Most of us know how to exfoliate right? It seems easy, scrub away and your skin is ‘exfoliated’ right? Well no, not really!
When it comes to exfoliation, the way we were traditionally taught does not stand the test of time. There are a lot of do’s and don’ts as well as right and wrong when it comes to products, ingredients and methods. So, let’s simplify things.
Exfoliation is the removal of the top, outermost layer of dead cell material. When the skin is healthy and functioning normally, this should not need to be done more than once a week. It’s important to know we don’t want to remove it too quickly or too often. Our skin has its own systems in place to naturally turn over its cells and exfoliate itself, but imbalances and ageing both affect those systems and cause dead cells to build up.
That layer, although the cells are dead, still play a crucial role in our skin. When they get exfoliated too often or too quickly, a message gets sent down saying the protective layer is gone. The skin then produces more cells and rushes them up to the surface. When this happens, the skin can be left feeling dry and rough. Over exfoliation can also lead to water loss in the skin (TEWL) leaving it dehydrated.
Over-exfoliation also disrupts the skin’s protective layer known as the acid mantle. When the mantle is disrupted, it also allows bacteria, fungi and free radicals to go crazy, causing inflammation and more disruption within the skin. We absolutely need that layer functioning correctly.
Some skin conditions do require more exfoliation. In the case of true acne skins, the skin is turning over really quickly but then not exfoliating off, whereas with ageing skin, it’s turning over slowly and not sloughing off. Your skincare professional will tell you if you need more regular exfoliation, but in the meantime stick to once per week. Don’t use rough salt scrubs or harsh chemicals. THROW OUT your apricot scrub, there is no time in a healthy skin journey where apricot scrub is ever appropriate!
Granular exfoliants need to be done in a really careful way and are definitely not suitable for every skin! Finely ground argan peel and bamboo powder can gently and manually remove dead cells. AHA’s and BHA’s when used appropriately, can be used to gently exfoliate the skin and will also draw water up to the surface of the skin, to plump out fine lines and wrinkles and brighten the skin.
Professionally, we use a special kind of dermabrasion to gently slough off dead cells that have been softened by our skin peels, rather than using ablative heads with large suction and damaging the skin.
Please do not scrub your face with sand, salt or coffee or some product off the supermarket shelves. We have beautiful solutions to exfoliate your skin while keeping it healthy and glowing.