The Importance of Exfoliation
Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin’s outermost surface, and has been used for many years to help maintain healthy skin. Exfoliation is involved in the process of all body treatments and facials. Exfoliation can be achieved through mechanical or chemical means.
New skin cells are created in the skin’s lower layer, the dermis. Over time, cells migrate to the surface of the skin and become more Acidic. During their 30-day journey, they die and become saturated with keratin. Keratin is important because it protects the skin from outside elements. Through the ageing process, and after menopause for women, the natural process of skin erosion becomes uneven, which gives skin a dry and rough character. Exfoliation removes the outer layer to reveal the newer skin beneath. This shedding of the outer layer unclogs pores, keeps skin clean, and helps reduce acne outbreaks. Exfoliation should always be done after cleansing the skin. Exfoliation is important for men as it exposes the hair follicles, allowing a better shave. It is possible to over exfoliate, which dries and irritates the skin. The face is the part of the body most sensitive to exfoliation. Hence, provided that exfoliating causes the skin to dry out, it is very important to moisturize it, because dry skin can lead to wrinkle development.
Exfoliation is achieved through either mechanical or chemical means.
This process involves physically scrubbing the skin with an abrasive. Mechanical exfoliants include microfiber cloths, adhesive exfoliation sheets, micro-bead facial scrubs, crepe paper, crushed apricot kernel or almond shells, sugar or salt crystals, pumice and abrasive materials such as sponges, loofahs, and brushes.
Chemical exfoliants include scrubs containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, fruit enzymes, citric acid or malic acid which may be applied in high concentrations by a medical professional, or in lower concentrations in over-the-counter products. Chemical exfoliation may involve the use of products that contain alpha hydroxyl acids, (AHAs), beta hydroxyl acids (BHAs), or enzymes that act to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to ease away. This type of exfoliation is recommended for people treating acne or are wanting a full body exfoliation.