Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Chemical Versus Mechanical Exfoliation.


An important part of having beautiful skin is to include exfoliation into the cleansing routine.  The exfoliation is designed to help clear off dead skins so our bodies can create new, healthy skin.  When we are newborns, skin cells are replaced every couple of days but as we age, the turnover rate slows down so the dead cells remain longer.  These dead cells can clog pores, while highlighting your fine lines and wrinkles. 

This is the biggest reason one should exfoliate - to get rid of all those dead cells and encourage new cells.  Furthermore, exfoliation unclogs pores so the skin is better able to release natural moisturizing oils, fades age spots, minimizes the appearance of pores and scars, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves the absorption of moisturizers and lotions, and improves collagen production.

There are two types of exfoliants one can use, chemical or mechanical.  Chemical exfoliation is mostly a liquid such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA), or enzymes. AHA's are most often used in light chemical peels.  AHA's come from sources such as milk, fruits, and sugar.  The two most used ones are Lactic Acid or Glycolic acid.  BHA's are also used in light chemical peels and is better known as salicylic acid which is found as aspirin.  Enzymes come from fruit and work like acids but are much slower.

Mechanical exfoliants are physical ones such as microbes, small granules, large granules, or natural materials.  Microbeads are tiny plastic particles found in so many skin products. When the particles were found in various lakes and oceans, the government outlawed them and manufacturers phased this ingredient out. Small granules such as jojoba seeds or ruby crystals that are small, uniform in size, and shape.  This makes them a good size to exfoliate skin without damaging it. 

Large granules are larger sized pieces such as pumice, or magnesium oxide that are used in exfoliation for people who have thicker skin.  The final type of exfoliant are the natural materials such as ground up walnut shells, or ground fruit seeds. These have sharp edges and can be extremely abrasive.  These can really damage the skin. 

When you choose an exfoliating product, it helps to keep in mind your skin type.  If you have acne prone skin, stay away from the physical or mechanical exfoliants because they can make your skin worse by encouraging additional breakouts.  Instead, choose an exfoliant with BHA and plan to exfoliate your face no more than once a week.

If you have dry skin, you will have difficulty in absorbing moisture.  You want something to remove dead cells while encouraging your skin to produce additional natural oils so you want a product that contains both AHA and BHA's along with small granules such as jojoba beads to sooth your skin while exfoliating it. 

Oily skin usually allows for more exfoliation, up to five times a week so you want something with AHA or BHA and plan on moisturizing your skin when done exfoliating. If you have combinations skin, you'll need something with both chemical and mechanical exfoliations so look for a product with glycolic or salicylic acids combined with exfoliation beads.  On the other hand, if your skin is sensitive, look for something with enzymes to gently exfoliate.  

If you are older, you want something that will get rid of dead smell so look for a product with glycolic acid to keep your skin from drying out and it will encourage collagen production at the same time.  Finally, if you have healthy skin, you can pretty. much use what ever you want.

Now if you use a chemical exfoliator, you need to cleanse your face and dry it first. Apply a small amount of the chemical exfoliator to a cotton pad and dab it on your skin starting at the jaw line, moving to the cheeks, forehead, the nose and brows.  Do not apply it to the area close to the eyes. Leave the product on for about 30 minutes before continuing with the rest of your facial routine including the moisturizer. 

For the mechanical exfoliant, cleanse your face but leave it damp.  Apply a little bit of the mechanical exfoliant to your finger tips, before applying it to your skin using small circular motions. Begin at your jaw, move up to your cheeks, then up to your forehead and down to your nose before finishing around the chin.  Again, do not apply to the area around your eyes.  Remove the exfoliant with lukewarm water before patting off.   Continue with your normal routine and don't forget the moisturizer.

So now you know which is type of exfoliant is best in what situation.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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