Exfoliation is the removal of the top layer of dead skin cells that can turn our complexions dull and ashy, to reveal the younger, plumper skin cells underneath. When we are young, our cells naturally turn over every 28 days, so we always have gorgeous skin. As we age, the process slows down, making it necessary to help it along. By exfoliating, you will boost the efficacy of the other products you are using too! Getting rid of those dead cells also clears that layer of skin which can be a barrier that prevents your serums and moisturizers from deeply penetrating.
There are so many exfoliation products that choosing the best for your skin can be a challenge. Here are some general tips that apply most often. As always there can be exceptions.
Chemical exfoliants contain enzymes which act like little Pac-Man figures that gently eat away the dead skin cells. They are the least likely to irritate sensitive skin types as they tend to be more skin-friendly than polishing beads or scrubs. Yet they are still effective enough to do a thorough job. Elemis makes the luxurious Papaya Enzyme Peel that is really wonderful. If you haven’t used a peel before, don’t let the word scare you. Technology has improved so you won’t experience skin actually peeling off with at-home peels. Just softer, smoother skin that is ready for your treatment products!
Scrubs use ingredients like jojoba beads or other gentle particles to slough of the dead skin cells. Christie Brinkley Authentic Skincare Complete Clarity Facial Exfoliating Polish will give your skin a beautifully polished feel.
Peel Pads come in different strengths, from gentle for sensitive skin, to extra-strength for more tolerant skin. They have beneficial AHAs such as Glycolic Acid to exfoliate without any abrasion. Dr. Dennis Gross makes excellent peel pads that are safe for everyday use.
Gommage is the most aggressive exfoliation you can find for at- home use. It is a 3-in-1 exfoliant that includes enzymes, AHAs, and buffing beads. It is ideal for very tolerant skin. ARCONA, one of our natural brands, offers the Cranberry Gommage which unclogs and tightens pores.
Of course you can always go to the spa and get professional treatments such as peels. These tend to be more aggressive and great for correcting deep skin concerns. You may experience temporary redness, flaking and down time with these procedures. Make sure you discuss what to expect as well as after-care with your skin care professional.
Can you over-exfoliate? Yes. You can actually cause damage by doing it too much. How often should I do it? Well, that also depends on your skin type. Sensitive skin should be exfoliated once every 7-10 days. Dry to Normal skin can exfoliate 1-2 times a week; combination to oily skin can exfoliate 3 times a week.