never do too much. Keep it gentle when exfoliating. More is not necessarily more.
Although doctor’s do it- avoid microdermabrasion, professional mechanical exfoliation treatment. It can physically thin the skin and break the capillaries underneath.
Wear sunscreen, you should be doing this anyway, but you especially want cover up if you are exfoliating regularly because the skin will be more prone to sun damage.
Body brushing is essentially way of exfoliating your entire body. Dry brushing is a great, easy and cheap at home skin treatment you can do for yourself.