Throughout your lifetime, your body’s natural exfoliating enzymes constantly shed dead skin cells in a process called desquamation. This mechanism sloughs off the old cells to reveal fresh, new skin on the surface.
How Your Exfoliating Profile Changes Over Time
Exfoliating, which also removes dirt and oil, is a process best begun as a teenager, when clogged pores and acne eruptions are likely. As you get older, your outer skin layers lose moisture, and the exfoliating enzymes in your skin cant carry out desquamation at top capacity because they’re not as well hydrated, a critical factor in high-octane desquamating.
Exfoliating as an Anti-aging measure
Not exfoliating regularly (dermatologists recommend doing so 1-3 times per week depending on how sensitive your skin is) can result in dry, ashy, dull skin that doesn’t reflect light well, making you look older than you are. It doesn’t need to be that way. Younger-looking, brighter skin and possibly a brighter outlook are but a few scrubs away.
Need More Incentive?
Other benefits of exfoliating include making wrinkles less visible, minimizing the appearance of pores and priming your skin to absorb skincare products like moisturizer more easily. It would be difficult to argue that getting an appearance boost doesn’t carry holistic healing benefits. There’s nothing like knowing something you’re doing for health reasons has the added bonus of making you look and feel more vibrant.
Ways to Exfoliate
You can exfoliate using scrubs, exfoliating pads, and microdermabrasion devices. Microdermabrasion can be performed by your dermatologist, or you can purchase a microdermabrasion kit for at-home use. Choose an exfoliating product meant for the face, not the body.
Get the Ah Without the Ouch
Pleasant and effective friction can be a delightful part of the exfoliating experience, but scrubbing in excess or with overly abrasive ingredients can turn it into a gateway to injury that damages the skin. If your skin gets red and/or irritated, you’ve overdone it. Excessive exfoliation can break down collagen and ultimately cause some of what proper exfoliating is meant to prevent visible skin aging. Take it easy.
Correct Ingredients Are Key
Dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf advises against using apricot scrubs on the face or scrubs containing walnut shells, because the pits sharp edges can tear delicate facial skin. She also tells her patients to use exfoliating products labeled daily only twice a month.
Types of Exfoliants
Salicylic and lactic acid are two of the gentlest and safest exfoliating ingredients, and you should choose an exfoliating cleanser meant for the face. Salicylic acid comes from the willow tree, while lactic acid is found in milk. Rice bran, clay, bamboo, fruit seeds and pulp, and almond flour are other types of naturally derived exfoliants.
How to Do It? Take Your Choice
Your options for exfoliating are broad, ranging from pads and foaming cleansers to the Clarisonic face brush you can use at home. Whatever method you choose, know that exfoliating performed correctly is something good you’re doing for yourself.