How do I exfoliate my skin?
We know that good skin care is important to maintaining our youthful appearance. Part of that maintenance involves the exfoliation of your top layers of dead skin cells through two different processes: Chemical or mechanical exfoliation. Which is best?
Both chemical and mechanical work well when done properly. Both can cause further damage if done to often or to vigorously. Done correctly though, you can see amazing results.
- Your skin will absorb your other products better such as serums and even moisturizers
- Your makeup (if done in the morning) will apply smoother
- Skin tone may appear more even
- Better skin texture (smoother)
Do I have your attention now? Then let’s get to it.
This process uses chemicals such as alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids to disolve the “glue” that binds old skin cells together on the surface of your skin. It also may use enzymes such as pumpkin, papaya, and pineapple. There is no scrubbins or scrapping with chemical exfoliation either.
This mechanical process uses a tool to remove those top superficial “dead” layers. Tools include such things as a brush or a scrub that contains abrasive particles to physically remove the unwanted cells. Other forms of mechanical exfoliation include microdermabrasion and dermaplaning, which are conducted in a doctor’s or licensed esthetician’s office. Dermaplaning is considered more gentle than microabrasion when used for the proper skin type.
- Brushes are a more gentle way to exfoliate. They rub away dead skin cells and remove excess oil, leftover makeup, dirt, and sunscreen. Do your homework and know what your goal is. Not all are made to get the same results. Some increase collagen production to target fine lines and wrinkles, while others focus on diminishing the appearance of pores. They also come in different shapes and sizes and some are even waterproof. Costs vary, but range from approximately $10 – 100. Want some suggestions on brushes? Brush suggestions
- Scrubs are a great way to exfoliate. They can help remove that top layer of superficial or dead skin, which helps your skin look more radiant and fresh. This allows your skin to absorb your products better, like moisturizers and anti-aging products. With consistant use, you will also see a difference in your makeup application as it will apply more even and smooth. “In addition to revealing fresh skin cells, exfoliating removes dead cells from pores, making them appear smaller,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a Manhattan derm. Think about when you paint a piece of furniture. You must first sand the item to remove all of the old products left on it. Once done, the new paint will apply evenly and last. Same concept with exfoliating your skin. Remove the buildup and top layers of dead skin to allow needed moisture to penetrate the other skin layers. There are numerous products to choose from, such as these from Sephora, but my absolute favorites are two that I swear helped to change my own skin drastically.
I personally had terrible skin that was dry, leathery to the touch and wrinkled after years of sun worshipping. I laid out with baby oil on my face and body and Sun-In in my hair. Needless to say, my skin took a beating and at age 40, I found myself looking in the mirror and hating what I saw. I felt old and much like one of those shrunken heads on the Jungle ride at Disneyland. NOT a good look.
With consistent work, my skin has changed drastically. I even get compliments now about how soft and dewy my skin looks. WOW! To have people compliment me on my 48 year old skin feels amazing. It makes me feel great! Being complimented and told your skin looks better 8 years later is incredible. It is a fabulous feeling! One I want to share with you.
Afterall, who doesn’t want to feel and look younger? Two of the products that helped me accomplish this are by SeneGence. The Resurfacer and Exfoliator. Both products are made with Volcanic Ash and Nangai Oil which help with exfoliation and moisturization of the skin.
- Dermaplaning is an effective exfoliating treatment in which a doctor or esthetician uses a surgical scalpel to gently scrape off any dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and (along with the peach fuzz on your face). Are you wondering “Why? Is this necessary? Should I just shave?” The layers of dead skin (or cornflakes as I refer to them) and tiny hairs can make your complexion appear dull, flaky, and can even cause breakouts due to clogged pores or hair follicles.
Sounds like shaving right? Not exactly. Shaving removes that top layer of dead skin with the hair, but there is a different level of exfoliation with this process. A technician will plane the skin in different levels of depth and unlike other forms of exfoliation, this can only be done every two weeks. Cost is typically between $75 – 150
- Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure used to renew overall skin tone and texture. It is done in a series of treatments for best results and can help even out your skin color and texture. Often you are looking at between 5-16 treatment sessions. Costs range from around $75- 150 per session.
Video on Microdermabrasion
How often should you exfoliate:
Exfoliation is important, but over doing it can cause chronic skin irritations and inflammation which can actually lead to accelerated aging. Excuse me? Yes, you read that correctly. According to studies, too much can strip the skin of natural oils causing breakouts and over time, causing the skin to actually thin, potentially creating “more” wrinkles.
As stated by Dr. Tanzi , exfoliation 2-3 times a week is usually safe for normal and combination skin, but only once a week for sensitive skin. These time frames vary with types of exfoliation used as well. Dermaplaning is recommended once every two weeks and no more.
Basically it all comes down to the methods and products being used as well as your skin type. Do your research. Ask questions and try things out. Be sure to explain what your desired results are when talking to somebody about exfoliation. Your desires could make a difference in what treatment plan is best suited for your particular needs.
Just remember …to much of a good thing is not always a good thing! Everybody needs to exfoliate though! Either chemical or mechanical, but just do it!