The Secret To Amazing Skin

Exfoliating. What is it? Why do it? How often? With what?
Although exfoliating is not a new thing there are still a lot of people who don’t do it and a lot of people who have questions about it. In this blog I will try and answer all of your questions on the very important and beneficial skin care step called exfoliating.
Lets start with the “what.” In the English dictionary, exfoliating means to remove the surface. When you exfoliate that’s exactly what you are doing. Removing the dead surface cells that are on outermost layer of your epidermis to reveal new skin underneath. The body does do this naturally but some times it needs a little help. As we age exfoliating gets even more important do to the fact that the natural cell turn over slows down which is why the skin gets dryer, rougher, and duller. Our cells start to become dormant and sluggish but exfoliating will keep them stimulated helping to prevent from signs of aging.
Exfoliating is also important when it comes to clogged pores, break outs, and ingrown hairs. By getting rid of dead surface cells you are preventing extra oil, dirt, and bacteria from getting trapped in your pores. You are also allowing you products to penetrate the skin better so you’ll get a better cleanse, more hydration and just see and overall better result with your products. Even if you don’t have major concerts but want to maintain the health of your skin. Exfoliating will keep that glow and make your skin look and feel soft and new every time.
Now that you know a little of why you should exfoliate, and all of the benefits, what should you use? There are different forms of exfoliation and different strengths. The most common form is mechanical or physical exfoliation, which involves physically removing the dead surfaces cells such as a scrub or microdermabrasion. As you know there are lots of scrubs out there and not all are good for you. One of the worst products is, St.Ives apricot scrub. Some scrubs such as that use sharp, not spherical beads (in that case shells) that can actually tear your pores open and cause irritation and sensitivity. Stick with scrubs that use things such as bamboo or jojoba beads and remember you just want to remove the surface cells so focus on using circular motions not actually scrubbing hard into the skin. This will prevent sensitivity and other negative side effects from over exfoliating.
The other form is chemical exfoliation which is when ingredients are dissolving the dead cells. There are many types and many preferences when it comes to chemical exfoliation. Some of the more popular chemicals knows as alpha hydroxy acids or AHA are lactic acid, citric acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid. These can be used at different strengths to increase the amount of exfoliation. Over the counter products contain under 10%, stronger amounts can be prescribed by dermatologist and are used in peels. Then you have the beta hydroxy acid which is salicylic acid. AHA’s are water soluble and BHA’s are oil soluble meaning it can penetrate into the pore which contains sebum and exfoliate the dead cells inside the pore.
Two other things you have probably seen or heard of are Retinol and Retin-A. Both are retinoids meaning they use vitamin A but they are very different. Retinol is a natural form of Vitamin A while Retin-A is a synthetic derivative of vitamin A. It is much stronger than Retinol and prescription only.
How often should you exfoliate? This really depends on what you are using. Most mechanical exfoliants are recommended one or twice a week. Always read the label. For chemical exfoliants it really all depends. They come in different products and different strengths. My best recommendation is to consult with an Esthetician or dermatologist for what type of exfoliation and or strength is best for you.
Aveda’s out look and options:
As most know Aveda strives to be as natural as possible so we use salicylic acid that is naturally derived from winter green and glycosamine HCL, an amino acid, as our “chemical” exfoliants and bamboo and jojoba beads as our mechanical exfoliation. We do not offer microdermabrasion because it causes inflammation in the skin which can increase signs of aging but our tourmaline radiance facial is our version that will give you what you’re looking for without negative side effects. We also offer a plant peel add on to facials which has the same result as a 30% glycolic peel without the redness, irritation, or peeling.
Colleen Murray
Skin Care Specialist
Spa Bleu