Out with the old, in with the new. We update our wardrobes, switch decorations, and spruce up our lawns, casting out the worn and drab for something bright and fresh. Turns out your skin needs a refresher too – and it comes as easy as exfoliation.
How Exfoliation Works
Exfoliation simply removes your dead skin cells. Sounds easy enough, right? Yet this extra measure in skin care greatly improves your skin quality. When you slough off the old skin, you give yourself a more shiny, youthful appearance.
When dead cells build up, they make your face look dull. Think of your skin in terms of paint finishes. Without exfoliation, your skin looks more like flat paint. With exfoliation, you move up to a semi-gloss finish.
Related: 3 Skincare Habits That Are Ruining Your Face
As you exfoliate, you also work to erase brown spots. Areas of hyper-pigmentation often fade as you remove the dark cells one exfoliation treatment at a time.
Types of Exfoliation
Most people think of a routine face scrub as their go-to exfoliation method. But you can opt for stronger options as needed. Both mechanical and chemical options take exfoliation to the next level.
Mechanical exfoliation offers a way to get rid of dead cells manually. Using something to remove that skin, like microdermabrasion or a rotating brush, mechanically rids your skin of dead cells. For those with surface-level spots or acne scars, microdermabrasion offers almost immediate results. For a regular treatment of clogged pores and dull skin, you can use rotating brushes at home.
Chemical peels provide a more intense and long-lasting treatment for various skin issues. People with brown spots show marked improvement in skin coloration from a chemical peel. For those with acne, a peel unclogs the pores and enhances the overall appearance of the skin. Chemical peels even work for medical treatments in the removal of precancerous skin spots.
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Some chemical exfoliants are available for home use as well. Retinol or Retinae (See: 5 Things You Need To Know about Retinol) causes the skin cells to mature more rapidly and slough off. As this happens, it stimulates collagen production in the skin. In the long run, the collagen helps prevent lines and wrinkles, while erasing those bothersome brown spots.
Who Should Exfoliate?
Exfoliation works for any skin type. Dry skin has the tendency to accumulate build-up and look flat. Regular exfoliation keeps the build-up at bay but won’t help with the dryness. Make sure to apply moisturizer immediately after exfoliation to keep dry skin quenched. Oily skin is more tolerant against the drying effects but doesn’t need to be exfoliated as frequently. Still all skin types benefit when exfoliation is used as needed.
How to Exfoliate
Whether you choose mechanical or chemical exfoliation, incorporate it into your night-time skincare regimen at a frequency that best suits your skin type. Mechanical treatments tend to cause redness, so you’ll want to give your skin time to settle down before the next day. Retinol becomes unstable in the sunlight, so it will work best through the night as well.
For a complete guide on how to exfoliate, check out this skincare routine we put together just for you!
Dr. R. Todd Plott is a board-certified dermatologist in Coppell, Keller, and Saginaw, TX. His specialization and professional interests include treating patients suffering with acne, identifying and solving complex skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and identifying and treating all types of skin cancers. In his spare time, Dr. Plott enjoys cycling, traveling with his wife, and spending time with his children and new grandson.
Learn more about Dr. Plott.