Exfoliation is the process of removing the outermost layer of dead keratinized skin cells. When we are young, the process is very efficient so the old cells don’t need very much help departing the body. But as we age everything slows down and the old skin cells can become trapped within the epidermal layers resulting in a dull, devitalized appearance.
There are three main methods of exfoliation that will improve the look of your skin, and will range from mild to more aggressive.
A manual exfoliation refers to applying an exfoliating product over the skin, either gently massaging or as leave on mask, designed to loosen and remove dead skin cells. A gentle scrub, with ingredients such Jojoba beads, is typically good for all skin types and is a very mild form of exfoliation. Serums containing AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) or lactic acids are topically applied and left on as an easy alternative to Scrubs. These are at home treatments, generally done one to two times a week depending on age and skin type. There are also many types of facials that utilize a more concentrated AHA or lactic acid in the form of a mask.
A mechanical style exfoliation refers to a device designed to loosen and remove the outermost layer of the epidermis. Microdermabrasion applies either fine crystals or a diamond tip on the surface of the skin, reaching deeper layers of the skin and is performed by a skincare professional. Microdermabrasion can treat many skin concerns including fine lines, large pores and uneven pigmentation. If you haven’t done much exfoliation, it is usually a good idea to initially begin with a series of 4 treatments spaced 14 days apart and continue from there with maintenance at regular intervals to optimize the results.
Lastly there are skin peels. A peel is a more accelerated form of exfoliation, removing the stratum corneum (layer of dead skin cells in the upper part of the epidermis). Peels range from mild with no down time to moderate with a little downtime to aggressive with more down time. The objective is to remove the outer layer triggering the body’s natural rejuvenation process and speed up cellular turnover. The end result is fresh new vibrant and healthy skin.
Whichever method of exfoliation you choose you will definitely notice a visible benefit. Your skin will be smoother and radiant. Your makeup application will have a more flawless finish. And one of the most important benefits is that the products you use will penetrate further and be more effective leaving you looking and feeling your best.
And don’t forget, your body benefits from exfoliation process as well … more to come on that.
- There is such a thing as too much of a good thing… there is no need to over exfoliate. Skin needs time to regenerate itself.
- LED light treatments are an ideal compliment to an optimally exfoliated skin, promoting the body’s own rejuvenation process naturally.
- If you are uncertain on what your skin needs, stop by to see your skin care professional as they will be more than happy to make recommendations and work with you to make your skin the best it can be.