Why Exfoliation Should Become Part of Your Skincare Routine

Posted on October 15, 2012


One of the secrets for healthy glowing skin is exfoliation. You can exfoliate any part of your body such as your back, arms, and legs but your face is the most sensitive.

First off, what is exfoliation? Exfoliation is a cosmetic technique by which you remove the layer of mostly dead epidermal cells on the outer surface of the skin from your face and body to expose the newer skin below in the skin’s lower layer called the dermis.

Exfoliation can be achieved by two different means – mechanical or chemical.
Mechanical exfoliation is achieved by physically rubbing the skin with an abrasive such as a towel, sponge, loofah, brush, or face wash with micro beads. Wet shaving also exfoliates the skin since rubbing the badger hair of the shaving brush back and forth against the skin removes dead skin. Using a double edge razor, straight edge razor, or cartridge razor also removes dead skin since the razor blade drags against the skin. Dry shaving with an electric razor is not as effective for exfoliation since the razor blades of the electric razor don’t touch the skin as close. My top pick for best facial scrub would be the TwinLuxe Renewing Face Wash & Scrub.

Clarisonic Mia Cleansing System

You may also want to consider purchasing a Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing System $119. It’s an effective cleansing system where the brushhead spins around on the surface of your skin offering excellent exfoliation. From their website, it also removes 6x more makeup than manual cleansing, leaves skin feeling and looking smoother, and minimizes the appearance of visible pores.

Chemical exfoliation may involve the use of products containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or fruit enzymes (all of these are commonly referred to as liquid exfoliants). Application in very high concentrations should only be done by a skin care professional, and low concentrations can be found in OTC products at your local drug store or in specialized skin care lines. My recommendation for best face liquid exfoliant would be Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant 2% BHA Liquid.

Why should I exfoliate and what are the benefits / drawbacks?
Your skin is constantly exfoliating because your skin is continuously producing new epidermal cells. Dead skin cells accumulate at the outer layer. For young kids and children, new epidermal cells are produced quicker which results in quicker natural exfoliation. This is why children have healthy vibrant skin. However, in older men and women in their 30’s and on, the outer layer of dead skin cells accumulate thicker, so this is why older people tend to benefit more.

One of the benefits is the reduction of the production of oil / sebum, so people with oily skin tend to benefit more from exfoliation, especially if they exfoliate with alpha or beta hydroxy acids. However, those with dry or sensitive skin need to be especially careful because excessive exfoliation will remove dead skin cells along with healthy living cells which results in irritation, redness, and skin damage. So if you have dry or sensitive skin, it’s not recommended to exfoliate daily. Weekly would be your better option.

Extraction of blackheads is another key benefit. Get rid of those tiny black spots on your face, and you’ll skin will look healthier and feel smoother. Blackheads can be difficult to extract especially if they are deep within the skin so you’ll need to manually extract those. Blackheads closer to the surface of the skin will loosen up and be removed over time each time you use a facial scrub.

The other benefit is the reduction of the dead skin cells at your outer most level. This results in maximizing your skin’s appearance with having only healthy living skin cells at the other most level, so you can look your best without having dull old looking skin. Be sure to protect your skin afterwards as part of your skincare maintenance routine by applying moisturizer and face sunscreen afterwards but that is for another topic.

The biggest drawback of exfoliation is the high cost of some of the products and the chemical methods used to achieve it. So this is why I suggest skipping chemical peels if you’re on a budget and instead, buy a facial scrub with gentle beads and, if your skin requires it, alpha / beta hydroxy acids. You get the best of both words at a more affordable price.

Everyone’s skin is different and heals at different rates. So be sure to heed what your skin is telling you. If you exfoliate daily and experience redness or irritation, you’ll need to use a less abrasive scrub or higher quality scrub and increase the period of time by every couple days or an entire week. Also try rubbing your face more gently so the scrub isn’t as abrasive or apply with more water to thin out the scrub. Give exfoliation a try if you haven’t already. And don’t give up if you’ve experienced redness or irritation after using one. It’s important to find your equilibrium and once you do, you’ll achieve more healthy, vibrant, and smoother skin. Exfoliation is great for your skin and should be part of every men’s and women’s skin care maintenance routine!

Posted in: beauty, skin care