What is Exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process of removing the upper layer of dead cells on the skin's outermost surface, either through mechanical means, such as a loofah, pumice stone or scrub, or via chemical means, such as fruit enzymes or alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs).
Exfoliation is often used during facial and body treatments at spas, as the removal of dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface of the skin reveals the finer, smoother, brighter, younger-looking new skin that is hidden underneath. In addition, exfoliation can also help to prevent blemishes, as it prevents the pores from becoming clogged with dead skin and other debris.
The Skin Production Process
New skin cells are created in the dermis (the skin's lower layer) and migrate to the surface of the skin, where the old, dead cells are shed. In young skin, this process takes around 28 to 30 days; however, in older skin (after around the age of 35), cell production slows down and the cycle can take up to 60 days, which means that the older skin cells remain on the surface for far longer, making the skin look tired and grey, and giving it a dry and rough look. Exfoliation removes the outer layer to reveal the newer skin beneath and also encourages cell turnover and stimulates collagen production.
Over-exfoliating can dry and irritate the skin, which can lead to the development of wrinkles; it is therefore recommended that a moisturiser is always used after exfoliation.
- Removes dead skin cells that can make the skin look grey, rough or tired, thus promoting a radiant looking skin.
- Unclogs skin pores, removing trapped oil and dirt beneath the skin surface. This can help to prevent spots or blackheads.
- Can help to fade discoloration and scars; for example, those left after acne.
- Mechanical exfoliators massage the skin, thus increasing blood and lymph circulation in skin cells, which helps to eliminate body waste and brings essential nutrients to the skin. This helps the skin to regenerate faster.
- Helps to expose the hair follicles, allowing a better shave.
- Beauty products applied are absorbed more easily into the skin after exfoliation.