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Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells and build up (gross) from the surface of the epidermis.  Regular exfoliation is important to keeping our skin looking and feeling it’s best.

Our skin is continually producing new cells that rise to the surface and die off.  These cells gradually shed making way for the newer cells.  As we age the cell turnover process tends to slow down.  Older cells on the surface take longer to slough off.  This leads to a dry or rough appearance and texture of the skin. The pile up of old skin and debris also clogs the pores, which can cause acne, other blemishes, and a dull skin tone.

Skin exfoliating is beneficial as it removes the old cells and debris, revealing younger, fresher looking skin below.  Regular exfoliation also helps topical skincare products like anti-aging and corrective serums to better penetrate the skin and be more effective.

Important things to consider when choosing an exfoliation routine

  • Over-exfoliating is possible, especially for those with aging or sensitive skin.
    Overdoing it can result in dry and irritated skin.
  • Space out your exfoliation. Proper at home exfoliation should be done 1-3 times per week.  Doing too many exfoliation treatments without the proper amount of healing time between them can thin the skin or cause unwanted irritation.
  • Be aware that exfoliation can leave the skin vulnerable to damage from the sun. Be especially cautious concerning sun exposure right after undergoing a chemical or mechanical treatment.  Wear a sunscreen everyday!

Types of exfoliation

At Home Facial Scrubs with microbeads or crystals that can be used manually by applying to damp skin and gently rubbing in a circular motion.  There are also other methods such as

physically scrubbing the skin with an abrasive exfoliator such as abrasive facial cloths, sponges, brushes or my personal favorite the Clarasonic.  These methods are used between visits to your esthetician to maintain optimal skin health.

Chemical Exfoliation goes deeper into the skin exfoliating from within as well as on the surface.  The use of acids allow the glue like substance that hold cells together to loosen so the dead and old skin cells can slough away from the face.

Chemical exfoliating may include one of the following:

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) such as glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids.

Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) refers specifically to Salicylic Acid.

Mechanical Exfoliation is the process of removing old cells through an abrasive – i.e., the outer layer of the skin is scrubbed or scraped off.  Examples of mechanical include microdermabrasion and dermaplaning.

  • Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment using a diamond tipped wand that glides over the skin removing the top most layers of dead surface cells and buildup from the face. This helps promote healthy cell renewal which leaves the skin with a smoother texture and more radiant tone.
  • Dermaplaning, also a non-invasive treatment using a surgical blade that is moved along the skin at an angle much like shaving. This also removes the top layers of surface cells and buildup from the skin along with the vellus hair (aka peach fuzz) from the face.  Dermaplaning is ideal for those with sensitive skin, unwanted facial hair and even rosacea.

Exfoliation also helps with

  • Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduction in the appearance of deep acne scars
  • Smoother, more even complexion
  • Enhanced penetration of skin care products following treatment

With so many treatment options to choose from, it is important to know which is right for your skin type.  That’s why it is important for you to meet with your esthetician to come up with the perfect customized plan that best fits your needs.

In conclusion, with proper exfoliation you can be on your way to having the healthy, radiant and glowing skin you crave!

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