EXFOLIATION & SCRUBS... You might like to know!
Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin's outermost surface, and has been used for many years to help maintain healthy skin. Exfoliation is involved in the process of all facials and skincare regimin. Exfoliation can be achieved through mechanical or chemical means.
New skin cells are created in the skin's lower layer, the dermis. Over time, cells migrate to the surface of the skin and become more acidic. During their 30-day journey, they die and become saturated with keratin. Keratin is important because it protects the skin from outside elements. Through the ageing process, and after menopause for women, the natural process of skin erosion becomes uneven, which gives skin a dry and rough character. Exfoliation removes the outer layer to reveal the newer skin beneath. This shedding of the outer layer unclogs pores, keeps skin clean, and helps reduce acne outbreaks. Exfoliation should always be done after cleansing the skin. Exfoliation is important for men as it exposes the hair follicles, allowing a better shave. It is possible to over exfoliate, which dries and irritates the skin. The face is the part of the body most sensitive to exfoliation. Hence, provided that exfoliating causes the skin to dry out, it is very important to moisturize it, because dry skin can lead to wrinkle development.
Exfoliants are products that help slough off dry, dead skin cells to improve the skin's appearance. This is achieved either by using acids or other chemicals to loosen old skin cells, or abrasive substances to physically scrub them off. Exfoliation can even out patches of rough skin, improve circulation to the skin, clear blocked pores to discourage acne and improve the appearance and healing of scars.
Exfoliants should be applied to wet, cleansed skin, avoiding the eye area; abrasive exfoliants or scrubs should then be rubbed into the skin in a circular motion for at least 30 seconds.
Dry skin should only be exfoliated in spots with severe flaking, and no more than once per week; oily skins may be able to tolerate twice weekly exfoliation. Signs of over-exfoliation include sore, dry, and irritated or reddened skin and excessive dryness or oilyness.
Chemical exfoliants may include citric acid (from citrus fruits), acetic acid (from vinegar), malic acid (from various fruits), glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid. They may be liquids or gels, and may or many not contain an abrasive to remove old skin cells afterwards.
Abrasive exfoliants include gels, creams, or lotions, as well as physical objects.
Loofas, microfibre cloths, natural sponges or brushes may be used to exfoliate skin, simply by rubbing them over the face in a circular motion. Gels, creams, or lotions may contain an acid to encourage dead skin cells to loosen, and an abrasive such as beads, sea salt, sugar, ground nut shells, rice bran or ground apricot kernels to scrub the dead cells of the skin.
Salt and sugar scrubs TEND to be the harshest, while scrubs containing beads or rice bran are typically very gentle.