If you read our Winter-Proofing blog, you know that exfoliating is just as important in the cold months as those skin-bearing summer days.
Get the full scoop on glowing skin from an esthetician and skincare expert herself; our Spa Manager and esthetician, Liz, wrote this fabulous blog to help keep your skin in tip-top shape in 2014. So here you go, gorgeous: Exfoliation 101!
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is a process used to remove dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin, revealing the fresh, healthy skin underneath. Skin should be exfoliated regularly to avoid having a buildup of dead skin cells, which can lead to dry skin patches, peeling, and even aggravate congestion and acne. By removing this buildup of dead skin cells, your skin will stay healthy and glowing. There are two different methods of exfoliation: chemical and physical.
Chemical: Chemical exfoliation makes it far easier for your skin to get rid of the dead skin cells that may be “stuck” there. Chemical exfoliators include: glycolic acid, salicylic acid, malic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, alpha hydroxy acids (alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s), beta hydroxy acids (BHA’s), fruit enzymes, and chemical peels. Most of these can come from completely natural sources! Tip: Did you know that salicylic acid is made from the bark of a Willow tree, and is the same derivative ingredient as common Aspirin?
Physical: Removes the dead skin cells by using a skin abrasive and physically scrubbing the skin to remove the dead skin cells. Some examples of physical exfoliators are: scrubs, cloths, loofahs, seeds (ex. apricot ), sugar, salts. etc. These are the ones that most of us are familiar with, as there are many “at home” options. But be careful! You never want to apply pressure when exfoliating the delicate skin on your face. You could end up doing more harm than good (see Precautions below!)
Choosing a method
Choosing an appropriate exfoliation method depends on your skin type, sensitivity, and how it reacts to certain ingredients in products. It’s also important to have in mind which body part is being exfoliated. For example, a pumice stone might be a good idea for your feet, but not necessarily for your face. Take a little time to experiment on a small area whenever trying out something new, and “start small”. You can always work your way up to more intensive treatments as your skin gets stronger.
Hair Removal: Most hair removal methods like waxing and chemical hair removers also exfoliate the skin. Hair removal methods remove dead skin cells along with the hair, so remember to take it easy with exfoliants before shaving, waxing or using any kind of chemical hair remover. Never use an exfoliant (like a fruit enzyme peel) directly after applying a retinol or getting facial waxing! Your skin will be overly sensitive and it could result in true damage.
Over-exfoliating: It’s also possible to over-exfoliate. You can tell when this has happened because after over-exfoliating your skin might be itchy, flaky and dry. When this happens, make sure that you moisturize the skin well to help it repair itself.
All in all, it’s a great idea to make a ritual out of exfoliation. Whether you use a gentle exfoliant you can mix-in with your cleanser, or even if you are able to do thorough skin therapy with an esthetician every 4-6 weeks using an enzyme peel, making a habit of exfoliating your skin will keep it looking fresh, hydrated and young.
Om Aroma & Co. is a locally-produced organic anti-aging skincare line made in the Catskills of NY. We are proud to create naturally rejuvenating and healthy skincare, made by the women in our Dollars & Scents program. Try our Manuka Honey Sugar Scrub for full-body exfoliation, or our gentle cleansing Rice Branfor face. Visit us at www.omaroma.com.