Ok so the skincare trend is to exfoliate your face to get all the dry dead skin cells off to give you that glowing soft skin, but are we helping or harming our skin in the long run?
First off let’s talk about your epidermis or that top layer of skin, which is made up of flattened dead skin cells is considered your skins barrier. It has two main functions…
- To keep out harmful UV rays and environmental toxins
- To keep moisture and lipids in (that’s what keeps your skin hydrated and supple)
So what happens when we over exfoliate this top layer of skin we are breaking down that barrier that protects us from sun exposure, toxins, and end up making our skin super sensitive and more dried out. Who wants that?
Now I’m not saying that our skin doesn’t benefit from a light enzymatic mask or a gentle scrub every once in a while to help out the skins natural sluffing, but we should definitely not be taking a brillo pad to our face every day.
I can already hear you say “but my skin feels dry and dirty” or “I have break outs so I need to exfoliate to get rid of the bacteria!” The truth is you don’t, you are typically only making your skin conditions worse by trying to scrub it off.
The Dermis or the deep layer of skin under the epidermis is really where all the magic happens. Its where collagen, elastin, lipids, sweat glands, sebaceous glands and nerve endings are formed. As we over exfoliate our epidermis and compromise that “barrier” we are making our dermis work harder trying to repair that barrier and its functions rather than focus on producing collagen and elastin that give the skin hydration and keeps it from sagging.
When it comes to exfoliants try and stay away from…
- Acids such as glycolic and drying chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide which are popular is adding acne skin. These are extremely drying and can actually cause you to break out more, make you more susceptible to sun damage and make your skin sensitive and painful. There are better alternatives out there such as L-mandelic acid to help with acne that is more gentle and tolerable on the skin.
- Apricot scrub has actual bits of apricot shell with sharp edges in it that can actually make small scratches on the skin. If you can’t live without a scrub, stick to one with spherical balls such as Jojoba and only use a scrub on your face once a week…more than that can cause too much exfoliation. Don’t forget to be gentle with a light touch, there is no need to scrub with elbow grease friction.
- Electric scrub brushes…you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that end in sonic. Not only do these cause way to much exfoliation on the skin, but they harbor bacteria….can we say GROSS!!! There is a new machine out there called the My Skin Buddy that is great a cleaning out the pores and aiding the skin to optimal health. Ask me about it, I love mine at home and in the treatment room.
So when it comes to exfoliation less is more, and ask a licensed professional not a sales person what the proper exfoliation practices are for your skin.