American’s LOVE to exfoliate!
We love to so much that many exfoliate twice a day – YIKES!!!!!
I know that’s what you’re reading and that’s what you’re seeing all over social media, in magazines & trends from celebrities.
Who are you going to believe…
Social media or a licensed professional with 15 years experience doing skin care & working hands on with clients?
I am out there on social media, I’m seeing the trends and reading the mis-information being pumped out to the masses and it honestly makes me sick.
People are believing someone who has no skin experience, they just love skin care.
How are they an expert?
Why does everyone believe them?
We are all looking for a quick fix when it comes to our skin. Is that working for you?
Today I want to educate you about exfoliation and why exfoliation is important, when to exfoliate to prevent damage, and what exfoliants you can safely use.
My goal in this world is to help as many people as possible improve their lives by clearing up their skin, today, I’m going to help YOU!
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. It removes dry, flaky skin and breaks up the glue that holds our dead skin cells in place.
Think of our skin stacked like bricks & mortar in the very top layer. The bricks are our skin cells and the mortar is the glue that holds the cells in place.
This layer is our skin’s protective barrier. This layer is what shields our skin and body from bacteria, pollution, sun, and other harmful substances in products that can harm us.
Over-exfoliation breaks down this delicate barrier and causes harmful substances to get into our blood stream via the skin.
This is why so many ingredients are under fire. The skin is a detox organ, very little can penetrate through it’s surface. Damaging the barrier can allow for excess penetration which is good when using a serum, but NOT for anything else.
The goal of your exfoliant is to assist the dead skin cells off the skin’s surface, not remove those delicate layers.
Let me get a little science geek on you and explain WHY exfoliation is important
Our skin has two layers: The Epidermis & The Dermis. The Dermis is the 2nd layer that contains collagen, elastin, blood vessels, receptors, oil & sweat glands, etc. The Epidermis is the 1st layer that consists of 4 sub-layers.
Where the epidermis & dermis meet, new skin cells are born. Once they are born & mature, they begin their programmed death as they rise up to the top sub-layer, called the Stratum Corneum.
The Stratum Corneum is 8-20 cell layers thick and is the layer I mentioned above that is stacked like bricks & mortar. As the new cells come to the surface, they push the old ones off.
Sometimes those old ones get stuck on the skin and pile up like the leaves do on a sidewalk in the fall. When you use an exfoliant, the goal is to ASSIST the skin & remove those old dead skin cells piling up. Otherwise, the skin looks dull or can become extra dry because serums & moisturizers can’t get to the skin. You may even get more blackheads or breakouts.
This entire cell process of new cell’s born to pushing off the old cells takes about 28 days. As we age & pass 40, this process begins to slow down and can take as long as 45-60 days or longer.
When should you exfoliate?
I like to recommend to my clients to exfoliate 1-2 times a week and that’s it! If you’re doing it twice daily, your skin is going to need time to readjust, because you’ve been creating damage & stripping the skin of oil. It may take about 4-6 weeks for this process, which is about 1 full skin cell cycle.
Remember, your goal with the exfoliation is to assist the old dead skin cells off the skin’s surface, not damage the skin’s barrier.
By using a gentle exfoliant, you keep your skin’s barrier, aka the Stratum Corneum intact. This is awesome because you won’t be drying out your skin, allowing harmful substances in the skin AND your skin will begin to clear up, look and feel much healthier.
Who doesn’t want that?
By now you’re probably wondering, what can you use to exfoliate?
Before I explain which ones to use, I’m going to tell you which ones to avoid and why…
I absolutely HATE face scrubs, they are way too strong and create micro-tears in the skin, which are microscopic tears that allow those harmful substances to enter the skin.
The job of your Epidermis (1st layer of the skin) is to protect the Dermis (2nd layer of the skin) which is our live layer. Too much damage to the Epidermis by over-scrubbing can affect and cause damage to the Dermis.
Once this damage occurs, there is no repairing the skin.
Damage can look like scarring, depleting the collagen & elastin and allowing harmful substances in the blood stream.
Two awful exfoliation tools that everyone loves and causes massive damage:
1) Mechanical scrubbing brushes
2) Spiky skin rollers
Let me explain…
1) Mechanical scrubbing brushes – you damaging the skin by creating microtears and even with the softer ones. You are also spreading bacteria all over your face. Even though you may be cleaning it with soap & water, you are not disinfecting them, which means that there is always bacteria and dead skin cell build up in those brushes.
In my treatment room, I disinfect all tools with a strong solution that kills bacteria and germs. This is to protect myself and my clients from harm.
Consumers don’t have access to this and shouldn’t have access to these disinfectants. Therefore, you shouldn’t ever use one of those brushes
ESPECIALLY if you have acne! You are making your acne worse!
2) Spiky skin rollers – these were created to allow for excess product penetration for serums to help with the aging process.
Again, these are NOT sterile and can push bacteria deeper into the skin and can harm your Dermis layer!!!
These skin rollers were designed as a mock up to microneedling, which is a controlled wound to the skin to allow for product penetration. Licensed estheticians in some states, nurses & doctors are to perform this treatment.
I am a licensed esthetician & in the state of Illinois where I practice, I am NOT allowed to microneedle.
How is it that someone can purchase or sell this as an untrained skin person, but a licensed professional that understands skin can’t?
Honestly, it’s kinda scary!
I highly recommend running away from this, like you would run from the plague.
NOW, I can get to the best exfoliants to use
Are you familiar with enzymes?
If not, let’s talk enzymes…
Enzymes use fruit, such as pineapple, papaya, or berries to gently remove unwanted dead skin cell build up.
Remember my leaves on the sidewalk analogy?
When the leaves are piled up, you need a broom to sweep the leaves off. The enzyme is your skin’s broom and brushes off the unwanted skin cell build up, leaving the skin’s barrier intact and reducing your risk of damage.
Enzymes sometimes tingle, more on dry skin’s, but they do the work for you. I love them and my clients love them!
I recommend doing 1-2 times a week and keep it in your shower. Unlike a scrub where you’re manually massaging into the face, you apply your enzyme & let it sit, like a mask for about 5-10 minutes.
Keeping it in your shower means, you apply it at the beginning of your shower, then at the end, you rinse off, apply your serums & moisturizers and your skin looks and feels great!
No irritation needed.
That’s the other thing I want to bring up; we think that scrubbing the face is the only way to get it clean.
That is a false misconception. From a skin professional point of view, you are causing dryness, dehydration, acne or skin sensitivity from scrubbing the skin.
Our skin is an organ and knows how to repair itself and clean itself out. Our job with our skin care products is to help it out.
Once you understand how easy skin care is and how great your skin will look after you truly give your skin the TLC it needs, you will have clear beautiful skin that you feel great in!
As always, I’m here and happy to answer any questions you may have!
Don’t forget to check out my website to book an appointment or purchase your own copy of my book: “Skin Deep: Demystifying Skin Care Solutions to Achieve Healthy, Glowing Skin”