Lifting the lid on Exfoliation!
What are skin cells?
The skin is made up of different layers and several types of cells each with an important function for keeping you safe and healthy. Skin cells grow and divide in the basement membrane. From here, new cells get pushed up into the epidermis (outer most layer of the skin) and once in the epidermis the cells no longer receive blood or nutrients.They begin the slow process of dying and eventually they reach the outermost layer of the skin and slough themselves off.
The human skin produces about 36 million new skin cells every day. In younger skin, dead skin cells fall off in a pre-programmed method every 28 days but as we age cellular renewal slows down and many of those dead skin cells don’t shed properly, leaving them clinging to the surface of the skin. Although they are too tiny to actually see, these dead skin cells can be contaminated with pollutants and can make your skin look dull and lifeless, can cause clogged pores and skin breakouts and block any other skincare products from properly absorbing into the skin rendering them ineffective.
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is key to maintaining healthy functioning skin and is simply the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin using an exfoliant. Many facials include exfoliation within their protocol and all skin types and skin conditions can benefit from some form of exfoliation.
What are the different exfoliation methods?
Exfoliants on the market today run in two lanes: physical and chemical and although they share the same goal to remove dead skin, the two types of exfoliation are completely different.
Physical (Mechanical) Exfoliation is the most traditional of exfoliation methods and uses small granules or an abrasive agent to manually scrub away dead skin cells.Typically, this form of exfoliation can sometimes irritate the skin and cause redness, inflammation and microscopic tears so for the skin on the face these scrubs should always be very gentle.
Chemical Exfoliation is all about using acids on the skin which might sound scary but they are very effective in solving multiple skin concerns. The world of acids can be divided into two categories - alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Both work by gently breaking the bonds (or glue) that holds the skin cells together encouraging cell desquamation and dissolving the outermost layers of skin. The difference between AHAs and BHAs is their solubility. AHAs are water soluble and do not penetrate as deep within the skin so suitable for even sensitive skin. They encourage cellular renewal, improve texture and tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. BHAs are oil soluble and often penetrate much deeper into the skin. They are ideal for those struggling with an oil-slick T zone, clogged pores and breakouts.
What are the key benefits of exfoliation?
There are so many benefits of ‘scrubbing up’ and exfoliation is one of the most essential elements of a skincare routine no matter what your skin type is. It is so much more than just about shifting dead skin cells and can be the key to keeping skin healthy, glowing, soft and younger for longer.
#1 for dry skin – it lifts away flaky skin and smooths roughness and allows for better absorption of hydrating skincare ingredients to tackle the problem.
#2 for congested skin – it unblocks pores and dissolves trapped sebum which can lead to breakouts
#3 For ageing skin – it improves cellular turnover and collagen synthesis both important to keeping skin plump, smooth and youthful.
#4 for dull skin – it boosts circulation and improves lymphatic drainage helping to eliminate toxins from the skin and energising the complexion.
#5 for sun-damaged skin – it removes layers of dead darkened cells that hold the accumulated brown pigment evening out skin tone.
#6 For Men’s skin - it helps to expose the hair follicles and prepare the skin for a better and closer shave and eliminates ingrown hairs.
#7 for fake tanning – removing dead skin cells from the face and body will leave an even and consistent surface to the skin to ensure the fake tan looks flawless and lasts longer
How frequently should you exfoliate your face?
The frequency of exfoliation depends on your skin type but twice per week is the general rule of thumb. Sensitive skin can be further irritated by harsh granular exfoliators so gentle AHA based products are better.
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