What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process whereby your skin sheds dead cells, enabling younger ones, generated deep in the epidermis, to migrate upward to replace them. This shedding of dead skin cells unclogs pores, keeps skin clean, and helps reduce acne breakouts. As we age, the process tends to slow down, resulting in rough, dull looking skin.
Why is it important?
Getting rid of dead cells helps soften wrinkles and brighten skin. It also increases your cell turnover rate, resulting in a clearer, smoother, more even-toned skin. In addition, exfoliation improves penetration and allows for maximum results when it comes to moisturizers and anti-aging treatments
How do I do it?
In general, exfoliation methods fall into one of two categories: chemical (e.g. peels) and mechanical (e.g. micro-dermabrasion).
Chemical exfoliation generally involves scrubs containing some kind of acid. Deep chemical peels use high concentrations of acid, and are generally carried out by a dermatologist or other medical practitioner. Over-the-counter products are also available, which contain lower concentrations of acid, and tend to have more superficial results. Retinoic acid is generally considered to be among the most effective, and is believed to stimulate the production of collagen, in addition to aiding in the removal of dead skin cells. Other acids frequently used for exfoliation include: glycolic acid, alpha or beta hydroxy acid, and salicylic acid.
Mechanical exfoliation sloughs old cells by scrubbing the skin with an abrasive. scrub made of dissolvable granules, such as sea salt or sugar. These gentle abrasives are less likely to inflame skin than scrubs made with crushed apricot pits or walnut shells. One easy and extremely inexpensive way to do this – add a teaspoon of sugar to your facial cleanser, and scrub for a minute (avoiding the delicate skin around the eyes) once or twice a week (or, if your face can handle it, more often),
Alternate between use of chemical and mechanical exfoliation.
Following exfoliation, it is recommended to promptly, while skin is still damp, seal in moisture by following up with an appropriate moisturizing cream/lotion.
Note: The face is the part of the body most sensitive to exfoliation. It is possible to over-exfoliate, which dries and irritates the skin. If you haven’t been exfoliating in the past, it is best to start out slow (once a week), and gradually increase the frequency while carefully monitoring the condition of your skin.
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