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Summer Skin Prep: Exfoliation

Why is exfoliation an important part of your skin care regimen?

Exfoliation refers to the removal of the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Our skin cells are in a constant state of migration and replacement. In approximately one month’s time, skin cells move up to the surface of the skin ( the epidermis), where they eventually die, break away from cell cycle

the epidermis, and fall off, making room for newer cells growing up from below. Therefore, the skin you have a month from today will be different compared to the skin you have now.

Our skin’s cellular renewal rate slows down when we age. This is because there is less blood circulation, less oxygen is delivered to skin cells, so they are not replaced as quickly. This leads to a buildup of dull, dead surface cells and rough skin texture. When this build up occurs, skin conditions such as uneven skin tone and texture, fine lines and wrinkles, and pore size enlargement are more prevalent. Furthermore, if your skin tends to be more oily, the build-up of dead skin cells can result in excess oil and clogged pores, leading to blemishes and acne.

Proper exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin and uncovers fresh new cells below. This opens the way for serums and moisturizing products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which makes them more effective. A regular exfoliating routine will leave your skin looking more vibrant and healthy. The type of exfoliation and frequency will vary by skin type, issues, and sensitivity.

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Exfoliators Explained:

There are 3 types of exfoliators: 1) mechanical, 2) chemical, and 3) enzymatic. While mechanical exfoliators physically remove dead skin cells through a scrubbing action, chemical and enzymatic exfoliators work on the bonds, which hold the skin together.

Mechanical Exfoliation:
Mechanical exfoliators include scrubs and micro-dermabrasion. Be careful to only use round, spherical beads in mechanical exfoliation or it can create micro-tears and worsen your skin’s texture. Do not use mechanical exfoliation if you have broken capillaries (teleang­iectasia).

Alpha Hydroxy Acids:
What they do: They cause the cells of the epidermis to become “unglued” allowing the dead cells to slough off, making room for regrowth of new skin. AHA may even stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. The following are the five major types of alpha hydroxy acids found in skincare products and their sources:
•glycolic acid – sugar cane
•lactic acid – milk
•malic acid – apples and pears
•citric acid – oranges and lemons
•tartaric acid – grapes
AHAs are reported to improve wrinkling, roughness and mottled pigmentation of photodamaged skin after months of daily application. AHAs are recommended for all skin types but note any allergies given the type of acid used. Gentle AHA exfoliators (lower percentage acid with the addition of calming actives) are recommended for mature skin types and for rosacea.

Enzymatic Exfoliators:
Enzymes have a proteolytic effect and induce superficial exfoliation on the cells of the stratum corneum. Exfoliating enzymes remove the dry superficial, dull skin cells by digesting the proteins into smaller fragments, preventing a build-up. The most common enzymatic exfoliators are naturally derived from pineapple and papaya. Pineapple contains bromelain; Papain is an enzyme found in unripe papayas. Enzymatic exfoliation is recommended for skin that has a thicker stratum corneum and for oily skin types. It is not recommended for use on sensitive skin.

If you choose the appropriate exfoliator for your skin type, you should exfoliate every week for best results.

The Great Benefits of Exfoliation

by Holly Harmon, Master Aesthetician and Executive Director of Training for Placécol USA. 

We often find in the aesthetics profession that many of our clients do not understand the importance of making exfoliation a part of their weekly skin care regimen.  What does exfoliation do?  The term exfoliation refers to the sloughing or peeling away of the horny layer or outer layer of the skin, also known as the corneum.  An exfoliant is a particular ingredient that facilitates this process.

Let’s look at the skin cells journey:  new skin cells are created in the skin’s lower layer, the dermis. Over time, cells migrate to the surface of the skin and become more acidic. During their 30 day journey, they die and become saturated with keratin. Keratin is important because it protects the skin from outside elements. Through the ageing process, and after menopause for women, the natural process of skin erosion becomes uneven, which gives skin a dry and rough character. Exfoliation removes the outer layer to reveal the newer skin beneath. This shedding of the outer layer unclogs pores, keeps skin clean and more youthful/healthy in appearance, and helps reduce acne breakouts. There are different types of exfoliants, ranging from chemical, acidic, or enzymatic exfoliants to mechanical exfoliation (such as microdermabrasion).

Chemical exfoliants include scrubs, serums or gels containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, fruit enzymes, citric acid, or malic acid which may be applied in high concentrations by a dermatologist or in lower concentrations in over-the-counter products. Chemical exfoliation may also involve the use of products that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) that act to weaken the bonds that  holds the skin cells together and sloughs them away more readily.

Why is it vital to skin health?  There are great benefits of exfoliation.  Women have exfoliated their skin for centuries.  In fact, credit is given to the ancient Egyptians for the practice of exfoliation.  Proper and habitual exfoliating can improve dull, lifeless skin tone; oily, clogged pores with minor acne, blackheads and/or whiteheads; dehydrated skin with cell build-up and flakiness; and in some cases, improve fine lines and wrinkles.  Just remember… “you must remove to improve!”

 While we recommend a professional facial at least once per month or once every other month for skin health and we absolutely recommend that you exfoliate two times per week.1

This is your facial at home!  Placécol has several exfoliating options for your skin-specific needs.  Two of Placécol’s exfoliants are rich in alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).  The skin-rejuvenating properties of certain AHA’s have been known for centuries. Cleopatra bathed in sour milk, which contains lactic acid, and the women of the French court washed their faces in spoiled wine, which contains tartaric acid.  AHA’s are weak organic acids. They are naturally found throughout nature in sugar cane as glycolic acid, in sour milk as lactic acid, and in fruits as malic, citric and tartaric acids.  The principal cosmetic actions of AHA’s on the skin are increased exfoliation and moisturization. The moisturizing qualities of cosmetic AHA’s help diminish the appearance of fine lines and help maintain the skin’s proper moisture level.   Low concentration AHA’s facilitate shedding of the outer layer of the epidermis resulting in cosmetically improved skin with a radiant, youthful glow to the skin.  With proper and regular exfoliation, your skin will radiate a healthy glow. Visible improvements appear in skin texture, smoothness, and overall skin health.

Placecol’s Gentle Exfoliating Serum contains AHA’s origin form red berries such Blackcurrant and Bilberry, containing citric acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid and malic acid. These red fruits are rich in sugars, minerals and vitamin C, an active stimulant for cell regeneration that protects the skin against free radicals.  It also contains glycoproteins which increase cell turnover and cell proliferation while stimulating the skin’s immunosystem.

 ahaPlacécol’s AHA Exfoliating Cream is rich in Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Sugar Maple, Orange and Lemon extract it is also enriched with Shea butter for additional mildness on the skin.  This concentrated blend of five botanical extracts contains several naturally occurring alpha hydroxyl acids.  These extracts contain a wide variety of residual natural substances, such as cellulose, carbohydrates, proteins, water soluble vitamins and minerals.  The primary action of AHA’s lies in their keratolytic ability – they weaken bonds that hold dead skin cells together. When these bonds are weakened, the dead skin cells can be shed from the surface of the skin, resulting in skin that appears fresher, smoother and younger.

This natural fruit acid blend also helps to normalize and improve the production of new skin cells, while the addition of Shea butter nourishes and conditions the skin, leaving it in superlative condition.  Suitable for dry, sensitive skin.

 

gentle-exfoliatorPlacécol’s Platinum Gentle Exfoliator with Papaya is a unique and highly effective exfoliator that uses papaya as the fruit acid exfoliator.  This highly effective exfoliator is designed for mature/dry skin with changing hormone levels and appearance of fine lines & wrinkles.  It contains super hydrating Ximenia Oil and Calendula Oil leaving your skin more youthful in appearance, toned, hydrated, and rejuvenated.

 

The regular use of products such as Placecol’s Gentle Exfoliating Serum, AHA Exfoliating Cream,  or the Platinum Gentle Exfoliator with Papaya make skin appear fresher, smoother and younger while at the same time releasing the benefits of hydration and collegen sythesis from lactic and citric acids. These products are effective yet gentle enough as to not over-exfoliate or break down the skins natural protection and impeded cellular function while improving the over-all health of your skin.  A simple addition of a good exfoliator to your skin care regime can have beautiful and skin healthy results!

1It is important to note that exfoliation can cause irritation or damage to the skin and capillaries if overused or used incorrectly. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a skin care professional to assess your skin type and proper skin care regimen.