What is exfoliation?
Generally speaking, exfoliation refers to any technique that removes cells from the skin surface, not only immediately “refreshing” the skin’s appearance but also stimulating cell renewal. The benefits are dramatic, and, when used with professional guidance, exfoliation can be used to treat a wide variety of skin problems – including acne, hyperpigmentation, premature aging and scarring to name a few.
Of course, there is huge variety in these techniques – scrubs, peels, masques, dermabrasion, and lasers! Fortunately, your skin care therapist can help you identify what will help you best achieve your goals.
Who needs exfoliation?
Well, everyone exfoliates naturally. In fact, as you’re reading this, thousands of tiny skin cells are falling off your body – about a million every minute! An exfoliation regimen simply helps your body along in the process, which becomes especially vital as we age. Teenagers completely regenerate their external layer of skin, on average every 14 days. By the time you’re 40, however, that rate has increased to 30-40 days. The result is dull, ashy or mottled-looking skin. An exfoliation regimen can reduce the time that dulling skin cells sit at the surface of our skin for a healthier, more vibrant complexion. Depending on your age and skin condition, your therapist might prescribe a combination of exfoliation therapies.
Why isn’t stronger better?
Many people get a little exfoliation-crazy under the mistaken notion that if a little is good, a lot has to be great! (Ironically, this is why people often mistakenly opt for the more irritating Glycolic Acid – they assume that more irritation equals better results.) While every skin condition is different, and reacts to exfoliation differently, you should tame down your exfoliation regimen if your skin feels chapped, irritated or is unusually red for a prolonged period of time. At this point, you’re not removing dead debris – you’re scrubbing away the protective barrier of the epidermis, which can result in permanent sensitization, premature aging and a host of other concerns.