What You'll Learn
- 1 What is Exfoliation
What is Exfoliation
Although this process is known to women all over the world but still a frequently asked question is – What really is exfoliation? Basically, “Exfoliation” is the removal of the dead, keratinized skin cells sitting on the skin’s surface.
Exfoliation leaves the skin smoother and fresher looking, and makes it easier for expensive facial products like serums to penetrate the skin’s surface. It is an important part of both professional facials and body treatments. And most important, it makes makeup application appear smoother and less cake-face looking.
However, exfoliation is a double-edged sword. It is easy to overdo facial exfoliation, especially, at home with overzealous scrubbing and cheap products like apricot kernel scrubs.
The skin on the rest of your body can take more vigorous exfoliation, more frequently but the skin on our face is a lot more sensitive and thin-especially around under-eyes.
How to Exfoliate
Exfoliation needs to be done all over your body – not just on your face. It is so important. It gets rid your skin of excess dead skin cells and regenerates existing ones. It also helps other skin care products get absorbed more quickly. Plus, it’s good for prepping your skin before shaving.
However, over-exfoliation can actually be too harsh and worsen your skin’s appearance. So, it’s advisable to learn the proper way to exfoliate different body parts, in addition to understanding your skin type.
Different Types of Exfoliation
Depending on your skin’s needs and skin type, there are a number of different options for exfoliation including:
- Granular Scrubs: There are many over-the-counter body washes and facial cleansers which contain tiny granules that remove dead skin when applied in gentle circular motions. The granules should be fine and round, like a sugar scrub – not jagged. A good rule of thumb is to avoid nut shells (i.e. walnuts) and fruit pits, as they can cause microscopic tears in the skin.
- Microdermabrasion: The microdermabrasion machine uses tiny crystals, a diamond tip, or even a vacuum to remove dead skin cells from your face. New, healthy skin cells replace the old ones, leaving you with bright, smooth skin. This procedure should be done by a dermatologist or esthetician.
- Dermaplaning: Although similar to microdermabrasion, dermaplaning goes deeper by using a scalpel to gently scrape off dead skin cells on your face. This procedure should also be done by a dermatologist or esthetician.
- Loofahs: Great for those hard-to-reach areas on your body. Also, they are not for face exfoliation purposes. Loofahs are used in the bath or shower. In order to benefit from it, gently rub in circular motions and focus on your elbows, knees, heels, and the soles of your feet. Remember to replace your loofah in every 3-4 weeks, and hang it to dry in a well-ventilated area to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
- Pumice Stones: A pumice stone is an excellent tool for removing stubborn dead skin from elbows, knees, heels, and the soles of your feet. Again, rub gently. Rubbing too harshly can make you end up with scratches, scars and bruises.Treat yourself to a pedicure while you’re at it. You can keep your pumice stone until it disintegrates – just be sure to sanitize it by putting it in boiling water or scrubbing it with liquid dish detergent.
- Peels: Performed by a dermatologist or esthetician, chemical peels use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), or retinoic acids to aid in cell turnover. They’re not as harsh as they sound. In actuality, peels help you get bright, smooth facial skin (for a “glowy” effect).
- Masks: Face masks with chemical ingredients can be used at home – just be sure to follow the instructions. Look for masks with citric acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or mandelic acid – all of which are excellent exfoliants.
- Brushes: Electronic cleansing brushes with gentle bristles are an easy way to give your skin some radiance. Different types are available for your face and body but don’t use too much pressure.
Exfoliation on different Skin Types
Another most frequently asked question is that how often should skin be put through the process of exfoliation? According to different skincare specialists, you should to it do it after every 1 week.
You can choose different ways to exfoliate at home, with cleanser or a face mask. If you notice any irritation, give your skin a break. The personal favorite of many are apricot exfoliating cleansers. They smell divine and brightens up the complexion without being too harsh.
Benefits of Skin Exfoliation
Immediately after exfoliation, results become apparent. By removing the top layer of dead skin cells, your skin can look brighter and feel smoother. Topical treatments, such as moisturizer, become more effective as they penetrate deeper. Exfoliation also helps to stimulate circulation in your blood vessels.
Long-term benefits of exfoliation can include a boost in collagen production, which leads to younger-looking skin. Exfoliation is especially beneficial if you have premature fine lines and wrinkles (due to UV exposure or lifestyle), and for those who suffer from non-inflammatory acne (like blackheads and whiteheads).
- Don’t go overboard
- For more aggressive procedures, like chemical peels or microdermabrasion, exfoliating a few times at your dermatologist’s office every couple of weeks is sufficient.
- Pay attention to product labels
- If you’re buying over-the-counter, check the chemical ingredients for a low acid concentration.
- Ask your dermatologist, better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re still unsure of the best way to proceed with exfoliation, ask a board-certified dermatologist.
Why Over-Exfoliation is Bad
If you exfoliate your face too much, your skin can become sensitized. That means you have literally made it prone to redness, acne and irritation. Instead of taking care of your skin, you’ve made it worse. You also have to be careful about exposing yourself to the sun after you exfoliate. Don’t get an aggressive chemical facial peel and expose your skin to direct heat and sunlight.
Another issue with consequences for the environment is the presence of microbeads in many facial and body scrubs. They are cheap for manufacturers to use and consumers may feel they are “working”, but the microbeads wash down the drain, pass unfiltered through sewage treatment plants and make their way into rivers and canals, where fish may eat them. ALL companies have to stop using microbeads in their products by July 2017, according to federal law.
In the meantime, there are plenty of exfoliants that don’t use microbeads
Exfoliation is a great step to add to your skincare regimen, and by following a few necessary steps you can achieve benefits of healthy and smooth looking skin!
What are your thoughts on exfoliation? Let us know down below in the comments section!