The Nitty Gritty of Exfoliation
Q&A with our Aveda Skin Care Specialist Emilia
Can everyone exfoliate?
Almost everyone can and should exfoliate to maintain healthy skin, except if you have a medical condition or if you’re taking any medications where exfoliation is a contraindication.
Why do I actually need to exfoliate?
To understand this question it’s crucial to know a bit more about how the skin renewal process works naturally. The skin cells are formed in the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of the skin.
The epidermis consists of between 50-100 layers, and the skin cells travel towards the surface of these layers in a period of 28 days before it gets renewed.
Our skin loses millions of dead skin cells every day since the skin needs to get rid of damaged and toxic cells, or cells containing bacteria and other microorganisms. The purpose of this is to keep the skins protective barrier intact.
The further up to the surface a skin cell travels, the dryer and more flat it gets. When we get older this process takes longer, up to 90 days for older skin!
The slower this renewal process the duller and more grey the skin looks and it also loses a lot of its bounce that younger skin has. This is because the slower the renewal process is, the harder it gets for the skin to get rid of the dead skin cells.
A good way to explain why we should exfoliate is that you wouldn’t start painting a wall with lots of old, dried and dirty uneven paint underneath, you would naturally remove this to get a better and more healthy-looking wall with your new paint.
Knowing this, there’s a lot of different ways to exfoliate, and it’s very important that you find the right way to exfoliate your skin.
You don’t want to risk over-exfoliating, irritate or dry your skin out with the wrong exfoliating technique.
Where does it fit into my skin routine?
The exfoliating routine usually comes straight after cleansing your skin with your cleanser. You always want to exfoliate on clean skin so make sure you’ve cleansed off any makeup or other particles before starting.
How often should I exfoliate?
Depending on your exfoliating technique, it can be from once or twice a week, to every day.
I’m usually more a fan of the milder ones that you do every day or more often since the strong ones sometimes can irritate or dry out the skin.
Also, when you exfoliate every day, you never get that buildup of dead skin cells in between your exfoliations.
What is ‘chemical exfoliation’ how does this differ from natural exfoliation?
There are basically two types of exfoliation techniques – mechanical exfoliation where you move any type of grain or scrub on top of the skin to remove dead skin cells. The second is to leave on exfoliation – where you leave the product on the skin to renew and remove the dead skin cells. This is usually done with enzymes or different acids that resolves the “glue” that holds the dead skin cells together. There are also products that combine these two techniques if that’s what your skin needs.
Chemical exfoliation is basically a term for when you leave chemicals on to remove and resolve the top layer of the dead skin cells.
What I love with Aveda is that they use the same technique but without any harmful chemicals, and instead uses natural ingredients with even better results but without the redness and irritation. This treatment is called the Aveda Dual Exfoliation
What ingredients should I look for?
Depending on your skin concerns, you can look for different ingredients to help with different problems. One of my favourite ingredients in exfoliating products is Salicylic Acid. Another name for this amazing ingredient is BHA acid which stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid and this is a very multi-functional ingredient who helps with fine lines, thick and uneven skin tone and congestion. This little guy is also a fat resolvent which means that it can penetrate through the pore and resolve the plug that creates blackheads and congestion.
It’s also anti-inflammatory which makes it a big hero for acne-prone skin and much less irritable than other acids. The outer peace pads from Aveda are a good example of an excellent product for impurities, congestion and acne-prone skin.
Another good friend to look for is the PHA acid, which stands for Poly Hydroxide Acid which comes from fruit acids and is really good for sensitive skin since it’s more gentle and hydrating than other acids. This one works wonders on eczema and rosacea.
Apart from acids, there’s also retinol who’s a very powerful ingredient made from Vitamin A. This is really good for aging skin since as it can penetrate deep and help the skin to keep its elasticity and youth.
If you choose to use a mechanical peel with grains, it’s important that the grains or beads are small and evenly rounded so that they’re not scratching and irritating the surface.
The radiant skin refiner from Aveda is a good example of this, it has bamboo beads and tourmaline to energise and remove dead skin without irritation.
What is the difference between in-salon exfoliation treatment and at home?
The exfoliations done with a professional salon can be more active and effective than the ones done at home. This is because in a salon the therapist has full control over the skin and what’s happening during the exfoliation process, plus the therapist can choose the exact right exfoliation for you to not cause any harm to the skin.
Tell us about the Aveda dual exfoliation and its benefits?
This is my number one favourite treatment of all time. This treatment is like a mix of microdermabrasion and glycolic peel, but with BETTER results and NO harmful chemicals or irritation and redness after. The skin gets real smooth and visibly radiant. People often think that holistic skincare doesn’t equal real immediate results on the skin, but that’s no longer true since Aveda pushed the boundaries and you get both immediate results and a relaxing and pampering moment for yourself.
The treatment helps smooth out fine lines, refine pores and reveal younger-looking skin. We recommend a series of these treatments, to learn more you can view on the website here
Book a complimentary skin analysis with Emilia, simply call us on 02 6680 8801
Image credits @Aveda