Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead cells on the skin’s outermost surface, and has been used for many years to help maintain skin health. There are two types of exfoliations in the skincare world: mechanical and chemical. Examples of mechanical exfoliation are microdermabrasion and scrubs. Chemical exfoliation includes the use of acids such as salicylic, glycolic, citric and malic/mandelic or fruit enzymes. These chemicals penetrate the surface of the stratum corneum (outer most layer of the skin) loosen the cells, and allow them to move to the top of the skins surface and shed.
Why Exfoliate Skin?
As we age, our cell turnover slows down. Think of how perfect, soft and beautiful a baby’s skin is. Now compare the baby’s skin to your skin. It’s different right? Through the aging process. the body’s own natural removal of dead cells becomes uneven, and slow, causing the skin to take on characteristics of uneven texture, roughness, dryness and dullness. When we exfoliate skin, we speed up the process and remove the outer layer to reveal the newer skin beneath, allowing our skin to absorb moisture and products, rehydrate and keep pores clean. Exfoliation is integral to the health of our skin.
The difference between Exfoliation Treatments
Home exfoliation and professional exfoliation treatments are very different. Home exfoliants most likely come in the form of a scrub or a light chemical exfoliant. These exfoliants are great to use two to three times a week on the face as long as you don’t have inflammatory acne. Mildly removing dead cells and speeding up cell turn over is what they do best. Professional exfoliation treatments are different in that they can range in intensity, strength and the amount of cell removal. For example a microdermabrasion is a more aggressive mechanical exfoliation then an at-home scrub can deliver. A chemical peel or chemical exfoliation can range in aggressiveness depending on the type, of acid being used, the percentage of acid being used and the chemical peels Ph. Examples of more aggressive chemical exfoliation include:
- salicylic acid peel 20% and above
- Jessner Peels
- TCA Peels