Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. This can be done mechanically, with a brush or scrub, or chemically with alpha or beta hydroxy acids. Exfoliation is great for maintaining healthy skin and preventing the build-up of dead skin cells, which can lead to clogged pores and dullness.
Here are some of the benefits of maintaining a consistent exfoliating routine:
- Improved skin texture and reduced congestion - Small bumps, blackheads, and regular pimples develop when oil (sebum) and dirt get trapped in the skin by dead skin cells. Exfoliating helps keep pores clear of debris so oils can exit.
- Increased product absorption - Removing dead skin cells allows product to penetrate the epidermis more easily.
- Encourages skin cell turnover - Your skin cells are always regenerating but this process slows down as we age. Regular exfoliating helps to speed it up.
- Assists in extractions - If you need to get rid of blackheads, this will prep the skin.
- Targets dull skin - Gives dull skin a radiant glow.
- Improves hydration - It helps skin retain moisture.
Alpha-hydroxy Acids - These include glycolic, lactic acid, and citric acid. They are acids that dissolve dead skin cells and the intracellular 'glue' that holds them together.
Enzymes - Digests dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.
Enzyme Peels - Breaks down the protein in skin called keratin.
Granular - These are granular scrubs within products that rub dead skin cells off the surface of skin. Facial skin should be treated gently so we use jojoba beads that are smooth spheres to gently remove them. The bonus of mechanical exfoliants is that they also stimulate blood flow and reduce puffiness.
Brushing - A soft brush is recommended for facial skin but you can go with something a bit more course for your body like our Dry Brushes that stimulate circulation while making skin ultra smooth.
It is recommended that you exfoliate your facial skin 2 - 3 times per week but if you have problem areas, you can spot treat them once daily. For instance if you have a break out on your chin, you can just scrub that area. Listen to your skin. If you get dry, flaky, or red, you may have overdone it.
We've dedicated a page to Exfoliants and there are quite a few options. You may notice that we prefer mechanical exfoliation on your face. This is because we have a lot of customers with dry, sensitive, aging skin. Alpha hydroxy acids can be harsh and can damage skin's natural barrier. It also makes it more vulnerable to UV rays contributing to aging.
All in all, exfoliating is great for seeing immediate results. Nothing like removing some dead skin cells to get smoother, softer skin but make sure that you don't overdo it because your barrier is extremely important for keeping skin healthy. Use products and tool that are appropriate for your skin.