The In’s and Out’s of That Thing Called Exfoliation

It’s common knowledge that we should exfoliate our skin every so often, but many questions are frequently left unanswered: What’s the point of exfoliating? Is it really that necessary? Is it more beneficial to some people than it is to others? Well, we’re here to give you those answers.

Q: What exactly does it do?
A: To put it simply, the process of exfoliation removes dry and dead skin cells from the skin’s surface.

Q: How important is it?
A: Exfoliation is a very important component of a healthy skin care routine. According to the National Science Foundation, the average human body sheds between 40,000 and 50,000 dead skin cells every minute. When these decaying cells are allowed to build up, the skin begins to look dull and dry.

Q: Who needs it?
A: Everyone benefits from exfoliating. At a basic level, it removes dead skin to reveal the healthy skin below. However, those with more chronic skin problems can also profit immensely from exfoliating.

Q: What are the benefits?
A: The process has been proven to reduce breakouts and blemishes, unclog pores, prevent dry patches, and balance pigmentation issues.

Q: What are the methods of exfoliation?
A: There are three main types of exfoliation: chemical, physical, and enzyme. Chemical peels use mild acids, such as alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA), to gently remove the top layer of skin and encourage skin rejuvenation. Physical forms of exfoliation use microbeads or similar ingredients to slough off dead skin cells using friction. Enzyme exfoliation is ideal for those with sensitive skin. This method uses naturally found molecules to gently break down the bonds between dead skin cells and new skin.

Q: How often is exfoliation needed?
A: It is recommended that people go in for chemical exfoliation, or a chemical peel, from a licensed esthetician about once every month. Physical exfoliation methods, on the other hand, can be used once or twice a week. However, these are simple guidelines. It is important for each individual to pay attention to his or her skin. If the skin is tight, red, and irritated, there is a chance that over-exfoliation is occurring.