Exfoliation is a simple thing with a complex set of options that needs to be on everyone’s ‘must do’ list for skincare (right along-side using SABRINA Collagen Rx Plus). So, what exactly is it and what does it mean to exfoliate the right way?
Exfoliation is a process that removes dead skin cells from the upper layer of the skin, revealing the healthy skin underneath. Regular exfoliation, which can be beneficial to many areas of your body, including your face, arms, legs and feet, can help keep skin looking fresh, removing any dry patches or flakiness. There are different approaches necessary for each area of your body — you wouldn’t want to use the same methods, tools or products on your face as you would on your feet, for example. Furthermore, certain exfoliation techniques work best with certain skin types. So it’s a good idea to know whether you have oily, dry, combination or sensitive skin before embarking on an exfoliation regimen. (Source).
The History of Exfoliation
According to Positive Health and Wellness, exfoliation was actually discovered in ancient Egypt, where it was used to obtain healthier looking skin. In the Middle Ages, people used wine as a way to make their skin look and feel better. Tartaric acid, in particular, is found in plants like grapes. Sold in grocery stores as cream of tartar, this salt is produced as a byproduct of making wine. Thus it was a cheap and a readily obtainable beauty aid until the modern era commercialized skin care and companies put time and resources into research and development of what materials and processes can do the job. In Asia there were also processes for exfoliation developed, some of which are still in use, and the Greeks used pomegranate juice to achieve the desired results.
Exfoliation does more than just make your skin look good, it helps to clear away the tens of thousands of dead skin cells that can collect on your face and clog your pores. As noted in Dermascope Magazine:[Your] skin generates a new layer every two to four weeks. As we age, this process slows. However, thanks to numerous techniques we can improve the skin’s complexion by sloughing off the old layers and bringing the fresh layer up to surface. The skin experiences sloughing as an “injury” and automatically creates healing in the exfoliated area by generating a new healthy layer of skin. The results are softer skin, a more even skin tone, and firmer skin. Exfoliation also enhances the production of fibrous proteins such as collagen and elastin.
Exfoliation can be used to fight acne and help skin breathe by removing the dead skin cells that accumulate on the top layer of the epidermis and trap oils inside the pores. For those of us who are sporty, or men who tend to have larger facial pores, exfoliation is a great way to keep skin clean and even on the face, back and chest. It can also help soften rough feet and hands or even out Keratosis Pilaris (those hereditary tiny bumps on the back of your arms).
Exfoliation the Right Way for Your Skin
There are any number of exfoliation products available for home use, as well as many techniques that are applied by estheticians in clinics. Essentially these fall into one of two categories, scrubs (or mechanical) and chemical. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that exfoliation can harm some people if it is done wrong, potentially damaging the skin:
Since every type of exfoliation may not work for every skin type, it’s important to consider your skin type before choosing an exfoliation method:
- Sensitive skin may sting or burn after product use
- Normal skin is clear and not sensitive
- Dry skin is flaky, itchy or rough
- Oily skin is shiny and greasy
- Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others
To prevent skin damage while exfoliating, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
- Consider the skin care products you already use: Some medications and even over-the-counter products may cause your skin to be more sensitive or peel, such as prescription retinoid creams or products containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide. Exfoliating while using these products may worsen dry skin or even cause acne breakouts.
- Select an exfoliation method that suits your skin type: Those with dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin may prefer just a washcloth and a mild chemical exfoliator, as mechanical exfoliation may be too irritating for this skin type. Those with oily, thicker skin may want to use stronger chemical treatments or mechanical exfoliation. However, avoid strong chemical or mechanical exfoliation if you have a darker skin tone or notice dark spots on your skin after burns, bug bites or acne breakouts. For some people, especially those with darker skin tones, more aggressive forms of exfoliation may result in dark spots on the skin.
- Be gentle to your skin: If you use a scrub or chemical exfoliator, apply the product gently using small, circular motions. Do this for about 30 seconds, and then rinse off with lukewarm – not hot – water. If you use a brush or sponge, use short light strokes. Never exfoliate if you have open cuts or wounds or if your skin is sunburned.
- Follow with moisturizer: Exfoliating can be drying to the skin. Apply moisturizer immediately after exfoliating to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
When using SABRINA Collagen Rx Plus to achieve the moisturizing and beauty benefits that the skin cream provides, it is important that some level of exfoliation occurs once a week. If you are unsure about the best way to accomplish this for your skin, please talk to your dermatologist.