It's easy to get a little lazy when it comes to your daily skincare ritual, with many of us just trying to get along by doing the bare minimum. That is, right up to the point when we need to actually fix something. Imperfections, blemishes, black or white head, dull skin or the appearance of fine lines often prompts us to do something more drastic (and expensive!) such as a facial, a peel, or the use of chemically-laden creams and serums.
As an alternative, how about preventing the problems from happening in the first place and saying hello to bright, supple, fresh-looking skin all the time?
We want to breathe life back into an often forgotten but fundamental step that should be in everyone’s skincare routine: exfoliation. If you’re already doing it, you may well be doing it the wrong way and causing more harm than good!
OK, firstly let's delve into some of the science behind the practice of exfoliation…
We shed thousands and thousands of top layer dead skin cells every few minutes to make room for the newer skin cells underneath. These new cells then become the older cells which also eventually also die off and shed, and the cycle goes on. When we are young this cycle short (a week for a child) but as we age, the skin renewal rate drops significantly – to almost monthly! Sun damage, menopause and other factors impacting the skin can slow this rate down even further.
To compound this, the shedding process on the surface of the skin can also become inefficient, causing a build-up of skin on the surface. Sun damage, loss of estrogen, dry and oily skin, and disorders such as psoriasis or rosacea can all affect how “smoothly” this natural exfoliation process takes place.
This is where exfoliation comes in.
We actually need to exfoliate to help this natural exfoliation process take place. Think about the heels of your feet. When we don’t take away the outer dead layer, the skin can become rough, thickened, scaly and discolored. Take this away and reveal your smoother, younger layer of skin. It’s the same with your face.
Not only does exfoliation reveal the younger layers of skin but it can also unclog pores by clearing the dead skin cells from the pore openings. That lets sebum (oil) flow more normally, helping to reduce blemishes and blackheads. It also allows your face cream and moisturizers to be better absorbed so they can work more effectively.
So, how do we exfoliate properly?
There are TONS of exfoliation options out there – scrubs, gloves/mitts, clay, serums, creams… the list goes on. My advice is to choose a self-regulating and customized exfoliation option such as BOA that only takes away the dead skin, not the healthy skin. Most scrubs aren’t great for your skin (and the microbead versions are bad for the environment too!) because they can't discriminate between the healthy and the dead skin – they scrub the entire top layer off which can leave your skin damaged and extra sensitive. The beauty of BOA is that it's personalized to your skin; it only exfoliates where you NEED to, taking away the dead skin only, leaving the healthy skin intact.
Exfoliation once or twice a week is an easy addition to your beauty ritual, which, if done the right way, will keep your skin clean, clear, smooth, youthful and glowing.