Are you wondering whether you need to exfoliate your skin? Your face,feet, arms, legs? The answer is one that I hate to hear...
Everybody is different
But maybe the following information compiled from reputable sources will help you decide.
First let's reflect back on what we know about skin biology
We know the skin is composed of multiple layers and the outermost layer is the epidermis which is the part we see. This layer is also composed of more layers with the very top layer called the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum is a layer of dead skin cells.
Skin cells are created in the lower basal layer and they migrate through the squamous layer to the epidermis layer as they age.
As the skin cells age, everything in them dies except keratin. So at the end of the skin cells life cycle, only keratin remains. Instead of plump cells, they are flat and lighter in color.
Keratin is the substance of our nails, feathers, hoofs, claws, beaks, etc. YUCK! Right?
Life cycle of a skin cell
Ever notice how a baby has beautiful porcelain-like skin with pink cheeks. The younger we are the more skin cells are created and the turnover is faster. As we age, we create fewer skin cells which makes the skin thinner and the turn over rate is also slower. By the time we are 30, our skin cells live for about 30 days.
How can exfoliation help
Exfoliation has a temporary effect so it a process done repeatedly. How often depends on your skin.
Benefits claimed are
- Fades age spots
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Unclogs pores
Allows moisturizers to penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin. Especially for this reason, some like to exfoliate before using self-tanning lotions.
- Increases skin cell turnover (I'm not sure about that one!)
Ways to exfoliate
There are 2 main ways to exfoliate: chemical and physical. Chemical is mainly reserved for facials. Usually a dermatologist or an esthetician uses a product with acids or enzymes to remove the dead skin.
Remember how I said
Everybody is different
And to make matters worse, the skin throughout your body is different and what you use on your face is not what you should use on your feet. So the following is only a guideline.
1. Feet, knees & elbows can usually handle a cleanser with a course grain such as shells, sea salt, Epsom salt and pumice stones. (Heck, I use a cheese grater!)
2. Legs, arms, back can usually handle a cleanser with a moderate grain such as crushed nutshells, crushed fine seashells, sugar and coffee grounds. Some people love a dry body brush. See my article DRY BODY BRUSHING-WHAT? WHY? HOW?
3. Faces must use something much more gentle like oatmeal, bamboo charcoal, a facial brush with soft bristles or jojoba beads.
The DO NOTS
- Do not over do it in frequency or harshness. You can always do a little more later. Remember the objective is to remove DEAD skin.
- Avoid sunburned, inflamed or cut skin.
- Avoid acne-prone skin. Or at least be very, very gentle. You can spread acne by creating openings in the skin for bacteria. Cystic acne is already inflamed and if you worsen the condition, it can lead to permanent scaring. Your best exfoliate may be a chemical one.
- If your skin peels, you are over-doing it!
It's actually easy to do
Now, that I've made it sound hard, I'll tell you some resources from Josette BodyCare. (I can't miss that opportunity!)Sugar Scrub comes in Let's Play, Fresh Juicy Cranberries and Be Strong, Peppermint and Spearmint. Click here to purchase.
Brushes for dry body brushing, facial, back loofah and body nets can be found under Accessories or click here.
TREAT YOURSELF LOVE YOURSELF