Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin’s outermost surface. Exfoliation is involved in the process of all facials, during microdermabrasion or chemical peels. Exfoliation can be achieved through mechanical or chemical means.
Credit is given to the ancient Egyptians for the practice of exfoliation.In the Middle Ages, wine was used as a chemical exfoliant, with tartaric acid as the active agent. In Asia, the practice of exfoliation started hundreds of years ago.The etymology of the word exfoliate comes from the Latin exfoliare (to strip off leaves).
Exfoliation is achieved through either mechanical or chemical means.
Exfoliation methods used in Canada in 2011. Shown: top right, a bath sponge made of plastic mesh; lower right, a brush with a pumice stone on one side and a natural bristle brush on the other side, for foot exfoliation; lower left, a mud mask package for facial exfoliation; top left, a jar of perfumed body scrub to be used while bathing.
This process involves physically scrubbing the skin with an abrasive. Mechanical exfoliants include microfiber cloths, adhesive exfoliation sheets, micro-bead facial scrubs, crepe paper, crushed apricot kernel or almond shells, sugar or salt crystals, pumice, and abrasive materials such as sponges, loofahs, brushes, and simply fingernails. Facial scrubs are available in over-the-counter products for application by the user. People with dry skin should avoid exfoliants which include a significant portion of pumice, or crushed volcanic rock. Pumice is considered a good material to exfoliate the skin of the feet. Microdermabrasion is another mechanical method of exfoliation.
Chemical exfoliants include scrubs containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, fruit enzymes, citric acid, or malic acid which may be applied in high concentrations by a medical professional, or in lower concentrations in over-the-counter products. Chemical exfoliation may involve the use of products that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), or enzymes that act to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to ease away. This type of exfoliation is recommended for people treating acne. In beauty spa treatment on continental Europe, the chemical properties of wine producing grapes are exploited in the practice of vinotherapy which is becoming increasingly popular.
Dermaplaning is a medical procedure that exfoliates the skin (or epidermis). As a byproduct it also shaves off all hair.The procedure is done by a licensed esthetician who will gently glide a scalpel across the skin removing the outermost layer of skin cells and hair from the face.
The dermaplaning provides can help to remove scarring, acne, uneven skin tone, and age wrinkles. As hair is simply shaved off in the process, it will grow back at the same rate and texture as before.
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The first step and last step of any facial therapy protocol is skin care. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and is the most exposed area of your body. The sun, environmental contaminants, gravity and the natural aging process all take their toll on facial skin.
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