Exfoliating literally means to “remove the surface of,” but don’t let the definition throw you off, exfoliating is a great technique for almost every skin type! Whether you regularly use a scrub on your face, are curious about chemical exfoliation practices, or simply want to hear some expert advice about this commonly-used technique, your skin will benefit from a customized exfoliation treatment.

Boca Raton-based second-generation esthetician and skin-care guru Stephanie Cimino explains, “Exfoliation is helpful as skin cell life span changes over time. When we’re young it’s shorter and the cells regenerate more quickly, and then more slowly as we age. This slower process of regeneration means we need to exfoliate more to slough off dead skin cells and allow new ones on the surface.” But any skin expert will warn you that it is possible to exfoliate too much. “By over-exfoliating, you’re actually removing the only protective barrier that your skin has,” says Dr. Ben Johnson, founder of Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare. “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 for home useis to use products that encourage a natural cell turnover and keep skin hydrated.”

One of the biggest factors to keep in mind with exfoliation is age. As we mentioned, skin cell turnover changes over time. Cell turnover in healthy skin occurs, on average:

  • 20s: 14-25 days
  • 30s: 30 days
  • 40s: 40 days

As you age, care should be paid to the frequency at which you exfoliate, and by what method. The older you get, the more you can exfoliate. Stephanie Cimino recommends starting at once per week and gradually increasing to a maximum of four times per week as your turn over rate decreases. You know the saying “too much of a good thing can be bad”.  This rule definitely applies here. Keep in mind if you are exfoliating more than twice a week pay attention to your method.  Aggressive exfoliation, either mechanical or chemical is not a good thing.  Rough materials and/or harsh chemicals at a high frequency will cause damage and eventually give you a “burnt” appearance.

You may be wondering which treatment is right for you. Scheduling an online or in-person consultation is always the best way to determine exactly which kind of exfoliation will target your personal concerns, but the following tips are a great start! Be sure to contact us with questions, or to get more personalized product recommendations.

Now for the nitty gritty (pun intended)…There are two main types of exfoliation that you should know about: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation is exfoliation by way of a loofah, those small grains in your face wash, or scrubbing. This also includes exfoliating machinery. Chemical is by way of a peel, laser treatment, or other such chemical methods. Both have their place, not to mention recommended products and methodologies.

Physical Exfoliation

As a general rule for all skin types, LA Celebrity Dermatologist Michael Lin recommends using a facial scrub once a week but warns that the problem with some physical exfoliation agents is that it is easy to over dry or scratch sensitive areas. Into The Gloss recommends Fresh’s Sugar Face Polish for a scrub gentle enough for most skin types, and we agree. Dr. Lin is also a fan, as are we, or using a cleaning tool (such as Clarisonic) to get a deep clean and surfacing every once in a while. Please keep in mind to thoroughly clean your Clarisonic brush after every use in order to prevent skin damage.  Connect with us for information as how to properly clean your brushes.  If you want to try natural exfoliants, mixing fine-grain salt into your face wash is great for oily or acne-prone skin. If you’re on the drier side, sandalwood powder is a wonderful natural exfoliant to hydrate and even skin tone/texture. Check out our instagram page and stories for more product recommendations.

If you’re finding that you have old acne scars, discoloration, or other skin issues that at-home remedies aren’t quite fixing, microdermabrasion (exfoliating performed in our lab with a diamond wand) can work wonders. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons cites it as a key way to make old scars, blemish marks, or nagging imperfections disappear.

Chemical Exfoliation

Often times, the most effective route to take for extreme wrinkle, scar, and blemish reduction is with chemical exfoliation. Some at-home peel products, like peel pads, when used with care, can produce dramatic results. Naturally occurring lactic, alpha hydroxy, or glycolic acids are the core ingredients in these products, helping to resurface the skin, shrink pores, and banish wrinkles.

Scheduling an appointment for a chemical peel with one of our skin specialists is the best way to get dramatic results in a shorter amount of time. A superficial peel with alpha-hydroxy acids will provide general resurfacing or freshening, whereas a medium or deep peel can remove everything from wrinkles and new or old acne spots, to some precancerous marks. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery recommends peels for anyone concerned with their skin’s appearance as long as you’re not pregnant or nursing or currently on Accutane.

New Technology

One of the most cutting-edge procedures in the skin care industry is a combination of chemical and physical exfoliation. Infini Skin Tightening combines the use of lasers and microneedling to create life-changing results with anti-aging, scar reduction, and collagen production. The procedure, combines radiofrequency technology with a needling technique to resurface not only the top, but the second layer of skin. Safe on all skin types, Inifini creates collagen production and newfound elasticity that will knock years of the appearance of your skin. The procedure, which requires minimal downtime and is not said to be painful (despite the microneedle component). This is one of the biggest trends in skin care and dermatology, and we highly recommend asking one of our specialists if it is right for you!

Now that you know about your options, be sure to schedule a virtual or in-person appointment to make sure that your making the most of your new exfoliating regimen. Whether you settle on chemical, physical, or a combination of the two, you’ll want to incorporate the technique and your skin will thank you! Make sure to LIKE + SHARE + FOLLOW for more skin tips, tricks, and secrets!

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