Ever wonder how some people seem to have that perfect, glowing skin? It’s no secret or magical potion. It’s because they exfoliate. And it’s a practice everyone should get in the habit of doing.
Exfoliation is the process of getting rid of the old, dead cells on the outermost surface of your skin. It’s been a part of men and women’s skin care routines for centuries, beginning with the ancient Egyptians, and it’s been proven to play a dramatic role in achieving younger skin.
Your skin is constantly regenerating itself. New skin cells are created in the dermis (the lower layer of the skin). Over time, these skin cells work their way to the surface and die. These dead cells are constantly shedding and the entire cycle repeats itself.
However, some of the cells have a hard time leaving the skin. Dirt and oil trap these cells on the skin’s surface, causing your face to look dull, your pores to look larger and your wrinkles to appear deeper.
The longer these dead cells build upon each other, the greater chance you have for clogged pores and acne. The longer the pores are clogged, the less likely they are to shrink back down to a smooth and flawless appearance.
The amount of time it takes your skin to regenerate has everything to do with your age. As babies, the skin usually renews itself in 14 days, needing little to no help to shed dead cells and replace them with new, healthy skin.
In fact, the skin continues to do a pretty good job at restoring itself until you hit 30. It’s at this time that your skin’s life cycle begins to slow, causing more flaws to appear on the skin’s surface. By the time you hit 50, your skin takes nearly 40 days to regenerate, resulting in a rough, uneven, older-looking complexion.
Exfoliation involves scrubbing the skin with an abrasive.This abrasive could be a rough cloth or loofah, or body/facial scrubs (with ground-up kernels, nut shells, sugar or salt, etc). The Tea Tree Facial Nut Scrub that I use on my face 2-3 days a week, is made with ground up nut shells (the pits). I find this formula is rough enough to keep my skin clear and soft and significantly reduces any flaking from the old acne scars I have on my cheeks.
The other days of the week I use Pineapple Facial Scrub because it exfoliates on two levels: physical abrasion is the first, fruit enzymes that clear out the insides of pores is the second. Using this scrub most days of the week keeps my skin from getting congested and keeps break outs away. Especially when combined with the Tea Tree Facial Scrub the other days of the week (the tea tree facial scrub kills p.acnes bacteria – so using it a few days a week keeps p.acnes bacteria from growing out of control… which keeps break outs from starting in the first place!)
Some people may find that a milder scrub, like my Mild Jojoba Facial Scrub will do the trick. This scrub is made with jojoba beads (natural wax formed into small beads) and is a much milder form of exfoliation – which is important if you suffer from large whiteheads (you don’t want to pop them while exfoliating!) or are fighting excessive redness (using a scrub that is rougher than you need can increase redness!).
My Patchouli & Grapefruit Facial Soap (for acne prone skin) combines both nut shells and jojoba beads – one side of the soap has nut shells, and the other has the jojoba beads. The idea is that you can easily cater to the daily needs of your skin as it changes without having to change your soap! Each side is also infused with a specific essential oil to target different stages of acne prone skin. One side has patchouli essential oil to heal and calm breakouts; the other side had grapefruit essential oil to kill bacteria and prevent future breakouts.
If an even milder approach is needed (no abrasion required!), my Black Charcoal Soap is the answer. It also helps fight redness!
Exfoliation does a good job at sloughing away dry, damaged skin. But it’s important not to go overboard. If your abrasive is too rough or if you use it too often, it can lead to skin irritation and damage. I’m able to exfoliate my face every day but find that I only need to exfoliate the rest of my body every few days. You may find that your skin may look best with more or less exfoliation. Test out exfoliating more or less to find the balance that’s right for you 🙂