The principle of exfoliating the skin is all about removing the dead dry skin cell build up. This can help with many skin issues such as dehydration, uneven texture, pigmentation, acne, and much more. We do have a natural process called the desquamation process which allows our skin cells to shed away every 4-6 weeks, but giving our skin a boost and accelerate this process really helps the overall health of our skin.
Let’s start by explaining first and foremost where our skin cells are born. They start their journey all the way down to in the Basal layer. In their life cycle, they move their way along through the layers of the epidermis, ending their life on the top part, the stratum corneum:
The stratum corneum is basically 15 to 20 layers of dead skin cells – so what you’re looking at in the mirror is basically all dead (Lol..) ! As we age, the desquamation process (natural process that makes our old skin cell shed off) really slows down, so it’s important to use exfoliation techniques in order to help our skin exfoliate itself. One of the major issues that NOT exfoliating will bring is increasing skin dehydration. As the dead skin cells pack on and pack on, it doesn’t let your skin breathe, not allowing any moisture to actually penetrate your skin’s barrier. This is why it’s important to remove those dead and dry skin cells in order to actually hydrate the fresh new baby cells that are revealed post exfoliation.
It’s important to remember NOT to exfoliate every day (whether it’s a mechanical technique or chemical) because you are irritating your skin too much, and this will unbalance your protective barrier. Having a thinned out red sensitive skin is not the goal here.
As I mentioned before, there are two ways to remove this build up: mechanically or chemically. Mechanical exfoliation is when we are using an object or small abrasive particles (such as jojoba grains, apricot powder or unispheres just to name a few) to lift off the dead and dry build up. Only the mechanical techniques have the power to do this. Chemical exfoliations work totally differently. Ideally, you work with both to have a “360 effect” on your skin. At home mechanical exfoliation should be done 1-3 times a week, no more. This really depends on your skin type of course!
Professional treatment wise, the most popular ones will be microdermabrasion or dermaplaning. With the micro, the first phase is using a diamond tip with a small suction (feels like sandpaper) and passing it over the skin’s surface. In the second phase, we are are passing crystals (mini sandblasting feel) with the same suction as the diamond tip, which will simultaneously blast the crystals on the skin’s surface and suck back in the used crystals and all the debris and dead skin cell build up. We are able to see all the dead skin cell build up on the machine’s filter, it’s quite cool to see! Dermaplaning consists of passing a medical grade scalpel to “scrape” off the dead skin cell build up, as well as some vellus hair. The skin is left soft and glowing. These two techniques are amazing for skin texture & brightness. Not to mention that these give you a deeper exfoliation than what you can do at home, so it’s totally worth every penny!