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How To: Exfoliate

younger healthier skin

Exfoliaton.  Many people that I consult at my work daily have never heard of the word. Others who know what exfoliation is do not do it; and some who think they are doing it are not using the right products for their skin.  So let’s take a closer look the most important step of a skincare routine.

ex·fo·li·ate [eks-foh-lee-eyt] verb, ex·fo·li·at·ed, ex·fo·li·at·ing.

Removal of dead skin cells.


Without exfoliaton the cell turnover rate occurs in the following cycles for dfferent ages:

-Ages 30-40: 28-45 days

-Ages 40-50: 45-60 days

-Ages 50-60: 60-90 days

-Ages 70+ : 90-120 days


So for a 30 year old one cell is being created every 28-45 days which means that your skin could have 45 day old cells on it. Compared to a newborn baby, cell turnover rate occurs every 7 days. No wonder babies have such soft skin!

baby soft

Exfoliation is a very important part of your skincare routine because it takes off the dead cells layering on top of the living cells; it helps improve almost every skin concern and leaves your skin looking younger and healthier. Not to mention your makeup will look and wear amazing all day.


Who benefits from exfoliating?


Acne Prone Skin: takes off the over produced cells that build up

Dehydrated skin: Allows better product penetration

Aging Skin: Cell turnover speeds up

Hyper-pigmentation: breaks up pigmentation and works it out of the skin faster.

Body: rough patches of skin


What type of exfoliates are there?

Mechanical/Physical: Physically scrape / rub dead cells from the skin’s surface. Include ingredients such as jojoba beads, ground nuts, and crystals. Also using brushes is included under mechanical exfoliation.




Enzyme: Dissolve keratin proteins on the surface of the skin. Commonly used enzymes are Papain (papaya), Bromelain (pineapple), and pumpkin.

enzyme mask

Chemical: Loosens the bond or intracellular “glue” between cells in the surface of the skin.

–          Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA): Glycolic, Lactic, Malic, Tartaric, Pyruvic, Citric, Mandelic.

–          Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA): Salicylic Acid

Chemical Exfoliation

AHA’s vs Enzymes

–          AHA’s break down the lipids that hold dead cells to the skin’s surface. They penetrate deeper and enable surface layers to slough off

–          Enzymes breakdown the dead skin cells and reduce deal protein cells. They do not penetrate as deep.

–          Enzymes only digest dead cells on skins surface unlike AHA’s. More gentle.


What Exfoliation type is good for Your Skin type?

–          Acne prone skin: Enzyme and chemical BHA. *avoid mechanical/physical*

–          Hyperpigmentation: Enzyme and Chemical AHA, Especially Lactic acid. *do not use strong % of glycolic on some skin types can cause more pigmentation*

–          Aging skin: Enzyme, Chemical AHA, especially Lactic Acid, also micodermabrasion treatments.

–          Normal skin type: Enzyme, Physical/mechanical, Chemical.

–          Dry and or Dehydrated skin: Enzyme, Chemical including Lactic Acid.

–          Body: Physical/mechanical and Chemical AHA/BHA

–          Lips: Physical/mechanical


How to Achieve a Good exfoliation:

-Type of skincare treatment : pick the right one for your skin type and condition

-Pre-exfoliation cleansing : make sure your skin is free of makeup and dirt

-duration of exfoliant left on skin: how long you are supposed to leave exfoliant on skin.

– Strength or % of product used: How strong is the product usually links to how long it stays on skin

-pH of exfoliant used * lower the pH the more Acidic*: Links to how deep of an exfoliation you achieve. Mostly linked to peels.

-Your skin type: how sensitive are you or what kind of condition are you trying to treat.

Careful, too much of a good thing can be bad!


Only exfoliate 1-3 times a week! (depending on strength of exfoliant)

-Excessive exfoliation could cause:

*Noticeable dehydration

*Tautness and itchiness

*Irritation and breakouts

*Redness, couperose, signs of early rosecea.


Skin will be sensitive to sunlight

ALWAYS use SPF during the day time when exfoliating the skin.



Products I recommend

ren-glycolactic skin renewal peel mask

REN- Glycolactic Skin Renewal peel mask

Chemical AHA and Enzyme

*great for all skin type

philosophy microdelivery peel

Philosophy- Microdelivery Peel

Chemical AHA and Physical

*great for Normal skin, aging


Dermalogica- Daily Micofoliant

Chemical BHA, Enzyme, and Physical

*great for sensitive, dull skin. Daily use

Dr. Dennis Gross- Alpha Beta Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross- Alpha Beta Peel

Chemical AHA/ BHA

*great for aging, acne, or hyperpigmentation

first aid beauty- facial radiance pads

First Aid Beauty- Facial Radiance Pads

Chemical AHA

*great for sensitive and acne skin


Ole Henriksen- Blue/black berry enzyme mask


*great for dry/dehydrated skin, sensitive skin


boscia-luminizing black mask

Style Seen Daily Beauty Expert Liz Jones.

Boscia- Luminizing Black Mask:

Detoxing peel off mask that gently physically exfoliates dead skin cells.

Time to scrub those winter blues away and reveal your beautiful radiant skin! I know I am!

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Posted on: February 26, 2013