I remember when I was a student in esthetics school 20 years ago. One day in class, we started learning about exfoliation and it's importance. We performed our first enzyme applications on one another, none of us ever having heard of an enzyme before. I glanced in the bathroom mirror after my turn and was shocked when I saw glowing skin. I couldn't believe the difference from when I arrived for class until after my treatment. I was just learning about proper skin care and really never exfoliated. This day in class changed that and iIt's been part of my skin care routine every since.
What is exfoliation? In the simplest terms, it's the removal of the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. It's often thought that only people with acne or oily skin should exfoliate. But everyone should exfoliate, even if you have sensitive skin. Exfoliation is safe for everyone if you follow the directions and you don't over do it.
There are different types of exfoliation, so let's take at look at those. First we have physical or manual exfoliation. It's exactly as it sounds. They can come in the form of granules, powders,gommage, etc. Some kind of rougher material. You "rub" these on your skin to buff away the dead cells. Microdermabrasion and Dermaplaning are considered physical exfoliations and are very popular in spas.
We also have chemical exfoliation. These help to dissolve, loosen the bonds that hold dead cells together or "eat" the dead cells. These come in the form of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, like Glycolic or Lactic. These help loosen the bonds that we spoke about above. Beta Hydroxy Acid, like Salicylic Acid. This also helps to loosen those bonds, but it also sweeps into the pores to clean them out. Enzymes, from the likes of Papain or Bromelain, "eat" the dead skin cells. Think of the old video game, Pac Man®. Even Retinoids are chemical exfoliators, among other things.
There are great benefits from exfoliation. It can unclog pores, help reduce acne, prepare the skin for other products and for those products to penetrate better, even skin tone, increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis and improve skin texture.
With those wonderful benefits, sometimes people can go too far and over do it. This over exfoliation can lead to chronic irritation, inflammation causing accelerated aging, redness, sensitivity (because your protective barrier function is now compromised), irritate acne and cause more to develop, expose new skin too early and you can get the look of overly smooth skin, basically looking plastic.
If this has happened to you, first and foremost, stop all exfoliation products, including cleansers, serums and creams. Use a non-foaming, gentle cleanser, discontinue anything that has fragrance and start applying a moisturizer that contains ceramides. This will help build that protective barrier back up. In reality, a normal, dry or sensitive skin should exfoliate once a week. Oily and combination skins, no more than twice per week. I've always followed this rule with myself and with clients.
THALGO has some amazing exfoliators.
THALGO Gentle Exfoliator - A combination of both a physical and chemical exfoliant. It contains Jojoba Oil Micro-spheres and Phytic Acid from rice. For dry, delicate and sensitive skin
THALGO Refreshing Exfoliator - A triple exfoliant that contains ultra-fine Diatomaceous earth (from marine micro-algae on the sea bed, rich in Silica), Silica Powder and ground Almond Shell. For normal to combination skin.
THALGO Resurfacing Cream - A microdermabrasion like exfoliant. It contains aluminum oxide crystals, shea butter and Lessonia Nigrescens Extract for hydration. For combination to oily skin.
THALGO has even launched a new product range called, Peeling Marin. This is the 1st marine cosmeceutical line with acids from fermented micronized algae, highly concentrated in natural Lactic Acid. For anyone looking to exfoliate, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, help with acne and reduce pigmentation.
So if you're looking for a healthy, glowing skin, you should add an exfoliatiant to your skin care routine. Just remember to not over do it and enjoy the outcome.