Why do we need to exfoliate?

Why do we need to exfoliate?

The Science bit

 

The skin naturally sheds dead skin cells through a process called desquamation. Every 28-40 days, on average, a new skin cell is "born" in the stratum germinativum, the deepest layer of the epidermis. The cell then travels up the 5 layers to the top, uppermost layer of the skin and by the time it gets there it is rough, dry and flaky. New skin cells continue to arrive at the skin's surface, pushing older cells off from beneath.

 

Babies and young children have a faster cell turnover rate because they're growing quickly. Kids have bright, soft, luminous-looking skin — their cell turnover rate is twice as fast as adults. They always have new skin cells on the surface.

 

When dead skin cells gather on the surface of the skin they can make the skin appear dull, tired and a bit grey! Also the dead skin cells can clog the pores trapping oil and bacteria in them leading to congestion.

 

Exfoliation is key to removing these dead skin cells and making the skin look fresher, smoother and more radiant. It also helps combat congestion.

 

The traditional way to exfoliate is with a grainy exfoliator. These physically break down the dead skin cells and remove them, however the downside to using these exfoliators is that it can damage the healthy cells, sensitise the skin and scratch the skins barrier layer.

 

If you choose to use a grainy exfoliator make sure to use one that has small grains that dissolve easily, never scrub too hard and only use your exfoliator once a week.

 

Our two favs are:

1. Bioderma Hydrabio Exfoliating Scrub

 

2. Kinvara Elemental Exfoliating Powder

 

There is another option - Acids

A chemical exfoliant uses active ingredients like AHAs and BHAs to sweep away dead skin cells and are often far more effective than traditional scrubs. Because they will chemically break down the bonds between the dead skin cells and can will work deeper into the skin. So you see the effects much sooner.

AHA’s and BHA’s come in serums, creams, masks and toners.

 

What are AHAs and BHAs - and what's the difference between them?

An AHA is an alpha-hydroxy acid. These are usually derived from a natural or plant source, and water soluble.

If you think of your skin like a brick wall, an AHA will work to break down the cement between the bricks, the dead skin cells, to reveal brighter healthier skin underneath.

Beta-hydroxy acids (or BHAs) are oil soluble, meaning that they’re particularly effective for congestion. BHAs can travel through the oil in the pore for an extra deep cleanout.

 

Neostrata Spot Treatment Gel

Formulated with an Alpha Hydroxy Acid blend of Acetyl Mandelic Acid, Citric Acid and Tartaric Acid, combined with Salicylic Acid and Pro-Vitamin A.

Salicylic acid is a BHA.Excellent for pore cleaning, inflammation reduction and spot prevention.

 

 

NeoStrata Clarifying Facial Cleanser 

Formulated with Gluconolactone, Mandelic, and Salicylic Acids to wash away excess oil and problematic bacteria as well as exfoliating to improve skin texture.

Sensitive skin types should lean toward enzymatic exfoliators, lactic acid and BHAs. Darker skin tones need to be sure that the product isn’t triggering redness due to incorrect pH, as this can cause a pigmentation response after inflammation.

 

Declare Soft Cleansing Enzyme Peel

The soft creamy foam of the powder-form enzyme peel absorbs any excess sebum and gently loosens any dead skin cells.

 

Which ingredients should I be looking out for?

Salicylic acid: This is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, although derived from aspirin.

Glycolic acid: The smallest alpha-hydroxy acid and once that works fastest. A good all-round exfoliant.

Lactic acid: Because it’s a larger molecule than glycolic it takes a little longer to penetrate, the skin has a moment to adjust to the drop in pH. Lactic acid has the ability to not only exfoliate but also hydrate. 

Mandelic acid: Derived from bitter almond, this is good for acne and pigmentation. 

Azeliac Acid: Can significantly diminish the appearance of skin blemishes, help fade post-acne marks and other discolorations, refine skin's surface, and reveal a more even skin tone

How do I introduce Acids to my Routine?

Start with just one application a week: 

This will give your skin time to get used to the pH change. Use your liquid exfoliator after cleansing in the evening.

Test it out: If your skin is very sensitive do a patch test on the neck or behind the ear before using on the entire face.

Use SPF: 

SPF should already be a building block in your daily skincare routine, but it’s even more crucial when you’re using an acid-based exfoliator. While they can help fade pigmentation brought on by UV exposure, both AHAs and BHAs can also increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

How often should they be used?

Once you introduce acids into your skincare routine, two to three times a week should be enough. It does depend on the strength of the formula, some acid toners can be used daily to keep the skin fresh and clear.  The REN Ready Steady Glow brightens complexions, refines skin texture and minimises the look of pores. 

A stronger treatment like an at home peel or mask can be used once a week to really give the skin a boost. The REN Reveal Radiance Renewal Mask reaveals a renewed, revived and a more radiant complexion