You’ve probably heard that you should exfoliate, but learning why will explain why it’s so good for you. Taking good care of your skin means that you can add years of “looking younger”. As you age, looking younger (by at least ten years) can add to your self-esteem and keep you looking marvelous. This is the number one reason!
exfoliateAnother bonus is that every skin type and skin condition should exfoliate for healthy skin.

Why? Because every 28-45 days skin cells die and compact on the top of our skin. Exfoliation removes the dead cells, allowing the pores to absorb nutrients. The process will refine the top layers of skin, making pores appear smaller. Another added treat is that it increases the oxygen and circulation in the skin. This gives the skin a healthy, radiant glow.

The bonus to treating your skin well is that healthy skin will perform better. By removing the dead layers that are compacted on top of the skin, you essentially allow the skin to “breathe” better. This process will also make your serums and moisturizers last longer (because you are not applying to dead, flaky skin, which does not absorb).

Exfoliants can come in 3 forms – Chemical, Physical or a Combination.

A chemical exfoliant is like glycolic or lactic acid. Other chemical exfoliants include enzymes.

Enzymes exfoliate (chemical) by working to eat the dead skin and there are numerous types. Enzyme types may include papaya, bromelain, malic, blueberry or pumpkin. Enzymes are typically from fruit extracts.

Physical exfoliants are scrubs from pumice, walnut shells, sand, man-made beads (not eco-friendly) or salt.

A great example of a combination scrub is the Raspberry scrub from SkinScriptRx. This has ellagic acid, jojoba beads and blue corn meal to provide mild physical exfoliation. The formula mixes chemical and physical exfoliation.

How to Exfoliate by Skin Condition

  • Dehydrated Skin
    • The difference between dehydrated and dry skin is the difference between oil and water. Dehydrated skin is lacking in water and needs an exfoliant that is not drying to the skin.
  • Acne Skin
    • Acne skins should stay away from scrubs if there are cysts, pustules or papules. Scrubbing with active acne can spread the bacteria. If the acne is beneath the skin, then using a physical scrub is fine. Chemical versions for acne are made with salicylic acid or glycolic.
  • Rosacea Skin
    • Recent studies have allowed rosacea clients to use a very, very mild scrub  (sand or extra fine salt) that allows the skin to shed the top layers.
  • Sensitive Skin
  • Sun Damaged Skin
    • Skin ravaged by the sun can seemingly tolerate an exfoliate that is tougher on the skin. We advise you to be very careful. Sun damaged skin usually is thinner and has capillaries close to the surface. Be careful not to rub too hard so that the fragile capillaries don’t break.

How to Exfoliate by Skin Type

  • Dry Skin Exfoliation
    • Drier skins need an exfoliant that is mild, but contains oils or hyaluronic acid. When you use a bar soap, it can strip the oil off the face. This means that the face will be drier, flakier and sometimes even hurt. Drier skins respond very well to chemical exfoliators (those with alpha hydroxy acids). After exfoliation, dry skin needs oil or lipids to nourish the new cells.
  • Oily Skin Exfoliation
    • Oily skins love exfoliation as long as the scrub can cut through the oil Chemical and physcial scrubs are great for oily skins. Oilier skins tend to love a scrub that is clay based.
  • Normal Skin Exfoliation
    • Skins that are normal can use just about any scrub or chemical exfoliate. Just be sure that you do not overdry or strip off the natural oils. Exfoliation for normal skins can be every other day or 3 times a week.
  • Combination Skin

Steps and How to Exfoliate

  • Time of Day
    • Either night or day is easy to exfoliate. Our suggestion is in the morning. Apply to your face before brushing teeth. Brush teeth and leave on. Jump in shower and the scrub has time to do “double-duty” as a mask.
    • If you use a retinol at night, you may want to exfoliate before applying. The retinol will work better.
  • How Often
    • Two to three times a week or daily depending on your skin type and skin condition. For most, it will be 3 times a week. If you see that your skin becomes red or feels too dry, reduce the number of times per week.
  • Steps to Exfoliate
    • Scrub: Use a little warm water on the skin and mix with the scrub. Gently make circular motions over the face in upward motion. Let sit if you have time and rinse off.
    • Enzyme: Apply the enzyme and let set for 10 seconds on the skin. Massage into the skin until the enzyme starts to become a little tacky. Let sit for 7-10 minutes and rinse.
    • Chemical: Apply alpha hydroxy acid to the skin and let sit on skin. You can feel tingling or little pins. Remove after 3 minutes.
    • After Exfoliate: After removal, apply a serum and then a moisturizer. A serum is more concentrated and the ingredients will readily absorb into the skin. The cream moisturizer will then lock in the serums to the skin.
  • Cleanser or No Cleanser
    • If you are exfoliating in the morning, you will have hopefully cleansed your face at night. Therefore in the morning, you will not need to cleanse before the scrub.
    • At night, you will want to cleanse before you exfoliate.

Lastly, always apply an SPF of 30 or higher. It’s the secret to beautiful, flawless skin.