Exfoliating: Uncovering the Facts Beneath
You might think that exfoliating simply means removing the dead skin cells on the surface of your face. Yes, you are thinking the right thing, but there's even more to it.
The skin continuously creates new skin cells in the dermis, the second layer of the skin. Over a month's time, these new skin cells move their way up to the surface of the skin and become acidic. These skin cells die after moving to the surface and become saturated with keratin after the 30-day period. Since they are at the surface of the skin, they become the first barrier of protection against the elements. In this sense, keratin becomes a protective layer.
The drawback of this process is that the dead skin cells make the skin look dry and rough. This is especially true among women who are into their menopausal stage and who are, well, ageing. Skin erosion becomes uneven simply because not all the dead skin cells are removed from the surface. Exfoliating removes the remaining dead skin cells and reveals the new layer underneath it. This process unclogs the pores, keeps your skin clean, and ultimately reduces the chances of you breaking out from dirty and clogged pores. Exfoliating is also as important to men as it is to women. The process allows the hair follicles to be exposed thereby allowing a closer and better shave.
Bear in mind that exfoliating is best done after cleansing the skin. This is the time when it is still soft and will allow an easy exfoliating process. However, overexfoliating can cause dryness and skin irritation especially in the face so remember to always moisturize after exfoliating. This moisturizer from Aveeno, for example, is good enough to maintain the moisture in your skin and prevent it from drying out even after exfoliating.
There are two types of exfoliation processes - mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation involves scrubbing the skin with tools such as loofas, facial scrubs with microbeads, sugar, salt, and apricot shells, among others. Some products, such as St. Ives Renew and Firm Apricot Scrub, are gentle enough to be used everyday without overdrying your skin.
Chemical exfoliation necessitates the use of acids to help dissolve the connective bond between cells allowing them to simply and easily be removed. These chemicals are usually administered by medical professionals or can be bought in drug stores. Examples of these chemicals are salicylic acid, citric acid, glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acids or more commonly known as AHA's, and beta hydroxy acids or BHA's, just to name a few. Chemical exfoliants put you at risk for skin damage when applied incorrectly and in high doses. Thus, it is better to consult a professional for this type of exfoliating.
Perhaps we should thank the ancient civilizations for discovering this beauty technique. For one thing, it is a very affordable and easy beauty regimen. So there, now that you've read about the importance of exfoliation, make sure to include it in your beauty routine. When done correctly and religiously, it will definitely make your skin glow. That's a guarantee.