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There is so much conflicting information about skincare out there, and SO many kinds of products to choose from. But this piece of information is RARELY disputed: by exfoliating your skin, you can BOOST the effects of your other skincare.

So you’ve made an investment in a fabulous serum and/or moisturizer–GET YOUR MONEY’S WORTH!

What is exfoliating? Essentially, it is removing excess cells from the surface of your skin, or cells that have not been expelled within your pores, to allow the oil in your skin to be wicked to the surface properly. This boosts the radiance of your skin, prevents oil blockages resulting in breakouts, and allows your own natural oils to lubricate the skin on the surface as it should. Not only that, but exfoliation increases the circulation of your skin, and smooths the texture of the skin, giving that always-sought-after “glow”.

How does it help other products work better? One of the main things that separates great skin care from mediocre is it’s ability to penetrate the skin. If it only penetrates the very surface levels of the skin, it cannot incite much change. The deeper it goes, the better it can work. By exfoliating to make sure that pores are not blocked by excess skin cells, you will allow your products to push deeper–affecting the newest skin cells as they are being made. The lower levels of the skin are where collagen and elastin are produced, and also where the skin’s color (melanin) is produced. These affect the elasticity, smoothness, and color of the skin–which are our primary aging concerns! The powerful (and costly!) ingredients in skincare really aren’t helpful if they can’t reach–and treat–these layers of the skin.

How should I exfoliate?
Here are your options!:

1.)The most common kind of exfoliation is mechanical exfoliation. It’s physically removing the skin cells from the surface of the skin-almost like sanding or buffing it off. This can be done with a scrub that has a grit to it like Natura Bisse’s C+C vitamin scrub, $65, which uses aluminum oxide-the same ingredient used in professional microdermabrasion treatments. Darphin Age-Defying Dermabrasion, $80, uses jojoba and silica beads. We recommend these types of particles over things liked crushed nuts and pits, since these can have jagged edges that cause microscopic tears in the skin, and as a result- irritation. Mechanical exfoliation can ALSO be done with a brush, like the ever-popular Clarisonic!

The Clarisonic Mia in lavender, $119.

The clarisonic doesn’t rotate, but rather oscillates-it quickly rotates back and forth, to exfoliate and cleanse the skin without tearing or pulling. Available in a variety of colors and models ($119-$225), with brush heads ranging from soft/delicate, to stiff/tough to satisfy different skin needs. Just like a toothbrush, the brush head needs to be replaced every 3 months. Although their site recommends using it every day, I like to use mine every other day. Scrubs, should generally be used 2-3 times a week.

2.) Using enzymes. Enzymes work by essentially digesting the excess skin cells. The most common enzymes found in skin care products are bromelain, from the pineapple, and papain, from the papaya- making this a natural, generally gentle solution! Instead of only removing the cells on the surface of the skin, enzymes can penetrate more deeply- cleaning even inside each pore. Great products to try are Natura Bisse’s NEW Tolerance Enzyme Peel, $155 and Ilona Soft Polish Exfoliating Cream, $57. These kind of at-home treatments can be used as often as every other day, but should be done at least 1-2x per week.

3.) Your final option is an acid peel. There are many kinds of acids out there, from BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids: usually salicylic acid) to AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Even though some people shy away from this because of the scary “chemical” names, all of these are derived from nature- glycolic from sugar cane, lactic from milk, tartaric from wine, citric from citrus fruit, and malic from apples.)This works in a similar way to the enzyme peels, except it is typically more agressive. These can also penetrate the pores, but instead of digesting the cells, it essentially creates a controlled acid burn to remove the necessary cells. It sounds scary, but products formulated for at-home use (vs. spa or medical use) are regulated to give predictable results. Just be sure to READ THE DIRECTIONS, and discontinue use of any products containing retinol or other AHA’s a few days before and after giving yourself an at-home peel. (These ingredients will deepen the peel, but could do so in a way that isn’t easy to control, so it’s best to avoid them from mixing). One of our favorites, since it stops working after 15 minutes preventing you from going too far and scorching your skin is Natura Bisse Glyco Extreme Peel, $225. It contains a blend of several effective acids including Glycolic, which even has purported moisturizing properties! This product is meant to be used 1-2x per week for 6 weeks. They recommend 6 weeks on the product, and 6 weeks off– try one of the other methods of exfoliation (mechanical or enzyme) on your 6 weeks off!

Come in to our store, or give us a call at 713-552-1545 and we can help recommend the right kind of product for you! We can also ship!

Even if the product picks I have mentioned above aren’t readily available to you, look for the ingredients I have mentioned to find a solution that works for you!