Exfoliation is an important step all year round, however during winter your skin can feel drier and flakier. To combat this, ensure you’re exfoliating at least two to three times per week to keep the skin smooth and the barrier intact. For some, winter can mean the skin becomes more delicate and sensitive, if this is the case, reduce your exfoliation to once per week, avoid scrubs and opt for a chemical exfoliant, or change to a microfoliant. Here’s everything you need to know about exfoliation:
We all benefit from a little extra help when shedding skin. As we age, our cell ‘turnover rate’ slows down. In our 20’s it’s about 20 days, 30’s about 30 days and so on, meaning as we age our surface skin appears dull, uneven in tone and we can see visible lines and dehydration.
By exfoliating we can;
* Help speed up the skin cell turnover rate
* Facilitate elimination (skin is an organ that eliminates waste)
* Keep the skin feeling soft and appear smooth
* Keep the surface free of congestion, vital for those with breakouts
* Help prevent dehydration and improve the skin’s barrier function
* Help prevent skin sensitivity
* Improve the appearance of skin discolouration
* Stimulate collagen production
* Allow products applied post exfoliation to work much more effectively
My advice is to have a skin analysis with a trained skin therapist who can guide you to make the right choice for you and your skin. Here are the options:
1. Physical exfoliants e.g. granular scrubs, buff puffs, facial brushes. They are the preferred choice for teenagers, men, oily/combination and devitalised skin. Not recommended for sensitive or irritated skin.
2. Chemical/non-abrasive actives e.g. Hydroxy Acids, Digestive Enzymes and Retinoid’s. These can be found in serums, boosters, masks, moisturisers, and various exfoliation treatment products. And are currently the most popular and versatile choice for people using exfoliants. Hydroxy acids such as Salicylic Acid or Lactic Acid or Digestive Enzymes including pineapple and papaya, are a great choice for those with visible signs of ageing, breakouts and acne prone or slightly sensitive skin. Not requiring friction, they chemically break down/dissolve the structural parts of dead skin. Salicylic Acid is the primary exfoliant used to decongest a blocked pore.
3. Acid free smoothing agents and actives such as Algae, Yeast, Glucosamine and Urea help to accelerate cell renewal and are found in treatment moisturisers. These are ideal for those wanting an alternative to leave on exfoliants containing chemical exfoliants and can be used daily.
4. Microfoliation is another alternative. This is a product designed to be used daily, ideally on your ‘non-exfoliation days’. The key ingredient is Rice Bran Powder, which lightly and very gently ‘polishes’ the skin surface but doesn’t provide the same level of exfoliation as an exfoliant does. It’s a great option for exfoliation ‘junkies’ and an alternative method for those with very sensitive skin.
When it comes to professional exfoliation treatments there is an array of choices and strengths, including Microdermabrasion, oil based Retinol (Vitamin A) and Hydroxy Acids, perfect for skin showing signs of ageing and in need of revitalising, Hydroxy Acids combined with Digestive Enzymes are ideal for those with oily, acne and congested skin. Various machines can also be used to enhance their effectiveness.
The most ‘active’ choice is a Professional Strength Chemical Peel treatment; normally utilising higher levels of Acids, and determining its strength is its low pH. This targeted treatment gives the skin a huge boost of exfoliation, stimulating a much faster cell renewal resulting in fresh, healthier, plumper skin. Additionally collagen production is stimulated facilitating a reduction in wrinkle depth. Since uneven skin tone from excess pigmentation is an integral part of skin ageing, the improvement in skin clarity providing a bright and luminous appearance is a great weapon against premature ageing.
Don’t be scared to receive a chemical peel as recent formulation changes and application methods for ‘salon’ peels have meant we’ve learnt how to control the aggressiveness and trauma inflicted on the skin by using more sophisticated and refined technology. Today’s innovate peeling systems create very ‘controlled’ treatments with little to no down time but with fantastic results. Emma X
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