Welcome to the first blog post in the Age-Grace series. I’m going to be posting regular blogs on preserving your skin’s natural beauty through simple principles to aging gracefully- I’m calling it the ‘Age-Grace’ series. There will be several posts within this series which will help you understand the natural process of skin aging, how to best care for your skin, and how to naturally preserve your skin’s beauty by keeping it fresh and youthful-looking.
So what exactly is exfoliating?
As we age, our skin’s cell regeneration process naturally slows down. Cell regeneration refers to the process of a skin cell’s lifespan- new skin cells are constantly born and rise to the epidermis (the top layer of skin), where they will eventually die and be shed off. As we age, this process slows down and this leaves a layer of dead, dry skin cells on our face and body which causes skin to lose its youthful glow and appear dull, dry, and rough-looking. Furthermore, our pores may become clogged with skin cells, dirt and impurities, which eventually lead to blemishes or acne breakouts and excess sebum (oil). Exfoliating skin helps to improve cell regeneration while increasing circulation, and removes the layer of dead skin cells, leaving new skin cells to emerge.
Exfoliation is the removal of dead, dry surface skin cells through either physical or chemical exfoliation methods. Physical exfoliation is achieved through a scrub, polish or exfoliating sponge/cloth combined with a physical action; massaging over skin to physically remove the dead or dry skin cells from the top surface layer of skin. Chemical exfoliation is without scrubbing, where an acid solution is applied to skin for a determined amount of time to dissolve the “glue-like” matrix that holds cells together- allowing the dead, dry and damaged skin cells to easily slough away.
What does exfoliation do for my skin?
Exfoliating benefits skin in several ways. First, regular exfoliating improves skin’s overall texture and tone, while reducing the appearance of pore size. Exfoliating removes dead, loose skin cells along with any dirt or impurities which are stuck deep within pores. Regularly exfoliating the skin clears deeply clogged pores, so they appear smaller and more refined-looking. Skin texture improves with regular exfoliation because it increases the skins cell renewal rate and allows healthy new skin cells to emerge to the surface layer- leaving skin smooth, healthy-looking, glowing and soft.
Furthermore, routine exfoliation helps to gently buff away visible signs of skin aging such as wrinkles, fine lines and discolouration from the sun. Incorporating exfoliation into your skin routine for face and body will increase blood circulation to skin, while removing the layer of dead skin cells. With improved circulation and blood supply, skin heals better and has a fresh, youthful-looking glow, which is further enhanced by removing the dull, dead top-layer of skin cells, leaving behind new, smooth and fresh skin. The appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and sun spots will appear diminished with regular exfoliation, if done properly to avoid further damaging skin. (More on ‘how-to exfoliate’ next post…stay tuned!)
Regular exfoliation also helps to keep skin clear of acne, blemishes and breakouts by clearing pores of what significantly contributes to acne breakouts- clogged pores. If dead skin cells are swept away by exfoliation before being able to combine with sebum to clog pores, then acne will be significantly reduced in the first place. Gentle exfoliation with a soft-touch is key with acne-prone skin however, as further aggravating skin with a too-heavy touch or abrasive massage will result in more oil production, which means more angry acne, blackheads and breakouts. It is a vicious cycle, which may be improved or managed with a simplified skincare routine, including; regular cleansing, soft & gentle regular exfoliation (to remove dead skin cells and pore-clogging impurities), followed by lightweight hydration with an acne-prone suited facial lotion. Daily sun protection is also recommended, for all skin types.
Finally, regular exfoliation allows for improved absorption of your skincare products, and this will improve the effectiveness and result of products with your skin. Your skincare products are better absorbed by skin which isn’t blocked by layers of dead skin cells, and better absorption means better moisturization, hydration and nourishment. Furthermore, your skin will look better under cosmetics and sunscreen each day, because regular exfoliation promote a smooth, soft and supple skin surface.
Our next post will cover how to properly exfoliate skin, see you then!
Live well and age with grace!