We all know that exfoliation is an essential part of achieving healthy, glowing skin, especially in your late twenties and thirties when your skin renewal process begins to slow. The important thing to remember is that, regardless of what type of exfoliation you choose, there are several key steps that you need to follow to ensure you get the most out of your skin care treatments. Before you go skin deep, make sure you read on to find out about exfoliation, as well as the dos and don'ts of exfoliation treatments.
The purpose of exfoliation is to remove the dull surface layers of dead skin cells to reveal the new, younger skin beneath. The depth of the exfoliation depends on the type of skin peeling treatment you receive. You will find exfoliating helpful with unclogging pores, smoothing out the appearance of the skin and reducing wrinkles and fine lines.
You can choose from a physical exfoliant (typically a scrub) or a chemical exfoliant (an acid-based peel). Physical exfoliants are fine granules, with a gritty texture, that you can massage on to scrape off dead skin. A chemical exfoliant can use acids like AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) or BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). Typically, a chemical exfoliant with a BHA, like salicylic acid, is ideal for acne-prone and oily skin types, as it penetrates the skin’s surface and the pores, allowing it to target blackheads and whiteheads. In contrast, AHAs, like glycolic acid or lactic acid, are great for dry or mature skin as AHAs work on the skin’s surface and focus on the visible signs of aging.
To help you with your mission for a brighter, healthier complexion, we’ve gathered some skin care dos and don’ts when it comes to exfoliation, so you can do it the right way!
Do: Determine Your Skin Type
To get the most out of exfoliation and to avoid any unpleasant side effects, familiarize yourself with your skin type. Remember that a skin type is different from a skin concern. Skin types are classified into just five categories, whereas skin concerns are the multitude of conditions that you want to treat, and can include blemishes, wrinkles and sun damage.
The five skin types are:
So, let’s illustrate a scenario: Your skin is prone to irritation and redness, and you have a few dark spots on your face due to sun damage. The skin care analysis? Your skin type is most likely “sensitive” and the skin concern that you want to target are the dark spots or uneven skin tone.
The truth is, determining your skin type isn’t as easy as it sounds. SkinInc Magazine recommends undergoing a thorough skin analysis by a professional esthetician prior to receiving any type of exfoliation treatment. To find an authorized Eminence Organics esthetician in your area, see the Spa Locator on our website.
Once you've determined your skin type, you can use the Product Recommender on our website. This smart tool is designed to advise you on which products work best with your skin type and to help address your problem areas. You can also keep reading below to find out which products best suit your skin type.
Don’t: Exfoliate Irritated Skin
Is your skin feeling irritated and sore? Whether it’s a sunburn or a skin reaction caused by another product, any type of irritation or redness is a good reason to avoid exfoliation. In this case, scrubbing away at your skin could cause more harm than good.
Eminence Organics Product Support Representative Kaitlyn Barnett shares that over-exfoliating the skin may compromise the outermost layer known as the skin’s natural moisture barrier. The skin barrier helps our skin retain moisture and provides protection from environmental threats. A compromised barrier can lead to the skin feeling red, irritated, inflamed or overproducing oil, which can lead to potential breakouts. We recommend holding off on any type of treatment until your skin has completely recovered.
Do: Follow Exfoliation With SPF
After exfoliation, your skin is more susceptible to damage from the sun or other environmental elements, which means it’s even more crucial to apply an SPF moisturizer. When it comes to your daily skin care routine, sun protection is a must. Once you’ve buffed away the dull layers of your skin, your complexion immediately becomes more sensitive. After exfoliation, your skin is more susceptible to damage from the sun or other environmental pollutants, which means it’s even more crucial to apply an SPF moisturizer.
Don’t: Use Synthetic Exfoliants
Not only can synthetic exfoliants like plastic microbeads harm your skin, they can also cause intense damage to our environment. In 2015, the California State Assembly passed a bill restricting the sale of personal care products that contain plastic microbeads. You can opt for skin care products that use natural and organic alternatives to plastic microbeads. The Monoi Age Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser provides rejuvenating benefits, and is more hydrating for those in drier climates this time of year. It’s also cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, animal by-products, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan.
Do: Use Caution When Combining Exfoliation Treatments
Although some exfoliation treatments work well together, there are some skin care combinations that should be avoided. When using retinol treatments, for example, it’s recommended that you avoid applying our VitaSkin™ Exfoliating Peels and use caution when undergoing additional exfoliation procedures such as waxing eyebrows, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments. This also applies to over-the-counter medications. To be safe, it’s always best to consult your physician before undergoing any intensive exfoliation treatments. We recommend the Bamboo Firming Fluid as an alternative to conventional retinol. This concentrate contains a Natural Retinol Alternative, which is safe to combine with other exfoliating products.
Some exfoliation treatments can be combined safely, and we recommend pairing our VitaSkin™ Exfoliating Peels with products like our Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant and our Yam & Pumpkin Enzyme Peel 5%. These exfoliants can actually boost results when used prior to the exfoliating peels. If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of exfoliating or how to exfoliate properly, our Lead Skin Care Trainer, Natalie Pergar, answers all your exfoliating questions in this In The Mix video.
Best Exfoliating Products For Your Skin Type
You know you have normal skin if your complexion always looks smooth and even, and if it is not overly dry, oily or sensitive. To maintain healthy, normal skin, we recommend using the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant. It removes impurities and brightens your complexion due to strawberry and salicylic acid. In addition to providing exfoliation, rhubarb also provides vitamins and ascorbic acid to improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
You may have dry skin if your skin feels tight and it lacks moisture. Your pores will appear almost nonexistent. You may also notice flakiness and a rough skin texture. Dry skin will benefit from using our Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel as it is packed with antioxidants and includes glycolic and lactic acid to gently exfoliate dry skin. Over time, exfoliation should reveal softer, smoother skin beneath so that the texture no longer appears so flaky.
Oily skin is characterized by a shiny complexion with visible pores, spots and blemishes. If you have oily skin, we recommend the Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant™ to control the shine. This powder-to-foam exfoliant creates a light, fizzing action to gently buff the skin’s surface and should reveal a clean and refreshed-looking complexion.
If your skin has an even tone and is not extremely dry or oily, you may have combination skin. Sometimes you experience slight dryness on your forehead or cheeks, while simultaneously dealing with oiliness on your T-zone. Those with combination skin can use the Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System, a three-step system that reveals radiant-looking skin. A combination of cloudberry, arctic roseroot, arctic meadowsweet and juniper provide antioxidants to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Lingonberry seed oil gives the skin essential vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids to give the skin a hydrated, dewy appearance.
Is your skin reactive and easily irritated? You may have sensitive skin, which means you need to be very selective with what products you apply, particularly when it comes to exfoliation. Try our Calm Skin Chamomile Exfoliating Peel as it provides gentle exfoliation with lactic and mandelic acids. Chamomile refreshes the look of the skin, while calendula moisturizes and soothes the look of red, dry skin.
Do you have any exfoliation tips that you'd like to share? Tell us in the comments below. You can also find further information about exfoliation at your nearest Eminence Organics Spa Partner.
This article was originally written in October 2015.