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Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the very first layer of our skin, improving the texture and appearance. Naturally, skin cells renew themselves continuously. Children’s skin is soft and smooth because this process happens faster. As we age, everything in our body slows down, and so does the cell renewal. The general rule is that for a skin cell to shed away completely, it needs as many days as our age. If we are 35years old, that is how many days a skin cell needs to shed off. Hence the reason a pimple in our 30ies lingers much longer compared to our teenage years.
Including exfoliating products in our regular skincare routine will aid the process of skin cell renewal. It will bring a smoother and brighter complexion. In addition, proper protocol and products will help to clear out breakouts and pore congestion.
Two methods of exfoliation can be included in a home care regimen or a treatment at the SPA.
In the group of mechanically exfoliating products belong facial and body scrubs. They are designed to physically scrape dead skin cells from the surface. Jojoba beads, grounded almond powder, fruit seeds, poppy seeds, and sugar – are some of the ingredients that can be incorporated into facial scrub to achieve a physical exfoliation. In addition, certain grounded herbs can give the scrubbing effect and be included in a facial or body exfoliation treatment bringing many skincare benefits.
Taking a gentle and balanced approach to a physical exfoliation is key to achieving the desired result without damaging the skin. The particles in the scrub should always feel soft on the skin’s surface. If they are too harsh minor cuts can happen on the skin and create possible sensitization over time. The best way to know if a scrub is gentle enough for your skin will be the sensation. If you feel pain while exfoliating, that should be a sign to stop. See if diluting the scrub with water or oil will make any difference. Always take a gentler approach when it comes to exfoliation.
In SPA treatment with a physical exfoliation is microdermabrasion. There are different levels of “abrasiveness” to this treatment, for which the esthetician will decide according to your skin type. I always suggest beginning slow and gentle, observing your skin’s reaction, and going deeper and stronger on your next treatment. Thicker skin types can handle more abrasive treatment. If your skin appears thinner and bruises easily, I would hold off on this treatment and consider chemical exfoliation instead.
Tarli’s Face Mask is gentle, exfoliating weekly treatment with clays that deeply cleanse the pores and removes old skin cells. Boosted with mushroom powders and herbal blend, reveals bright and smooth skin complexion after the first 10 minutes.
2. Chemical exfoliation:
This process works by loosening up the bond between the cells on the skin’s surface, stimulating cell turnover. They can also help pigmented areas, soften rough skin, and heal areas prone to breakouts.
Ingredients that belong to this group of exfoliants are alpha and beta hydroxy acids: salicylic acid, glycolic, lactic, and malic acid, to name a few. These acids are derived directly from plants and fruit in natural skincare products. For example, the natural form of salicylic acid is willow bark extract. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane, grapes, or sugar beets. Citric acid from citric fruits. Lactic acid from dairy products (consider this if you are vegan). Malic acid from apples.
The benefits of exfoliation with hydroxy acids are pretty vast. We see improvement in brighter skin tone, smoother texture, thickening of the epidermis, which improves the collagen and elastin, tighter skin with a smoother appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, tightening of the pores, and improvement in acne and breakouts.
There are different levels of this type of exfoliation, from mild everyday cleansers, serums, and masks that can be incorporated into a home care routine to chemical peel treatments that can be done in the SPA setting by a professional.
A gentle and conservative approach to acids is crucial in achieving the desired result without damaging the skin barrier.
3. Enzymes for sensitive skin exfoliation:
The third type of exfoliating products are those that contain enzymes. These ingredients are added to cleansers or masks, and their purpose is to dissolve the keratin proteins on the skin, making it softer and smoother. Enzymes are much gentler to the skin compared to hydroxy acids, and if you have sensitive or sensitized skin, this should be the approach to take.
Natural enzymes are papain from papaya fruit, bromelain from pineapple, and many more, usually derived from fruits.
Any skin type can benefit from enzymes, and there are not many precautions to take, besides that you always need to patch test a product before you try it out first.
While exfoliation is a significant and necessary step in everyone’s skincare routine, overdoing it can result in a compromised skin barrier, which will bring sensitivity to the skin. This is called sensitized skin.
Exfoliating masks should be used 1-2 times per week. I do not suggest using cleansers that contain scrubbing particles daily. 3-to 4 times per week should be enough. With caution, serums and cleansers containing mild hydroxy acids can be used once per day.
We are often bombarded with many great and effective products on the market, not knowing which one to choose. Understanding your skin’s behavior and learning about these three basic steps will guide you to what works best for your particular skin type and condition. This is crucial to create a balanced, radiant and supple skin.
Once you are confident in the basics of your own skin, targeting other issues the skin might be experiencing will come much more manageable and effective.
The three basic steps for achieving healthy and glowing skin according to your skin type: