Exfoliation is the key to beautiful skin. Unfortunately, it is the step that most people miss in their weekly skin care routine. Here’s the good news: if you start properly exfoliating your skin, you will notice an almost immediate difference.
What is Exfoliation? It is a technique where the layer of mostly dead epidermal cells on the outer surface of the skin is removed to expose fresher mostly living cells. Exfoliating has a number of skin benefits: it will give you fresher, brighter looking skin, it will result in better penetration of the active ingredients in your skin care products and, for people with excessively oily skin, it will give you a varying degree of reduction in oil secretion.
Types of Exfoliation: There are two types of exfoliation, physical and chemical.
#1 Physical Exfoliation: includes the use of a scrub (like our Exfoliating Cleanser) or a microdermabrasion treatment. Not all exfoliating scrubs are created equal. When looking for a good exfoliating scrub, you want to use a product that uses polyethelene beads rather than apricot pits. Apricot pits are hard and gritty, and can actually rupture or damage the skin. Microdermabrasion is mechanical exfoliation that removes the uppermost layer of dead skin cells from the face, chest and hands. Microdermabrasion takes about 20 minutes and there’s no down-time for the skin to recover.
How Often? Physical Exfoliation: With physical exfoliation, I recommend exfoliating two times per week. Note: for those with extremely dry or sensitive skin, exfoliation may cause irritation. So if you have dry or sensitive skin, I recommend getting an enzyme peel in lieu of using a scrub.
Tip: When exfoliating, be gentle! Being too harsh with physical exfoliants can cause irritation and redness. Place a quarter size of the exfoliant in your hands and very gently buff the skin in circular motions for 30 seconds, then remove by rinsing the face 5-10 times.
#2 Chemical Exfoliation: You can also exfoliate the skin using chemicals, either by getting a chemical/enzyme peel or using skin care products with chemical exfoliates in them. With chemical exfoliation, the acids and enzymes work by loosening the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to peel away.
Typical chemical peels use either salicylic acid, glycolic acid or fruit enzymes that are applied to the skin in high concentrations by an esthetician or dermatologist. Chemical exfoliants can also be found in lower concentrations in skin care products (like our popular Reveal 10 and Kiss Zit Goodbye).
How Often? Chemical Exfoliation: Depending on your skin type, we recommend getting 3 to 4 peels a year as the seasons change. In the hour it takes to get a chemical peel, you can take off five years from your face. Exfoliating skin care products should be used in the PM, 3-4 nights a week.