Whether you exfoliate your skin weekly, aren’t sure how to exfoliate or fall somewhere in between, exfoliation can be a topic of confusion. So just what is it, what should you use, and how often should you do it?
Exfoliation is the shedding or peeling of dead skin cells from the upper layer of your skin. It occurs naturally in healthy skin but, like all body processes, it slows down as we age and if our skin cells aren’t getting enough of the proper nutrition to function well.
As we age, it becomes necessary to help the process along. The new, smoother skin looks clear, radiant and younger, which is the reason many people think more exfoliation is better.
But by overexfoliating, you’re actually removing the only protective barrier that your skin has. If you remove the barrier, then your skin is exposed to environmental toxins — not to mention the sun, which causes the most damage to your skin. So the key is to use products that encourage a natural cell turnover and keep skin hydrated.
Cell turnover in healthy skin occurs, on average, like this:
- In your 20s: 14-25 days
- In your 30s: 30 days
- In your 40s: 40 days
And so on, slowing down by a few days for every decade.
What exfoliator should you use?
Honey. Honey helps to speed up the natural exfoliation process and has humectant qualities, which help attract moisture, making it great as a hydrating facial scrub. Squirt a nice sized dollop into clean hands and scrub face gently, washing with warm water.
Yogurt. Yogurt contains lactic acid, the same alpha hydroxy acid found in skin care treatments, only milder. It soothes, smoothes and evens skin tone. Apply plain yogurt to face and let sit 20 minutes, then rinse.
Sugar. Sugar cane is a natural source of glycolic acid, another alpha hydroxy that can boost new skin cell production as well as smooth and soften the skin. Mix a half-cup white or brown sugar with enough olive or grapeseed oil to make a paste and apply to face in circular motion. Let sit for 10 minutes and wash away with warm water.