Exfoliation is not just scrubs, it´s a lot more: acids, enzymes and microfibre cloths. It´s not just sloughing off dead cells, it´s minimising spots, acne and blackheads. Read on to enter the world of exfoliation !
There is no clear-cut boundary between exfoliation and other cosmetic treatments: a lot of anti-ageing treatments are based on exfoliation with acids, so are many anti-acne products and even lip balms. Some kind of exfoliating agents are often found in bathing gels and face packs.
Four methods of exfoliation:Each gives different results and is meant for different types of skin. Each can have different strengths or potency. Most can be done with kitchen-shelf stuff, store-bought products, or at a professional salon, depending upon your needs.
- Mechanical exfoliation: by abrasion, that means something rough sloughs of the dead cells. Examples: scrubs, loofah or microfibre cloths. Not for sensitive skin, acne, or fragile capillaries.
- Gommage type exfoliation: sticky agents "glue" themselves to dead cells, and are then rolled off with the hands. Like this DIY almond cleanser. Very gentle, works for all skin types. I´d say that the Kaolin clay works similarly, although there is no rolling involved.
- Chemical exfoliation: substances loosen the skin bonds of the top skin layer. When done by fruit enzymes it´s very gentle and non-invasive. When done by hydroxy acids (AHA or BHA), this exfoliation reaches deeper layers of the skin: it works on wrinkles and fine lines, acne and blocked pores, scars and discolorations. There are also side-effects, for example skin becomes irritated and sensitive to light.
- Physical exfoliation: laser, liquid nitrogen, etc. This is pretty strong stuff, and done only by professionals, so I guess I´m not qualified enough to talk about them.
Why exfoliate ?
To help the shedding of dead cells. The cells shed by themselves, but exfoliation speeds the process up. As the skin ages, it´s own natural exfoliation process becomes uneaven, and it´s a good idea to help it out ! Because:
- The skin looks brighter and cleaner without a layer of dead cells on it.
- Products can reach the skin better without the barrier of dead cells. That´s why you need to clenase and exfoliate your body before using that stretch-mark cream !
- To keep the skin clean, unclog the pores and reduce acne.
- To expose the hair follicle, preventing ingrown hair and to allow a better shave.
- In the case of acid peels, to fight skin ageing (lines, wrinkles, discolouration).
- To stimulate blood circulation (in the case of mechanical peels).
I will be writing in detail about each type of exfoliation in the coming days, including DIY recipes and tips. Stay tuned !
Photo via callhermoonchild