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Exfoliation 101

Besides cleansing, moisturizing and wearing sunscreen every day, exfoliation is a key component in a skincare routine for a brighter, more even toned complexion.   Did you know that regularly exfoliating (long-term) helps to slow down the signs of aging on your face? That’s right! So if you aren’t already incorporating exfoliation into your normal skincare routine at home, make the change and start now.  Not quite sure what’s right for your skin? Don’t fret! Yelena Migirova, Medical Aesthetician, at Triangle Facial Plastic Surgery in Raleigh, NC is here to guide you toward the best option for your skin type and anti-aging goals.

We are here to provide you with the basics of exfoliation and clarify why this step in your skincare routine is so important.

What is Exfoliation? 

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer surface of your skin.  No matter what skin type you have, everyone accumulates dead skin. Environmental factors, lifestyle and natural cell regeneration can cause our skin cells to become clogged, resulting in blemishes, skin pigmentation and collagen loss.  While skin naturally sheds every 30 days, not all of the dead skin sheds naturally. Incorporating regular exfoliation into your skincare routine will help with the skin regeneration process and leave you with smooth, healthy glowing skin.

Benefits of Exfoliation

  • Smooths the surface of the skin.
  • Brighter, more even skin tone.
  • Helps prevent clogged pores that cause breakouts.
  • Enhances the skin’s ability to absorb skincare products and maximizes product effectiveness.
  • Stimulates collagen production and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (long term).

Individual results may vary. 

What is the difference between Chemical vs Physical Exfoliators?

Chemical exfoliants are composed of acids that break the bonds between skin cells to loosen up skin and aid in cell turnover.   Chemical exfoliants are topically applied to the skin (typically in the form of a serum or mask) and work to lift pigmentation, reduce pore size, reduce excess oil and soften fine lines. There’s a variety of chemical exfoliants to accommodate different skin types, so it’s important to talk with Yelena (or your aesthetician/dermatologist) before you use any chemical exfoliant products.

  1. Alpha Hydroxy Acids / AHAs (glycolic & lactic acids) are water-soluble molecules derived from natural substances that work to dissolve the keratin protein bonds that hold dead skin cells together and hydrate the skin.  AHA’s are a great exfoliant option for dry skin types.
  2. Beta Hydroxy Acids / BHAs (salicylic acid) are oil soluble molecules that penetrate deep into the pores of the skin to unclog oil, dirt and debris. BHAs have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and are a great exfoliant option for oily, acne prone skin types and for those with sun damaged skin.

Physical exfoliants are products or tools used to buff dead skin from the outer layer and smooth texture.  Physical exfoliants (including skin care scrubs, brushes, sponges and muslin cloths) deliver instant results when they are gently scrubbed against the skin in small circular motions.  Physical exfoliants help stimulate blood circulation to decrease puffiness, and they tend to be less irritant to the skin than chemical exfoliants.

How often do I need to exfoliate?

1-3 times per week is typically recommended, but it depends on your skin type and the exfoliant product you are using.  Use caution and do not use more than one exfoliant product at a time. If you have sensitive skin, you should start with applying a small amount to a small area of skin before applying it to a larger area. Do not use / apply an exfoliant on cuts or sunburn. Always apply a moisturizer immediately after you exfoliate to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.

The benefits of incorporating exfoliation into your regular skin care routine not only leaves you with healthy, smooth and radiant skin, but it also delivers valuable anti-aging benefits long term, such as collagen production and minimizing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.  Yelena also recommends incorporating facials regularly for ongoing skincare maintenance to deep clean your pores, exfoliate dead skin cells and treat additional skin care issues with a peel or mask. Not to mention, it allows for you to step away from your hectic schedule and enjoy some TLC and relaxation.  You deserve it! ❤️

Give Yelena a call @ (919) 706-4902 during normal business hours or send her an e-mail – yelena@trianglepsc.com with your questions and she will advise you on the best exfoliating products for your skin.