Dreaming of a smoother, brighter, toned complexion? Whether it be a routine professional treatment suggested by your Aesthetician like dermaplaning, or the proper maintenance with your home skincare routine, exfoliation is an extremely important part in one’s skincare routine.
Exfoliating polishes the skin by removing the buildup of dead skin cells, leaving the skin looking younger and more vibrant. Not only does exfoliating smooth out the texture of the skin, but it also balances the skin’s oil production - which minimizes breakouts, blackheads and clogged pores. More importantly, it helps with product penetration. Specialty serums, masks and treatment creams - especially those that contain ingredients like antioxidants, skin brightening agents and hydrators - cannot work effectively when there is a buildup of dead, dull skin cells on the surface. There are a few effective methods of exfoliation, those most commonly being implemented are mechanical, chemical and enzymatic.
Common forms of mechanical exfoliation, such as dermaplaning and microdermabrasion, are used in treatment ideally once a month for general maintenance. I recommend more frequent treatments, usually every 2-3 weeks, for more corrective results. Using a scrub, enzyme mask or exfoliating serum, lotion or cream at home 2-3 times a week is a great way to continue the process of exfoliating so that the products used in one’s home skincare regimen can work most effectively.
The process of dermaplaning consists of using a small blade to gently scrape off the top layer of dulling dead skin cells. It also eliminates that annoying peach fuzz that cakes up in makeup. Dermaplaning also allows for greater penetration of skincare products and creates a flawless canvas for makeup to glide on smoothly. In fact, in my experience dermaplaning helps to prepare skin for more invasive procedures such as laser and chemical peels.
Dermaplaning is great for all skin types except those with active breakouts. If you have deep cystic acne, I recommend controlling the breakouts before trying this treatment. As always, it's important to discuss any allergies or skin sensitivities before starting a treatment. Dermaplaning is also a great treatment option for clients who are pregnant or nursing, and it is a painless procedure that usually takes about 30-45 minutes.
Immediately post-treatment, your skin will look more radiant and have a more even skin tone and texture. It will also be highly sensitive to sun exposure and may already look slightly pink – be sure to use a sunscreen afterwards (my favorite tinted physical blocks with a tint are Revision Intellishade and Jan Marini's Physical 45).
Microdermabrasion is a great alternative treatment to dermaplaning and is a safe and effective way to polish the skin, stimulate blood circulation and increase collagen production – leading to a younger looking complexion with taut, smooth skin. Microdermabrasion treatments use a minimally abrasive instrument to gently sand your skin, removing the thicker, uneven outer layer.
Chemical exfoliation is an exfoliation technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck or hands by using Alpha and Beta hydroxy acids (or AHA’s and BHA's) and Enzymes. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids (the most common being glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids) are great forms of exfoliation. Glycolic, is more specifically used for anti-aging effects as it contains the smallest molecule therefore can penetrate deeper. Lactic is a great mild and hydrating exfoliant, and Salicylic is used for more acne prone skin because of its antibacterial properties. These acids penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration. It also can be used to smooth rough skin.
Trichloroacetic (TCA) acids are used for stronger peeling. They can smooth out wrinkles, soften marks left by blemishes and pigmentation problems. After any peel clients may experience some redness, swelling and irritation, but the use of post-peel home care creams recommended by your Aesthetician will aid in the healing process.
If we determine that a chemical peel seems too aggressive for your skin or doesn't fit into your life style, and we decide a more gentle approach may suit your skin best, the use of an enzyme is a great way to gently exfoliate and soften the skin.
Enzymes are a less aggressive way to exfoliate. Enzymes are great for more sensitive and/or reactive skin. Most are safe for clients with Rosacea. Papaya and Pumpkin (as shown above) are two of the most popular enzymatic exfoliants. Enzymes digest dead skin cells, similar to how probiotics help break down food in our digestive tract. They also soften the skin by breaking down the dead skin cells, allowing for easy penetration of active serums during a facial. Enzymes also increase blood flow to the skin’s surface, improving tone.
All peels require some follow-up care
Most peels require anywhere from five to seven days to heal. The physical peeling typically begins day two or three post-treatment. Treated skin will initially be red and may scale. Post-peel home care should be applied and reapplied liberally until the skin heals, followed by daily use of sunscreen. Makeup can usually be worn the next day, but in my experience it's best to let the skin breathe and heal fully before applying makeup your lifestyle allows.
These methods of exfoliation - whether it be a professional dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, chemical peel or an enzyme exfoliating facial - are all effective ways to polish the skin to improve tone and texture, and also allow the skin to receive the active ingredients specialty treatment products such as growth factors, peptides, skin lightening or brightening agents, retinols and antioxidants.
Exfoliating in your home skincare routine
It's extremely important to incorporate this process of exfoliation in one’s home care routine, whether it be using an enzyme mask, a scrub, a retexturizing AHA serum or cream – talk with your aesthetician at the Spa at the Village and see what they recommend for your skin. A few of my go-to favorites include:
- Jan Marini's Bioclear lotion or cream which contains Glycolic, salicylic & azelaic acids. Some clients can use this cream daily, depending on one’s sensitivity level and usage of other active ingredient based products. I like to use this cream a few times a week in the evening.
- Jan Marini's Skin Zyme is my favorite enzyme mask. This green papaya enzyme mask is amazing! I like to kick it up a notch by adding a pump of Jan Marini bioglycolic cleanser to the mask the last few minutes before removing with a warm wash cloth. It softens and brightens the skin beautifully.
- Eminence's Almond Mineral Mask is my go-to manual exfoliant (scrub). It is made up of finely crushed and polished almonds, paprika and ground ivy. Not only does it polish the skin, it aids in blood circulation and oxygenating the skin.
The process of continuously polishing the skin and sloughing off the buildup of dead, dull skin cells so that one’s specialty treatment products can penetrate and work most effectively will result in the skin looking fresh, smooth, vibrant and youthful and assist in the process of one’s skin aging gracefully. Stop by the Spa at the Village and set up a consultation with one of our aestheticians and take the next step towards brighter, more vibrant skin with results-focused treatments.