The following is a preview of an article Dr. Miller wrote for Answers.com. Click here to read the full article.
It is hard to open a beauty publication these days without reading something about exfoliation and the importance of it. There are a host of products on the market as well that advertise that they help to exfoliate the skin. Here are some important things to know about exfoliation.
What Is Exfoliation?
To understand exfoliation, it is first important to understand the way our skin is made. New skin cells are formed only at the lowest layer of the skin. Once the skin cell is made, it will slowly be pushed upwards by new skin cells being made beneath it. As it is pushed up, it flattens out and becomes harder and thicker with a substance called keratin. Once on the surface of the skin, the skin cell will eventually dry out and fall off naturally. When the skin cells fall off, it is called “exfoliation.” Since exfoliation happens naturally, we should only have to help ourselves exfoliate if there is a problem with the skin. Not everyone has to exfoliate.
Who Should Exfoliate?
While anyone can exfoliate, not everyone needs to. Teenagers with acne, people with oily skin, and those with aging skin can all benefit by exfoliating. Acne and oil can hinder the natural exfoliation process and cause dead skin to pile up. As we age, the rate at which new skin cells are formed slows down, leading to dull looking skin. By exfoliating, we can speed up the rate of cell turnover, making skin look younger.
Who Should Avoid Exfoliation?
People with sensitive skin and a skin condition called rosacea can actually create more problems by exfoliating. Exfoliating with a sensitive skin condition or rosacea can make the skin very red and inflamed. People with these conditions are better off using anti-inflammatory products to calm the skin.
How Do I Exfoliate?
There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. For some people, all that is required is simply washing the face with a clean washcloth and gently scrubbing the face with exfoliation cleanser. For more severe cases, using a hand held rotary device such as a Clarisonic, or getting a microdermabrasion may be necessary. For people with more sensitive skin, mild cleansers with fruit acids such as glycolic acid may be more appropriate. A dermatologist can determine if even more aggressive exfoliation needs to be performed such as facials or chemical peels.
What Are The Benefits Of Exfoliation?
When done correctly, exfoliation can improve the skin tone, texture and appearance. Skin conditions such as acne improves. Dull, sun damaged skin can become more youthful in appearance.
What Is The Downside Of Exfoliation?
People with sensitive skin who exfoliate can make their skin more red and irritated. Over aggressive exfoliation for any skin type can result in excessive irritation and other problems. Exfoliation at home should only be performed once or twice a week. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion and facials should only be performed once a month or less. Small, hard, white bumps called “milia” can form if over aggressive exfoliation is performed.
When trying to decide if exfoliation is right for your skin, be sure to consult your dermatologist first. At Greenville Dermatology, our skin care experts can help you determine what exfoliation regime you should follow and what type of products are best suited for your skin. To schedule an appointment, call (864) 242-5872 today.