Exfoliation: Why Less Is Sometimes More
What started decades ago with a humble plastic sponge has become the watchword in skincare. Exfoliation remains the key to the fresh, peach glow of a youthful complexion. But as the range of professional and at-home acid and enzyme peels, scrubs, and mechanical exfoliation devices continues to expand, skincare professionals are seeing the ugly side of the these facial treatments: the raw tomato-red of serious irritation. The results of over-exfoliation aren’t just painful and unattractive—overaggressive skin stripping can actually do real damage. In addition to acne breakouts, people who get carried away can suffer broken capillaries, excessiveness dryness and scaling, and pigmentation changes—in other words exactly what you’re trying so hard to avoid: the visible signs of aging. The causes for these symptoms are rooted in the skin’s natural defense system—the inflammatory response. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. Removal of the superficial layer of skin (the stratum corneum) exposes the sensitive new skin underneath to a variety of assaults including bacteria, environmental pollutants, and solar radiation. But that doesn’t necessarily mean exfoliation is bad for your skin—in fact, done correctly, it’s one of best things you can do to revitalize your appearance. I’ll explain more of the hows and whys of exfoliation in future posts, but for now, enjoy the video below about exfoliation.