Exfoliation is the first step in your daily skin care regime. There are however a number of important considerations you should be aware of - should you use a chemical or mechanical for of exfoliation? What type of ingredients should be in your Exfoliant product?
These and other considerations are the topics discussed in this article.
Exfoliation: Step 1 in Your Daily Skin Care Regime
Did you know that about 80,000 facial skin cells die every day? This is why if you do not include exfoliation in your daily skin care regime, your skin may take on a dull, lustreless appearance, accentuating lines and wrinkles on your face.
Many women, and men too for that matter, still use commercial soaps that are harsh on the skin and contain chemicals you’d rather not know about. The combination of these chemicals and the harshness of these soaps can leave your facial skin dry, robbed of moisture and having removed the protective Acid Mantel, vulnerable to microbes and other potentially harmful environmental factors.
Exfoliation is the first step in any good daily skin care regime. Its focus is on the upper most layer of your skin called the Stratum corneum. This layer consists primarily of dead skin cells and it is at this level that exfoliants work. As we grow older, the rate of skin cell renewal slows down and dead skin cells on the surface will accentuate lines and wrinkles and make your complexion look dull and lifeless.
Exfoliation can take a number of forms, and are basically divided into two types: Chemical and Mechanical.
The Chemical type of exfoliation products tend to use enzymes and/or alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s) to remove dead skin cells. Unfortunately, too often these types of products are not natural and even if they are natural, they have a tendency to also act on living cells, which is not the indented function of a quality exfoliant.
The Mechanical types of exfoliation products are preferable, as they are generally more focused on removal of dead skin cells by physically removing them and do not attack living cells.
Exfoliation is intended to do nothing more than remove dead skin cells, however, you need to be aware of how ‘ruff’ they are. For example, as mentioned above, there are chemical exfoliants which will not just attack the dead skin cells, but also harm living cells. This is not the aim of a quality exfoliant, on the contrary, exfoliation is supposed to help promote new growth of skin cells, not attack new cells.
Similarly, there are natural as well as non-natural mechanical type of exfoliants that have ingredients, which can cause minute cuts and be quite abrasive to your facial skin. Again this is not the type of product you would want to use.
Instead, exfoliants should contain substances such as high quality clays, herbal extracts and essential oils that are gentle to your skin, but do remove the dead skin layer at the same time. Clay, for example, is made up of rounded particles and because of their shape, they will not irritate or cut your skin nor will they be abrasive to the skin. In addition, natural mineral clays contain nutrients that are nourishing to the skin.
Essential oils and herbal extracts, such as Chamomile and Tea Tree powder are soothing, anti-septic, cleansing, and protect the newly exposed living skin cells.
In summary, a good exfoliant should be natural, gentle, non-abrasive and contain ingredients that are cleansing, nourishing and soothing to your skin.
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