Skin Exfoliation For Healthier Skin
With humidity levels at a low the winter months are typically when most of us suffer from dry skin. This is when we begin applying more lip balms, lotions, creams and salves to keep the skin feeling and looking healthy. These are excellent practices along with drinking plenty of water, however one really important skin care practice you could be doing this winter to help contribute to healthier skin is exfoliation.
What is dry skin, and what cause it? Ways you can tell if you are suffering from dry skin other than the constant itching are increased visibility in the fine lines of the skin, cracked skin and dry flakes. This occurs when the levels of Sebum in your skin are low. The Sebum is an oily substance that is secreted by the glands in your skin that helps prevent it from drying out. There are many things that can cause these levels of Sebum to drop causing dry skin. Some of these variables would include climate change, genetics, poor diet, and exposure to sun, wind, chemicals as well as cosmetics and harsh soaps.
What is Skin Exfoliation?
Skin exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin which is called the epidermis. This allows new skin cells to develop from the lower layer of the skin, the dermis. Skin exfoliation has been recorded in history since ancient Egyptian times, which is also the native home of the loofah gourd. The Loofah is a popular sponge in the skin care industry that surprisingly does not come from the ocean but from a gourd. This type of sponge is great for body exfoliation and not recommended for sensitive areas such as the face.
There are three different types of skin exfoliation; manual, chemical and enzyme exfoliation.
Manual exfoliation is manually scrubbing off dead skin cells, by using sponges, creams, lotions, scrubs and cleansers.
Chemical exfoliation which is most often used for treating age spots, acne, sun damage and wrinkles, is an application using chemicals such as Alpha hydroxy acids and Beta hydroxy acids
Enzyme exfoliation is for those with very sensitive skin. These products dissolve dead skin cells by using powders, pads, mask, and cleansers that have proteolytic enzymes in them.
How often should I exfoliate? It is important not to over exfoliate. Too much could lead your skin more sensitive and vulnerable to skin damages.
For face exfoliation it is recommended to only exfoliate twice a week and less than that if you have sensitive skin. Also keep in mind that the skin on your face is more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body and should use gentler products with less abrasiveness. For body exfoliation you can get away with doing it 2-3 times a week; if you have sensitive skin you might prefer to exfoliate less.
There are so many different types of exfoliation products on the market today. Loofa sponges, felted soap bars and mild soaps such as goat’s milk soaps with natural ingredients like oatmeal, ground almond and cinnamon are great natural alternative that will help exfoliate the skin.