Is exfoliating your skin really that important? Is it worth spending money on? 

The answer is Yes! Without regular exfoliation, you are moisturising dead skin cells with expensive skincare products. The skin does desquamate on its own, but not at a fast enough rate. Exfoliation is a method of removing the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. 

What are dead skin cells?

Keratinisation is a process where a cell is maturing as it moves up from the basal layer to the horny layer of the skin. As the cell matures, it becomes dehydrated, flattened and infiltrated by keratin. The cell changes from living into dead, flattened, horny cells without a nucleus.

What are the benefits of skin exfoliation?

  • Increases the skins natural rate of desquamation 
  • It stimulates micro-circulation 
  • It improves waste removal 
  • It increases the rate of regeneration 
  • It removes keratinised cells from the skins surface 
  • Loosens blockages or congestion 
  • Prepares the skin for product penetration

What are the different types of home skin exfoliation?

Enzyme exfoliator

This type of exfoliator softens, loosens and digests the bonds between dead skin cells. Enzyme exfoliators can be heat activated, moisture activated, friction activated or self-activating depending on the formulation. 

Examples of keratolytic substances which form part of this type of exfoliation include: 

  • Enzymes e.g papain 
  • Acid solutions e.g lactic acid 

Indications for this type of exfoliation:

  • Problematic skin 
  • Sallow complexions 
  • Skin that needs refinement 
  • Skin that can’t handle anything too abrasive 
  • Mature, delicate skin 

When should I not use an enzyme exfoliator?

  • Hypersensitive skin usually prone to allergies 
  • Inflammatory eczema 
  • Over open cuts or abrasions 
  • Sunburn 
  • Severe, inflammatory acne

Granular Exfoliator 

These types of exfoliators contain spherical granules which are either biological or synthetic. The purpose of these granules is to polish the surface of the skin while being massaged over the skin. The microcirculation of the skin is stimulated which in turn increases the general metabolism of the skin. Mechanical exfoliators are applied to the skin and are activated by friction caused either by the hands or with a brush machine.

Indications for this type of exfoliation:

  • Sallow complexions craving stimulation 
  • Skin that needs to be refined 
  • Sun-damaged complexions 
  • Mildly congested skins 

When should I not use a granular exfoliator?

  • Hypersensitive skin 
  • Allergy prone skin 
  • Rosacea 
  • Open cuts or abrasions 
  • Sunburn 
  • Inflamed lesions
  • Infections
  • Severe, inflammatory acne 

A lot of people feel like exfoliation is this big hassle that they would rather just avoid. One should exfoliate twice weekly. There are a lot of products which contain exfoliating ingredients which means you don’t have to separately exfoliate the skin. But in other cases, if you have a face scrub or an enzyme exfoliator you can quickly do it in the shower while you’re conditioning your hair for example. Find ways to do it that works for you and doesn’t take up too much time. If you’re a sucker for treating yourself when you apply your skincare products then take your time and treat yo self! I personally prefer enzymatic exfoliators or a night cream containing Retinol to exfoliate the skin.

I have so many different patients that all prefer different things and different ways of applying their products, do what works for YOU!