The very outer layer of your skin is actually dead skin cells. Your skin creates new cells underneath and the old ones on the surface slough off on their own. This occurs each and every day, whether you notice it or not. Sometimes this dead layer will build up on the surface of your skin and you will notice your skin has a dull look to it. You may also find you are more prone to blemishes, if the dead skin cells clog your pores. Getting rid of these skin cells will promote healthy skin. To exfoliate, you can choose one of these methods: chemical or abrasive. Chemical exfoliants usually contain some form of mild acid, such as alpha hydroxy or salicylic acid. The acids work to slough off the dead skin cells. These actually come in different strengths and can be applied on their own, or in conjunction with an abrasive exfoliant.
Abrasive exfoliants are creams or liquid cleansers that contain particulate matter, such as ground botanicals, jojoba beads or groundnuts. The use of the abrasive will physically remove the dead skin cells. The particulate matter can come in many different sizes and the type you choose will depend upon the application. You don't want to use the same abrasive on your face that you would use to exfoliate your feet.
Why Is Exfoliation Important?The skin is constantly generating new skin cells at the lower layer (the dermis) and sending them to the surface (the epidermis). As the cells rise to the surface they gradually die and become filled with keratin. These keratinized skin cells are essential because they give our skin its protective quality. But they are constantly sloughing off to make way for younger cells.
As we age the process of cell turnover slows down. Cells start to pile up unevenly on the skin's surface, giving it a dry, rough, dull appearance. Exfoliation is beneficial because it removes those cells that are clinging on, revealing the fresher, younger skin cells below.
It is possible, however, to overexfoliate, especially on the delicate skin of the face. Overexfoliating will dry and irritate the skin.
- You can use a body scrub once or twice a week with no problem.
- Body brushing every morning is a gentle way to exfoliate -- and wake up!