Exfoliation is no secret to the natural world. Many animals are equipped with the wonderful ability to shed their skin and reveal a lustrous new layer, untouched by peril. If only we were all this lucky. Man-made exfoliation methods have been being perfected since the ancient Egyptians. Exfoliating based on your skin type can make you radiate and help ignite your confidence. Which method is right for you?
Acne-Prone to Oily Skin
Exfoliating acne-prone or oily skin may help problem areas clear up quicker. Microdermabrasion removes the Stratum Corneum; the topmost layer of your skin responsible for keeping out the smallest of molecules. One type of microdermabrasion, called Diamond Microdermabrasion removes the Stratum Corneum by slowly massaging a diamond tipped wand over the skin. This type is preferred by people with oily skin since it is less abrasive than its friend, Crystal Microdermabrasion, which uses crystals to carve away the layer before vacuuming up anything left behind. Removing this layer allows the new layer of skin to be fully penetrated by an AHA Peel. This contains chemicals that promote rejuvenating cell turnover and enzymes which help to gently smooth the skin after microdermabrasion. Both methods should be used once a month for those with oily skin and up to once a week for acne-prone individuals.
An at-home method that can be used weekly is a gentle salicylic acid scrub. Salicylic acid or BHA, is water soluble and able to penetrate and exfoliate sebaceous, oil-producing, glands. This along with a granular scrub (oatmeal or apricot; no seeds or shells!) can unclog and help reline misshapen pores, leading to healthier, smoother skin.
Combination skin is particularly prone to looking dull or tired. Exfoliating with an AHA exfoliate and a retinol serum twice a month may help combination skin to look brighter and make your features stand out. Similar to BHA, AHA is another acid that can help to resurface skin. Not only does it remove the Stratum Corneum, but it also influences lower layers of skin, allowing it to reflect more light, leading to a youthful glow. Retinol (Vitamin A) is converted by the skin into Retinoic Acid, which helps to smooth wrinkles and acts as a powerful anti-aging agent, protecting your skin in the future. People with combination skin will also benefit from using a salicylic scrub twice a week to maintain a luminous complexion.
Dry to Sensitive Skin
Dry and sensitive skin types should also feel free to make exfoliation part of their skin care routine. If done sparingly, exfoliating can help make skin stronger and improve moisture levels. A form of AHA, Lactic Acid, helps to increase natural moisturizers and ceramides which help to lock moisture in, keeping skin hydrated all day. Individuals with these types of skin may benefit from an AHA Peel WITHOUT the microdermabrasion, or from the use of enzymes.
Enzymes are a very gentle exfoliate option, specifically designed for those with sensitive skin. Usually derived from fruit such as papaya, pineapple, or blueberry, these enzymes chemically dissolve the bonds dead skin cells make with the thin Stratum Corneum, and digest them and excess dead cells. This process is preferred among those with sensitive skin since it is less harsh than chemical exfoliation and less rough than mechanical exfoliation.
If it all possible, those with dry and sensitive skin should avoid at-home scrubs. Using these too often may break open and scratch the skin, leading to scars and inflammation. The best at-home method would be to use a salicylic acid based cleanser which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and less abrasive than daily scrubs.
Exfoliation may be exactly what you’re missing from your skin care routine!
No matter your skin type, you can use one of these methods to create astounding results. Shed your skin, and reveal the radiant new you underneath.