Do’s & Don’t of Exfoliation. Let’s Find out the Facts.
The other day, while on vacation, I decided to treat myself to a facial at a high end resort. I was actually feeling a little smug because I knew that my skin would be better than most since I own a medical spa. Well, before I keep tooting my own horn, I need to make a confession. Prior to my vacation, I was so busy getting ready to “Relax” that I neglected my skin care routine at home. I was basically just washing my face and falling into bed at night. I stopped exfoliating, and really caring for my skin.
Fast forward to my relaxing Facial treat and I was appalled as the esthetician told me I needed to exfoliate and that I had a bunch of blackheads on my nose! Let me just tell you, that brought my “relaxation” to a screeching halt! It made me think, are we making sure that our clients know the importance of exfoliation?
What exactly is EXFOLIATION?
EXFOLIATION helps remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, keeping it fresh and healthy looking. Radiant skin requires exfoliation. The body naturally exfoliates through the process of desquamation or cell turn over. A new skin cell is born in the deepest layer of the epidermis and during its lifespan, migrates to the upper most layer of the skin. By the time it arrives at the top, the skin cell is basically dead and when the younger, perkier cells come up from below, the older cells are given the boot. The entire cycle, from birth to slough, takes about 28 days, depending on your age.
This brings another important factor. The rate of cell turn over slows as we age. This is a factor causing our skin to look flaky and dull. Dead skin cells that tend to linger are trouble makers that cause pigmentation, inconsistencies, dull completion, block and irritated pores that can become unsightly blemishes, It is especially a problem for acne skin. Acne and oily skin are already dealing with a skin turnover process that is a little slower than ideal, disproportional shedding; meaning the skin has even more dead skin cells to fend off.
To regain the same shine and youthful appearance, exfoliation is a mandatory regime. If it is done on regular basis, it will improve the skin renewal process and minimize the bad effects of sun rays, dirt and dead cells on the skin.
3 TYPES OF EXFOLIATION
- MANUAL EXFOLIATION– This method depends on scrubbing and rubbing to remove dead skin cells. Scrubbing granules can cause irritation, redness or slight wounds on the face.
- Ingredients such as, crushed irregular shaped oyster shells, seeds, apricot pits, or any inexpensive or exotic “natural” or “unnatural” material suiting a product line. In extreme over use with abrasive scrubs the jagged granules can cause microscopic lacerations on the surface, sometimes leading to a tough feel as your body forms microscopic calluses against the constant abrasion. Manual exfoliators are not for severe acne, fragile skin, broken capillaries called telangiectasis (tel-an-gi-ec-ta-sis), or any skin type and condition that can’t tolerate pressure or friction.
- CHEMICAL- This type of exfoliation loosens the bonds that hold dead skin cells on the skins surface with AHA, Retinoids. There are many types that vary from progressive to deep working within the epidermis, these chemical peels fall within the aesthetic range. Proper protocol and guidelines are required. An professional understanding of each skin type and knowledge of the potential of each ingredient is a must. Therefore, it is crucial to follow your skin care professional’s advice. ONLY allow an experienced professional to perform chemical peels in a trusted environment.
- ENZYMES are proteins that are vegetable, fruit, dairy or plant-derived to digest dead cells, giving skin a smoother, more polished appearance. Think of them like little “Pacmans” chomping up dead skin. Enzymes are designed to be used weekly as part of your at home care routine. They provide a light exfoliation and good maintenance between professional visits.
So now that you know exactly what Exfoliation is, and the top 3 ways to properly and gently exfoliate your skin you can show off beautiful skin.
I am happy to report that after the esthetican performed extractions, I was able to relax for the remainder of the facial. And, like a child reprimanded by a teacher, I have made sure to be extra vigiliant about using my enzymes at home for weekly exfoliation and then work with my regular esthetician to schedule chemical peels as needed, and other services to make sure that I keep breakouts at a minimum and will only receive rave compliments whenever I go back to a resort for a facial.