Seems pretty basic, I know, but exfoliation, while an essential part of good skin care regimen, can easily be done in a way that causes more harm than good. Yes, regularly sloughing off dead, dehydrated and pigmented superficial skin cells can help reveal better, healthier skin beneath. And we have sooo many choices – alpha and beta hydroxyl acids, retinols, scrubs, masks and peels. That’s not even mentioning the gadgets and professional treatments designed to rid us of that skin we lovingly refer to as “unnecessary crust”. In a society where more seems to be better, we tend to overdo it thinking that somewhere under there, we’ll find the skin we’ve always wanted.
Just a few things to consider before you scrub yourself into oblivion:
- Your epidermis actually has a lot of functions and your body is programmed to have a certain amount of it on the surface – it keeps you alive!
- Remember that too much trauma and friction (not to mention heat) can trigger more pigmentation.
- Sensitive skin types also must take care as the inflammation can irritate rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, etc.
- Mature skin tends to be thinner, more dehydrated and less tolerant to over-exfoliation.
- All the exfoliation in the world will not cure fundamentally dehydrated skin which needs proper internal and external moisture to return to it’s softer self.
So what’s the bottom line here? Generally speaking, a once weekly retexturizing step in your skin care regimen is a great idea – how you do this is just as important. Taking into account your specific skin type, any skin conditions and allergies and/or sensitivities are key. Other considerations of nutrition, water intake, lifestyle and general skin care will ensure that as you do exfoliate, the new skin you are revealing is healthy and beautiful!