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.
What Is Exfoliation? Types Of Exfoliation
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 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 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, we suggest using 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.
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. For example, our Pear & Poppyseed Microderm Polisher uses natural ground poppy seeds and fine walnuts. 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: 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: 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. This 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: 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. Eminence Organics Product Support Team Lead Alicia Hawthorne recommends the Bamboo Firming Fluid as an alternative. 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.
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 post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.