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Be Careful with Exfoliation


Be Careful with Exfoliation

Be Careful with Exfoliation

When people think of exfoliation, they likely imagine a grainy scrub that sloughs off dead skin cells. This is the

physical means of clearing dead skin and sebum. Those with more skin in the esthetics game know that there are

chemical means of exfoliation that provide the same result. Chemical exfoliants that include a class of acids, known

as Alpha-Hydroxy such as Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid and Tretinoin (also known as Retinol) and Mandelic

Acid. These are used in professional, salon-grade chemical peels, at-home chemical peels, creams, gels and pre-

moistened pads. They can range in percent of power from anywhere from .025% to 7.5%-30% potency. You’ve also

got Beta Hydroxy acids, the most well-known being Salicylic Acid. The AHA’s and BHA’s are not to be played with or

taken lightly. These acids can BURN YOU! More on that in a moment. Also, mechanical exfoliation can be


Vigorous scrubbing with rough textured cleansers and homemade concoctions can damage the delicate process of

collagen production.

Exfoliation is recommended on a weekly basis- to up to 2 times a week by reputable licensed estheticians. The goal

of course, is to have perfect, blemish-free and glowing skin. This can be achieved with the prudent usage of a good

skincare routine that includes exfoliation. However, there is such a thing as taking it too far. Please recall the article

discussing the skin’s moisture barrier. There are people out there who see penetrating the moisture barrier as some

Mount Everest-esque conquering of the integument. This always ends badly. Your skin barrier is what keeps your pH

balanced and regulates the moisture of your skin; this is critical. What happens when that barrier is compromised?

Well firstly, the worst breakout of all time, the skin will looking something like an open wound, the amount of sores

and lumps everywhere. The moisture has been dried up, so there will be some cracked looking skin. Not pretty. Your

skin is your body’s first defense; it’s more than just good or bad- it is nature’s way of ensuring the survival of your

internal organs and the millions of internal processes that happen from minute to minute. Respect your skin’s

moisture barrier!