What Does Exfoliation Do?  

We all know that exfoliation is an essential part of achieving healthy, glowing skin, especially in your late twenties & thirties and beyond when your skin renewal process begins to slow. The important thing to remember is that, regardless of what type of exfoliation you choose, there are several key steps that you need to follow to ensure you get the most out of your skin care products & or treatments. Before you go skin deep, make sure you read on to find out about exfoliation, as well as do’s and dont’s of exfoliation treatments.

The purpose of exfoliation is to remove the dull surface layers of dead skin cells to reveal the new, younger skin beneath. The depth of the exfoliation depends on the type of skin peeling treatment you receive. You will find exfoliating helpful with unclogging pores, smoothing out the appearance of the skinand reducing wrinkles and fine lines.

You can choose from a physical exfoliant (typically a scrub) or a chemical exfoliant (an acid-based peel). Physical exfoliants are fine granules, with a gritty texture, that you can massage on to scrape/rub off dead skin. (Among our favorites are DeU’s Deep Blue Scrub, Eminence Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Cleanser & FarmHouse Fresh Timescape Micromazing Face Polish). A chemical exfoliant can use acids like AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) or BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids). Typically, a chemical exfoliant with a BHA, like a salicylic acid, is ideal for acne-prone skin types, as it penetrates the skin’s surface and the pores, allowing it to target blackheads and whiteheads. In contrast, AHA’s, like glycolic acid or lactic acid, are great for dry or mature skin as AHA’s work on the skin’s surface and focus on the visible signs of aging. (We have in stock an OBAGI take home Revivify Multi-Acid Facial Peel set. It’s designed to be used as a 4-part series. We love that it’s an easy to use two steps, BHA-AHA multi-acid peel formulated with Salicylic, Lactic, Glycolic and Kolic Acids). 

To aid in your mission for a brighter, healthier complexion, we’ve gathered some skin care do’s and don’t’s when it comes to exfoliation, so you can do it the right way. 

Do:  Determine Your Skin Type

To get the most out of exfoliation and to avoid any unpleasant side effects, familiarize yourself with your skin type, always remembering that a skin type is different than a skin concern. Skin types are classified into just five categories, whereas skin concerns are the multitude of conditions that you want to treat, and can include blemishes, wrinkles, sun damage & aging.  

The five skin types are: Normal, Oily, Dry, Combination and Sensitive.

So, let’s illustrate a scenario: Your skin is prone to irritation and redness, and you have a few dark spots on your face due to sun damage. The skin care analysis? Your skin type is most likely “sensitive” and the skin concern that you want to target are the dark spots or uneven skin tone.

Determining your skin type isn’t as easy as it sounds. We recommend doing a Skin Care Consult or Basic Facial with one of our trained staff if you are unsure.  

Don’t:  Exfoliate Irritated Skin

Is your skin feeling irritated and sore? Whether it’s a sunburn or a skin reaction caused by a product or treatment, any type of irritation or redness is a good reason to avoid exfoliation. In this case, scrubbing away at your skin could cause more harm than good. Over-exfoliating the skin may compromise the outermost layer known as the skin’s natural moisture barrier. The skin barrier helps our skin retain moisture and provides protection from environmental threats. A compromised barrier can lead to the skin feeling red, irritated, inflamed or overproducing oil, which can lead to potential breakouts.  We recommend holding off on any type of treatment until your skin has completely recovered. One exception, and part of why it’s a favorite of ours, is DeU’s Deep Blue Scrub. It is gentle yet still effective to use every day.  

Do:  Follow Exfoliation with SPF

After exfoliation, your skin is more susceptible to damage from the sun or other environmental elements, which means it’s even more crucial to apply an SPF moisturizer.  When it comes to your daily skin care routine, sun protection is a must.  Once you’ve buffed away the dull layers of your skin, your complexion immediately becomes more sensitive.  

Don’t Use Synthetic Exfoliants

Not only can synthetic exfoliants like plastic microbeads harm your skin, but they can also cause intense damage to our environment. 

Do:  Use Caution When Combining Exfoliation Treatments

Although many exfoliation treatments work well together, there are some skin care combinations that should be avoided. When using retinol treatments, for example, it recommended that you avoid applying exfoliating peels and use caution when undergoing additional exfoliation procedures such as waxing eyebrows (by the way our Sarah is amazing with eyebrows!) chemical peels, microdermabrasion, Venus GLOW and Laser Treatments. This also applies to over-the-counter medications. To be safe, it’s always best to ask or do a consult with a professional