It should go without out saying… it takes some work and effort to maintain a healthy looking skin! The beauty industry today offers a multitude of choices when it comes to skincare treatments and products. With so many skincare options on the market these days, it can be a bit of a mind-boggle trying to pin-point which products and treatments are right for your skin.
The skin itself is the largest organ of the body measuring roughly 20 square feet – that’s pretty amazing! The skin protects us from harmful elements by regulating body temperature and permitting the sensations of touch, heat and cold. When our bodies experience stress, the skin shows signs of distress in different ways to help make us aware that something is not quite right somewhere – this can show up as breakouts, swelling, discolouration or redness. To help maintain and repair the rate at which the skin functions, it is important to be mindful about how our bodies and skin changes over time. I have written this blog to help you understand how exfoliation as part of a healthy skincare regime can help you keep on top of some good ‘healthy skin habits’.
ike flower petals, skin cells naturally shed ultimately revealing a new layer of skin roughly every 28 days – this process is called desquamation. The process of desquamation can be affected by lifestyle, face masks, makeup, shaving, sun exposure, the natural ageing process, and other environmental factors. Through desquamation, the skin’s appearance is improved exposing fresh new cells. This natural process needs to happen to keep the skin looking and feeling younger which helps prevent excessive dryness and other skin conditions that can affect the skin’s appearance and texture.
There are a number of ways to assist the rate at which the process of desquamation happens. These methods generally involve exfoliating the outer-most layer of the skin (the epidermis). Skin exfoliation techniques can be adapted dependant on the skin’s thickness (density) and sensitivity. I have listed below different types of mechanical exfoliation options available nowadays:
- Facial/Body Flannels or Exfoliating Clothes/Gloves – these are the most cost-effective option available on the market! They can be used daily or as frequently as needed. Facial/body flannels are usually the most gentle of the two options making them safe for even the most sensitive of skin types.
- Topical Skin Scrubs – these are usually shop-bought or home-made and consist of abrasive grain and emollient mixture to create an abrasive paste or solution that can be massaged into the skin. Skin scrubs are a luxurious way to mechanically exfoliate the skin and are generally recommended for use 1-3 times a week depending on the grain density and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Facial/Body Brushes – these can be used daily from 1-3 times a week depending on the type of bristles used however it is always advisable to follow manufacturers’ recommendations.
- Skin Abrasive Treatments e.g. dermaplanning, micro or diamond dermabrasion – this type of treatment usually offers a deeper exfoliation process and can be received 1-4 times a month dependant on your needs. These types of treatments are generally recommended as a course of treatments to treat and refine specific skin conditions like large pores, scars, pigmentation and fine lines over a period of time. It is important to note that due to the abrasive process involved with these types of treatments, some may not be suitable for very sensitive skin types.
Don’t be thrown by the word ‘chemical’ – this is simply a phrase used to describe the consistency, different strengths and combinations of nontoxic acid ingredients used in skincare products and treatments. These nontoxic and noninvasive skin treatments are usually derived from natural sources to exfoliate the skin over a period of time. The rate at which the products/treatments work depends on the type of exfoliating (peeling) agent used. I have listed below a number of different types of peels ranging from very superficial to medium/deep respectively:
- PHA (Poly Hydroxy Acids) e.g. our Bio C Peel Facial – these generally are a combination of different mild peeling agents and work in a similar way to AHA however the difference is that they have larger molecules so they cannot penetrate the skin as deeply. Although they are not as deeply penetrative, PHAs like gluconolactone and lactobionic acid have additional hydrating and antioxidant benefits. PHAs are generally suited to more sensitive skin types and so viewed as less irritating than other chemical exfoliants.
- AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid) e.g AHA Resurfacing Lotion 8 – these are water-soluble superficial or “light” peels derived from sugary fruits and created to remove only the top-most outer layer of dead skin called the stratum corneum (glycolic acid – sugar cane, malic acid – apples, tartaric acid – grapes). They are an effective way to manage and improve texture, pigmentation, pores or a lacklustre complexion.
- BHA (Beta-Hydroxy Acids) e.g Alpha Beta Gel Toner –these are oil-soluble and therefore able to dive deep into pores to dissolve excess sebum that can mix with dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria to cause blemishes (salicylic acid and citric acid). BHA products and treatments are definitely the ‘go to’ if you have concerns about persistent blackheads, spots, general combination to oily skin types, rosacea-related redness and sun damage.
- TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) e.g our new Noninvasive Anti-Ageing Facial this is a noninvasive medium to deep skin treatment used to treat skin discolorations, scarring, and deep wrinkles. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used to clear away dead skin cells to reveal the newer and smoother skin layers below. When TCA is applied to the skin, it causes the top layers of cells to dry up and peel off over a period of several days to one week. Lighter TCA peels are usually performed in a series of 2 or 3 for best result. This is similar to other light peels that usually involve AHAs. Medium depth TCA peels are usually done once or twice a year and do require some downtime unless otherwise stated by your therapist/physician (usually about a week). TCA peels may be a good option, particularly if you have melasma, because many lasers are difficult to use when treating melasma.
There is clear evidence that exfoliating the skin regularly provides a plethora of benefits whilst improving blood and lymph circulation. Skin exfoliation is also a great prevention and control for bumps resulting from ingrowing hairs. Individuals with thicker skins and coarse hair tend to be the victims of these annoying breakouts; using a face or body scrub at least 24 hours before waxing, shaving or any other form of hair removal unblocks pores preventing new hair growth from being blocked under the skin.
When the skin has been properly exfoliated, treatment serums, moisturisers and other topical products are absorbed much easier by the freshly exposed skin cells promoting better skin hydration levels and elasticity – this also helps to normalise the skin’s natural protective barrier making it more resilient to irritation and other superficial damage. Did I mention skin exfoliation can help knock back signs of ageing? The mechanism of exfoliation acts as a massage to awaken and stimulate the underlying musculature of the skin – this helps relax tight superficial muscles improving their tone… that’s natural anti-ageing at its finest!
If ever in doubt about what types of exfoliation methods are right for you, get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist and advise as much as we can.