While young healthy skin cells regenerate every 27 days, that cycle slows as we age. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, increasing cell turnover.
This helps reveal the new skin beneath, giving you a more radiant complexion. As well, your skin care products will penetrate better when they’re not blocked by dead skin cells. Your skin can better absorb moisture and other healing properties, allowing the products to do a better job of hydrating your skin.
Exfoliation also helps to minimize hyperpigmentation (freckle-like pigmented spots on your face), decrease blackheads and fine lines, and give your skin and makeup a more even appearance.
Chemical and Mechanical Exfoliants
Mechanical exfoliants are those that contain some rough sort of grit or granules. It are those granules that will slough off the dead skin cell. Both natural granules and man-made granules are used in exfoliants. For a facial exfoliant, look for round, evenly-shaped granules – any rough or uneven edges could scratch the skin.
Chemical exfoliants are derived from natural sources such as lactic acid (from milk), citric acid (from citrus fruit), glycolic acid (from sugar cane), mandelic acid (from almonds), and salicylic acid (from willow bark). These products create a chemical reaction that breaks down and dissolves the dead skin cells.
Which type of exfoliant should you choose? That depends on your skin’s type, thickness and condition. Some chemical exfoliants such as lactic acid are better for drier, more sensitive skin, while salicylic acid is more beneficial for someone with acne. A softer mechanical exfoliation is better for softer skin, while thicker skin can handle a more abrasive exfoliant.
Protect your New Skin
Whichever type of exfoliant you use, it’s important to apply sun protection following an exfoliation treatment. Your skin’s new cells will be more vulnerable to sun damage when exposed to the sun’s rays.
Your Exfoliation Routine
How often should one exfoliate? Someone with normal skin should exfoliate 2-3 times per week, while someone with more sensitive skin should aim for once per week. Someone with very thick skin could probably exfoliate 3-4 times per week.
You definitely don’t want to over-exfoliate, because you’ll pull away dead skin cells that aren’t ready to be shed, which can trigger irritation and inflammation.
Ideally, you’ll exfoliate at home on a weekly basis, with a schedule suited to your skin type, and then book regular visits with a Certified Esthetician for more pronounced results. Options for professional exfoliation include microdermabrasion and active peel.
Feel Great, Look Great with Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa
Massage. Facials. Waxing. At Hand & Stone our Registered Massage Therapists will relieve tension, soothe tired muscles and ease headaches. Interested in our facial services? We know radiant, healthy skin reflects how you look and feel. Hand & Stone’s facials are performed by certified Estheticians and we are proud to offer Dermalogica®, YonKa and Diego Dalla Palma products so you can enjoy a bright, beautiful complexion in between regular appointments.
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