When people come to me in desperate need of a quick skin fix, I have 2 answers that I know will deliver major results. The first one is to moisturize, then moisturizer some more. The 2nd tip and what we will discuss today is to exfoliate. Exfoliating your skin can make a massive and immediate difference. Imagine erasing fine lines in 10 minutes! Imagine going from rough, scaly skin to baby butt smooth. The results are often that good!
The thing about exfoliation is that there are so many different ways to do it that it can be overwhelming to say the least! Not to mention the very real possibility of damaging your skin. I used to be under the impression that you had to go to your facialist every month and get a thorough chemical exfoliation. I really believed that but lets face it, being a facialist myself-that got my clients coming back. Now that I no longer depend on that career to make a living, the truth is-while facials are great-they aren’t 100% necessary for healthy skin.
First off, let’s get a little background on why we should exfoliate. The very top layer of our skin dies every 30 days. When we are young, are skin tends to shed it’s top layer quite easily, making way for new, fresh skin. As we age, cell turnover slows down. If we aren’t regularly helping our skin shed it’s dead layer then we are accumulating layers of dead skin. Layer upon layer of dead skin equals dull skin, blemishes, fine lines, rough skin and even dry skin. Not exfoliating is often the root of all skin evil.
The good news is, it’s easy to exfoliate and amazing results can be instantaneous. The bad news is that you can easily over exfoliate, causing your skin to be over sensitive, red, unprotected and irritated. So it’s very important to find a product or method that works for you, then decide how often to exfoliate and stick to it.
Benefits of Exfoliation:
- Softens fine lines and wrinkles
- Fades age/sun spots
- Fades acne scars
- Reduces signs of acne
- Smooths skin’s texture
- Encourages healthy cell turnover
- Improves skin care product penetration
- Brightens skin tone
For me, exfoliating used to be something I over did. I had microdermabrasion and chemical peels at my finger tips and Lord knows-my little 20 something face took a beating. It’s a wonder I had any skin left during those days! Now days, I opt for a much gentler approach when it comes to my skin. In my late 30’s, I have definitely noticed my dead skin just sits on my face unless I manually remove it. My skin isn’t going to do it for me anymore. I find that over the counter exfoliators that can be used every other day or weekly suit my skin rather then a harsh, monthly treatment.
3 Methods of Exfoliation:
The first method of exfoliation is a physical exfoliator, like a scrub. This is my least favorite form of exfoliation. Ever since I heard a particular drug store scrub contained broken pieces of nut shells and such, I have never trusted scrubs. The possibility of causing thousands of micro cuts on your skin is very real. They are often way too harsh for the facial skin and when they aren’t too harsh, they tend to not do enough. I’m sure there are great facial scrubs out there that perform and are safe, but I haven’t found one.
The 2nd type of exfoliation is an acidic exfoliator, usually in the form of a fruit acid. Popular acids are beta hydroxy acid, alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, enzymes and lactic acid. Acids are a very effective way of dissolving the top layer of skin. There are many different natural exfoliators that I recommend. This is probably my favorite type of exfoliation and I use this method at least 1 time a week. As Juice Beauty says, this type of exfoliation will “Tighten, Brighten and Lighten”!
My favorite chemical exfoliators:
- Juice Beauty-Green Apple Peel Full Strength
- Bonnie-Resurfacing Enzyme Mask
- American Botanics-Super C+ Skin Perfecting Tonic w/ Brightening Complex-Lemon Peel
The 3rd way to exfoliate is by using your fingers. This is a method I use as needed. Have you ever been in the shower and are shocked at how rough your face feels? This is often because the steam from the shower softens and lifts dead skin so that it feels rough until you remove it.
Steam is an awesome tool to help remove dead skin in a gentle way.
Once I’ve been in the shower for over 5 minutes, I begin rubbing my fingers over my skin in a scratching motion. Now, I have zero length on my nails and if you have long nails, this is not the method for you. As I am “scratching” my face I can feel my dead skin literally rolling off. This might sound crazy but once you try it, you’ll understand how little force it takes to remove dead skin when steam is involved. Once you get out of the shower, spritz some toner, apply a facial oil. You won’t believe how smooth your skin feels all from just one shower!
The moral of the story is, exfoliation is a lot of bang for your buck. If you aren’t exfoliating on a regular basis, you are letting dead skin pile up on your face. This is creating fine lines and wrinkles as well as giving you a dull, ashy look. Regular exfoliation not only removes dead skin but it also encourages the skin to regenerate more effectively. No skin care regime is complete without exfoliation.
One thing to also keep in mind is if you are buying pricey skin serums, oils and creams and not exfoliating, you might as well be throwing your money away. By the time-and if-your serum/moisturizer penetrates deep enough to get to work, the benefits will not be revealed until the dead skin is removed.
I hope this was helpful! Oh and if I had to choose which of the 3 products listed above was the most effective, I would say the Apple Peel-I love it. It also comes in a sensitive skin formula if you are fearful of it being too strong.
Jenni, love this and I did my share of over-exfoliation in the past. I used the buf puf which was like a brillo pad for your face, and that apricot scrub that ripped your face apart. Lately I have been using the Konjac Charcoal sponge from 100% Pure which is so gentle I can use it every day in the shower. Sometimes I will also use a little dry clay (like bentonite) and rub on my wet face in the shower. It”s amazing what a difference it makes. I’d love to know what you recommend for exfoliating the body. Dry brushing definitely makes a big difference for me.
Hello I found your blog and I really like it. You have a new follower in Spain.
To exfoliate the body I recommend black soap, for me the best. It is native to Morocco and is used in hammams. You can visit my blog where I have information about the soap and its use. It is fantastic and leaves the skin super and soft.
A greeting from Spain.
Hi Ana! Thanks for the kind words and the info.!