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Exfoliation… How Often is Too Often?
Let’s face it, we all want beautiful glowing skin and it’s no military secret that exfoliating our skin is the way to get there. The question is,” How often is too often?” In this article, I will share a few tips that will help you determine what is the best exfoliating routine for your specific skin care needs.
First off, let me just say that there is no one miracle exfoliating treatment that works for all skin types. It just doesn’t work that way–we are all unique individuals made with different skin types, colors, textures and so on. There are many factors to keep in mind when choosing an exfoliant such as what time of year it is or what type of skin you have—even how old you are. How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type and condition, but as a general rule, one to three times a week is a safe frequency.
Basically it is a process of finding out what works best with your skin. As long as you don’t over-dry or over-sensitize the skin, you are on the right track. Remember DON’T OVERDO IT!
So how does exfoliating work?
There are two ways to exfoliate the skin–one method is mechanical, the other is a chemical, both are very affective to improve the skin.
Mechanical exfoliation is essentially a scrubbing action at the skin’s surface and includes physical scrubs, brushes, sponges, washcloths, and microdermabrasion. This is great for most skin types but should be avoided by those with active and inflamed acne or very sensitive skin. Always be careful when choosing a scrub. Many contain ground nutshells, coffee bean, apricot kernels, or something of the like. These sharp abrasives can cause microscopic tears in the skin, leaving you with a compromised barrier function of the skin. Look for the terms “spheres” or “beads” in the product name or description; these are rounded and gentler to the skin. Mechanical exfoliation is best for:
- Normal skin
- Combination skin
- Dry skin
- Oily skin
- Aging skin
Chemical exfoliation loosens the glue that holds skin cells together, allowing them to be sloughed off the skin’s surface with ease. Examples are alpha hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids and retinoids. Chemical peels performed by a skin care professional fall under this category with a variety that covers pretty much every skin type. Mature skin types are often better off with chemical exfoliation, because the skin tends to be more dry and thin, and chemical exfoliation won’t cause any scratches in the skin’s surface.
Enzymes, a type of chemical exfoliation—I like to think of them as little pacman that break down the layer of dead cells. Papain (Papaya), Bromelain (Pineapple) and Bacillus Ferment all eat away at dead skin cells, revealing the healthier skin underneath. (Keep this in mind the next time you have irritated gums after eating pineapple…you have just exfoliated your mouth!)
The Benefits of Exfoliation:
* Improves skin texture (smoother & softer, helps maintain hydration level of the epidermis – definitely a huge help to makeup application, it’s always important to start with a clean canvas!)
* Reduces the look of dark spots on the skin and wrinkles.
* Eases deep pore cleansing, extractions, product penetration, and more effective delivery of ingredients into the skin. * Increases cell turnover rate – and brings new cells to the surface faster.
* Exfoliating the body can prevent ingrown hairs that happen during shaving or waxing *Exfoliating the side of the arms can improve Keratosis Pilaris(heat bumps).
Now for the real question, How often is too often?
Exfoliation delivers a tighter, firmer, smoother look and feel of skin. Because of this, many of us get a little carried away: an over-zealous approach that can actually reduce skin’s vitality and make it more vulnerable to damage from UV light (sunlight). Over-exfoliation triggers an inflammatory response, leading to a compromised barrier of the skin that won’t function properly, a sensitized skin condition, and premature aging.
Red flags when over exfoliating:
• Noticeable dehydration
• Patchy areas of dryness
• Skin tautness
• Redness and itchiness
• Increased sensitivity
• Inflammatory acne and irritation
If you’re showing the signs of over-exfoliation, speak with a professional skin therapist as myself, we can prescribe a calming cleanser, and a protective moisturizer to start the recovery process. Sun protection is a must: wear a sunblock with physical UV blockers Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide that won’t irritate skin.
After skin recovery, begin exfoliating with a gentle exfoliant. If you desire a more intense level of exfoliation, ask your skin therapist what fits you best. Pair a gentler regimen with professional exfoliation treatments from your skin care professional to enjoy smoother skin without the undesirable side effects.
Bottom line, whichever skin type you have, embrace it and know that you can be confident in your own skin. These tips I shared with you will help you reveal its full potential and continually improve the look of it.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The Aesthetic & Wellness Center is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site. After reading articles, watching videos or reading other content from this website, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your professional healthcare provider or skin care specialist.