Why is Exfoliation Important?

Exfoliation is one of the most important techniques that you can perform on your skin to resolve certain skin problems and to achieve healthy and glowing skin. It is a cosmetic technique aimed at removing dead skin cells that cling to the skin’s outermost surface (epidermis).

Layers of the Skin

New skin cells are constantly generated in the lower layer of our skin, or dermis. It takes approximately 30 days for new skin cells to come to the surface, and during that time, they will die and become saturated with Keratin. Although we need these cells for protection, typically as we age, our process of shedding old skin slows- this means a thick layer of dry and rough skin is often hiding our healthier skin beneath.

Exfoliation is the process of removing these outer layers, and letting the newer skin shine through. If done correctly, it leaves the skin feeling smoother and fresher. Also, it prepares the skin to absorb in a better way any kind of substance you would like to apply like vitamins, revitalizing or regenerating lotions that will help improve your skin. It should always be done after cleansing the skin, and can be done chemically or simply by scrubbing the skin with an abrasive.

The two forms of exfoliation are:

1. Mechanical Exfoliation

During mechanical exfoliation, the dead skin cells are physically rubbed off with an abrasive, and the dead cells are removed through mechanical or physical friction. Products for mechanical exfoliation can contain paraffin, wax, irregularly shaped granules or round beads/poly spheres. It can also include exfoliation sheet, sponges, brushes, washcloths etc. Examples of this include salt glow, body scrub that might use sugar or coffee grounds, or skin brushing. It can also include more aggressive procedures like microdermabrasion.

2. Chemical Exfoliation

It is where enzymes, alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) or betahydroxy acids (BHAs) are used to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to slough away. This kind of exfoliation can be gentle or more aggressive, depending on how strong the product is (percentage of acids). It is important to use an exfoliation regime that suits your skin type to avoid any harm done to your skin.

Benefits of exfoliation include:

– Improving texture of your dull skin, making it more vibrant
– Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
– Sloughing off the dead skin cells
– Unclogging pores
– Keeping skin healthy, thus helping to prevent breakouts

You will notice a significant different in your skin’s softness and moisture retention if you simply follow a routine of exfoliating one to two times a week!