Exfoliation might be the most critical (and misunderstood) step in your skincare-at-home program. Once you understand what your body is doing to create your skin, it’s much easier to embrace this step in your homecare plan. Think about it .... the skin is reproducing itself 24 hours a day up until our last breath! For this reason, exfoliation is definitely my favorite topic!
When we're young (think 20 years old), it takes 24 days for a “mother” cell at the bottom of the dermis (1/4 inch deep below the surface of your skin) to divide into two “daughter” cells. Each daughter cell has her own specific role (nerve endings, oil gland, blood vessels, sweat glands, etc), until it works its way to through the 24-day journey, then flakes off. When one layer flakes off, messengers cue the body to send up the next set of cells. That’s the body’s natural exfoliation process.
As we age, this natural exfoliation process slows down and allows germs and waste products become trapped under the skin. A teenager may experience this as clogged pores, and a mature adult might experience dry, itchy skin. As we get toward mid-life, that growth cycle of 24 days can take 90 days for someone in their 60s. The body creates a sticky glue-like substance designed to hold the dead skin cells together so you can retain your moisture levels longer. Unfortunately, wrinkles reside under that layer, so the dry, dead skin cells sitting atop exaggerate the wrinkles, making them look bigger and deeper.
There is a common myth that exfoliation is harsh and dangerous. In reality, even the most sensitive skin needs exfoliation to heal itself. An esthetician can analyze your skin and help you understand the appropriate level of exfoliation for you. There are many different formulas and delivery methods for exfoliating products – enzymes, acids, physical (gritty) scrubs, and combinations. Each product will have it’s own usage recommendations. It’s critical to follow the formulator's instructions exactly. When it comes to exfoliation, less is more. If you over-exfoliate, you may cause an inflammatory event, which can easily lead to an infection.
Feel free to call for a phone consult for help you choosing the correct exfoliating product for your skin. When you exfoliate appropriately, your body releases debris and toxins and encourages the cells to turnover, explaining your beautiful and healthy glow!