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About Exfoliation

The very outer layer of your skin is actually dead skin cells. Your skin creates new cells underneath and the old ones on the surface slough off on their own. This occurs each and every day, whether you notice it or not. Sometimes this dead layer will build up on the surface of your skin and you will notice your skin has a dull look to it. You may also find you are more prone to blemishes, if the dead skin cells clog your pores. Getting rid of these skin cells will promote healthy skin. To exfoliate, you can choose one of these methods: chemical or abrasive. Chemical exfoliants usually contain some form of mild acid, such as alpha hydroxy or salicylic acid. The acids work to slough off the dead skin cells. These actually come in different strengths and can be applied on their own, or in conjunction with an abrasive exfoliant.

Abrasive exfoliants are creams or liquid cleansers that contain particulate matter, such as ground botanicals, jojoba beads or groundnuts. The use of the abrasive will physically remove the dead skin cells. The particulate matter can come in many different sizes and the type you choose will depend upon the application. You don’t want to use the same abrasive on your face that you would use to exfoliate your feet.

Start your exfoliation with clean skin. Wet the skin with warm water and apply the exfoliant. Rub gently in circles with your fingers or a facial sponge, avoiding the under eye area, as this skin is too delicate for exfoliation. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Apply a toner to help balance the pH of your newly exposed skin cells. Follow this with a moisturizer. Your skin may tingle for fifteen minutes or so after the application, especially for your first couple of times. After that, your skin will become used to it. With the chemical exfoliants, discontinue their use if your skin burns too much after application. Exfoliation only needs to be done once or twice a week. Since you have exposed new skin cells to the surface, it is very important that you use a sunscreen if you will be outdoors.

You can choose to purchase an exfoliant, or you can make your own. Some great home products for exfoliation include ground oats, cornmeal, yogurt, honey or buttermilk. A mixture of ground oats and yogurt would be a combination of an abrasive and chemical (oats for the abrasive and the lactic acid in the yogurt is the chemical).