All About Exfoliation

Is exfoliation part of your skin care regimen?  No? It should be! Skipping exfoliation can lead to dull, rough, and blemished skin. Let's talk about what exfoliation is and why we all need it! 

Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or some type of exfoliation tool. 

Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new skin cells approximately every 30 days. Sometimes these dead cells don’t shed off completely. This can result in dry, flaky patches of skin, clogged pores and even acne. Exfoliating your skin can help prevent these issues. Aging changes so many things and our skin is no exception. Since our skin is constantly turning over it is always pushing new cells to the skin’s surface. Unfortunately as we age, this turnover process slows, forcing us to find new solutions to slough away the dead skin that can build up and dull your glowing complexion. Here is where exfoliation becomes a tool in our anti-aging arsenal!

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliation can leave your skin looking brighter and improve the effectiveness of topical skin care products by enhancing absorption.

Regular exfoliation can also help prevent clogged pores, resulting in fewer breakouts.

Long-term exfoliating can increase collagen production. Collagen, a protein, is fundamental to maintain healthy skin. This protein also promotes skin elasticity, which helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and sagging skin.

5 Great Reasons to Exfoliate

  1. Refine Your Skin Texture: Give your skin a helping hand! Excess skin cells and impurities can cause rough, uneven skin texture.  Exfoliation sloughs off those dead cells. This helps to smooth rough areas and allows healthy cells to reach your skin's surface, creating a more even skin texture.  Exfoliation also aids in blood circulation which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the skin's surface so dull, rough skin is transformed into glowing, more youthful-looking skin. Don't we all need that?

  2. Bye Bye Large PoresDirt and oil builds up on your skin and often becomes trapped deep inside your pores. Congested, clogged pores appear larger and can result in uneven texture. By helping to unclog these pores through exfoliation your pores will appear smaller and your skin is left smoother. This gives you a more vibrant and polished complexion.

  3. Ban BlemishesBlemishes and blackheads can happen when excess oil and toxic impurities from our environment build up on our skin. Exfoliation helps remove build up, dirt and toxins. It aids in freeing trapped oils and impurities which helps to decrease the occurrence of blemishes and blackheads. It is important to use an exfoliator free of harsh ingredients that can aggravate already blemished skin.

  4. Address Signs of AgingAs we age skin starts to lose elasticity and become drier. The cell turn over is slower. This causes dull skin and can increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Exfoliating helps skin retain its suppleness. The process of exfoliation can also help lighten age and sun spots. 
  5. Improve Product EfficiencyLayers of built up dead skin cells can prohibit the proper penetration of serums and moisturizers. Regular exfoliation can help to remove these layers. This will help your products absorption rate and effectiveness. Better absorption of your products will help keep skin nourished, conditioned and glowing!

When should I exfoliate?

It all comes down to personal preference and daily routine.

For example, if you find your skin looks dull in the morning, exfoliating before you start your day may be beneficial. On the other hand, exfoliating at night can help remove any lingering makeup or other debris. I prefer to exfoliate once a week before bed.

If you use any type of medicated product for a skin condition, you should space out the time between using that product and exfoliating. 

Also you should avoid exfoliating if you have cuts or open sores on your skin.

How often should I exfoliate?

If you have oily skin, you can exfoliate as often as needed. This may be daily, every other day, or less frequent.

For all other skin types, you should limit at-home exfoliating to once or twice a week. I am 46 and once a week is currently enough for me. All skin types are different so experiment to find what works best for you! 

Cell turnover in healthy skin occurs, on average, like this:

  • In your 20s: 14-25 days
  • In your 30s: 30 days
  • In your 40s: 40 days

Unfortunately it slows down by a few days for every decade we add to our lives!

Here's a good exfoliation example. I am 46. I exfoliate on Sunday night. My cell turnover has slowed to every 40 days. There is no benefit to exfoliating the next day. Actually, if you do so, you will only damage the already exfoliated new skin. You can over-do it! After experimenting once weekly works well for me, especially in the dry winter months here in northern Minnesota! 

Can I use a body-specific product on my face and vice versa?

You really shouldn’t. Scrubs and other exfoliating products designed for your body tend to be more aggressive than products that are designed for your face.

Your facial skin is so much more delicate than the skin on your arms and legs. Using such a product on your face can result in microscopic tears, cuts and other irritation.

Using a facial exfoliator on your body probably won’t cause harm, but the formulation may not be strong/abrasive enough to produce the results you’re looking for on those areas of your body! My dry scaly winter legs come to mind here! I designed our emulsified sugar scrub specifically to combat, soothe and soften dry winter skin on our bodies. I don't use the sugar scrub on my face. I have created a separate line of facial scrub products that are gentle on delicate facial tissue.

Our facial scrubs come in a dry powdered form making them preservative free! Simply blend with your favorite base to make a paste. Here are my favorites: 

Honey: Honey helps to speed up the natural exfoliation process and has humectant qualities, which help attract moisture, making it great as a hydrating facial scrub. 

Yogurt: Yogurt contains lactic acid, the same alpha hydroxy acid found in skin care treatments, only milder. It soothes, smoothes and evens skin tone. Full fat Greek yogurt is my favorite natural base to blend with our facial scrub line! 

Water: Can't go wrong here. Simple and easy to source. Just add our facial scrub powder to a small amount of water to make a paste and away you go! 

If exfoliation isn't a part of your skin care regimen I hope this blog post will serve as a guide and encourage you to give exfoliation a try! The results are worth it! 

Let's chat soon.....


Disclaimer: I hope you have found my blog useful and helpful. I am a professional registered nurse of 23 years and my blog posts are intended for informational and educational purposes only. They should not be seen as health, nutritional or medical advice. I am not a doctor nor have I ever played one on TV. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I recommend checking with your doctor before beginning any new treatment as I am unaware of your entire medical history.

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