What is exfoliating? Why do I need to exfoliate and most importantly, how do I exfoliate? These are just a few of the questions we get asked.
When done correctly, this process increases elasticity, strengthens the skin, reduces breakouts, and also provides a smoother, more youthful appearance. Knowing how to exfoliate the skin is just as important as understanding the necessity.
Let’s look deeper into why we should exfoliate our skin.
Exfoliation Improves Skin Elasticity
As we age skin elasticity decreases. Wrinkles and sagging skin become more obvious as time passes. The U.S. National Library of Medicine¹ states “With aging, the outer skin layer (epidermis) thins, even though the number of cell layers remains unchanged….Changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin's strength and elasticity. This is known as elastosis….”
The skin contains two proteins -- collagen and elastin. Collagen helps skin have structure, while elastin is what allows the skin to stretch. Unfortunately, as we age these proteins decrease. There are steps that you can take to slow this process and even reverse aging. Reducing sun exposure, increasing water consumption, and adding exfoliation to your routine are simple steps that can help improve skin elasticity. Regular exfoliation increases blood flow and helps shed old skin cells which also preserves skin elasticity.
Exfoliation Increases Skin Cell Turnover Rate
Skin cell turnover is the shedding of old skin cells. As these cells are shed, they are replaced with new, healthy cells. Acne prone skin and aging both slow down the skin cell turnover rate, so regular exfoliation can assist with this process. The amount of time for skin to regenerate varies by age, however on average the process takes approximately 30 days. Unfortunately, aging increases that time frame. By adding skin exfoliation to your routine, you are helping speed up this process.
Exfoliation Enhances Skin Glow and Radiance
Skin radiance is the glowy look that we often associate with youthful skin. As we age, this glow is often replaced with a dull complexion. Another common complaint is skin dryness which further accentuates wrinkles and lines. These issues also contribute to poor skin cell turnover. Removing old skin cells by exfoliation leaves us with brighter, softer skin.
Exfoliation Improves Skincare Product Effectiveness
Did you know that exfoliation can also improve the effectiveness of the skincare products that you use? Cleansers and moisturizers are able to reach deeper layers of the skin when the old cells are removed, which allows these products to be much more effective.
Now That we have discussed why we should exfoliate, let’s look at how to exfoliate our skin.
There are several methods of physical exfoliation available.
- Skincare scrubs and products with a grainy substance added are one example of physical exfoliation and most likely the method that you are most familiar with. The application of these “grains” to the skin assists in removing old skin cells.
- Microdermabrasion is a process that uses a device that gently removes the top layer of skin. Crystals are sprayed onto the skin and then are suctioned away along with the dead skin cells. This process is generally completed by a dermatologist or other skin care professional.
- Dermaplaning is an exfoliating blade that skims the dead cells from the skin. Dermaplaning is also completed by a skin care professional.
Chemical exfoliants are chemicals that remove dead skin cells. There are different formulas used and they work by breaking bonds that hold our skin cells together. Some chemical exfoliation examples are:
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) - Lactic, malic acid, citric, and glycolic acid are examples of AHAs.
Lactic acid is extremely beneficial for skin exfoliation. It is an organic substance derived from soured or fermented milk. Lauric acid may help dissolve old skin cells, assist in rebuilding new skin cells, fades age spots, and stimulates the production of collagen.
A study conducted by Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology² showed that skincare products that contain both AHAs and vitamins significantly improved skin texture, elasticity, and also showed a reduction in wrinkles.
Glycolic acid is a colorless substance derived from cane sugar, grapes, sugar beets, chicory, and other foods. It helps shed dead skin cells, increases collagen production, and minimizes wrinkles.
A study published by The National Library of Medicine³ showed a significant improvement in the reduction of brown spots when participants used glycolic acid.
Beta hydroxy acids (BHA’s) are derived from willow bark, wintergreen, and sweet birch. They penetrate deep into the skin and help unclog pores and reduce acne.
Finding the Best Exfoliation Products for Your Skin
Finding a quality, natural skincare product is important when choosing the right exfoliation product. Synthetic chemicals and fragrances cause much more harm than good. Ingredients that may eventually lead to cancer, hormone imbalances, organ system toxicity, and allergies should be avoided. Many of the most recognized brands for skincare often include these harmful ingredients to their products.⁴
Aggressive and over use of chemical and physical exfoliation techniques can aggravate the skin, causing more harm. Using only safe and gentle products are essential to success.
At Blue Haven Holistics, we are passionate about creating high-quality and safe products for your skincare needs. Our Vitamin C Cleansing Grains offers a physical exfoliation solution that will leave you with bright, soft, and glowing skin. The Fruit Enzyme Resurfacing Mask, and Passion Fruit Cleansing Melt are both gentle, yet effective methods if a chemical exfoliation method is preferred. In fact, the Passion Fruit Cleansing Mask is so mild that it can be used on a daily basis.
By understanding the importance of safe and effective exfoliation methods, you can make informed decisions specific to your skincare goals.