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The ultimate guide to exfoliation.

Rima Al-Mukhtar

Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead cells from the surface of the skin to make it look healthier, radiant and younger looking. It helps prevent and control acne breakouts and removes early abnormal cells that go on to form precancerous growths. It also helps other skincare ingredients penetrate better into your skin as well as moisturizers to work better. It helps remove unwanted brown discoloration as well as prevents ingrown hair. "Exfoliating is an essential part of your cleansing routine. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, do it once or twice a week and you will fall in love with the squeaky clean glow," said dermatologist Dr. Dina Abdullah. "Exfoliation might be the single most important therapeutic treatment you can do for your skin," she added. Advances in cosmeceutical products in the past 20 years have enabled people to achieve incredibly effective results by performing exfoliation at home with the consistent use of topical products, especially glycolic based exfoliants. Below are different methods you can use to exfoliate from the comfort of your home: 1) Cleansing beads: This method uses affordable products and is done in no time. The products are filled with microbeads that are small, smooth and rounded, which will allow you to scrub away your dead skin little by little. However, make sure to stop if you feel irritation unless you have very sensitive skin. I highly recommend those who use natural ingredients to make sure you don't rub chemicals onto your skin. Ocean Salt from Lush is a great option for everyday gentle scrub using sea salt for your face and body. You can also use Dark Angel cleanser and scrub made with black charcoal and mud that will scrub your dead skin out and help tone the skin. 2) Scrubbing mittens: This method is for those who love washcloths. You will simply love the exfoliation glove. The glove has two sides, one is rougher than the other. Use the gentle side if you have sensitive skin and the other side if you are looking for deep exfoliation. This is one of the best methods if you want to exfoliate areas along your hairline or around your nose. Always make sure to keep the glove clean; it is usually machine washable. 3) Acid brightening peels: This treatment is extremely effective at retreating dead skin cells and illuminating a softer, brighter skin tone. The peel contains mandelic, phytic, and azelaic acids that help dissolve dead skin cells and quickly removing them off your face. Use just one pad a week and you'll notice a major difference. You should try the Philosophy Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel. 4) Enzyme exfoliants: This method can be used to break down pore clogging in your skin, but make sure to be careful around them for they are very strong. This serious treatment is designed for people with oily skin, dark spots and who are acne-prone. The fruit enzymes melt away dead skin, freeing your face of dirt and oil. You might have a red face after the treatment because it is very strong, but that fades away after about an hour. You should try the Tropical Fruit Enzyme Exfoliant Scrub by Michael Todd True Organics. 5) Exfoliating tools: There are different types of tools used for exfoliation but I have personally tried two that have saved my life - A) Exfoliating brush: Your face will love the feel of a brush on it. However, use this method only occasionally because the brushes might be harsh on your skin. The Clarisonic machine is the gold standard of exfoliating brushes. It has two speeds and a pulsing timer, so you know how long to spend on each part of your face. Just don't forget to wash the brush head with a sulfate-free shampoo to keep it bacteria-free after every use. B) Microderm system: I have recently bought the PDM personal microdermabrasion after reading so much about it. It claims to be a Botox alternative. It is also found at clinics where it is called crystal peel. You will only need to use it once a week and it will only take five minutes to finish the procedure. According to Dr. Abdullah, like many other subjects in skincare there is a lot of misinformation about exfoliation. "Exfoliation does not make your skin more sensitive to the sun if you are using an effective sunscreen and you are not over exfoliating. It also does not make your skin thinner even though it removes the dead cells, it actually thickens two of the underlying live layers of the epidermis," she said. "Exfoliation does not dissolve other skincare ingredients applied at the same time. At home glycolic works slowly, it takes over hours. However, glycolic and salicylic exfoliators will inactivate brittle retinoid products if they are applied at the same time. Exfoliation does not prevent you from using a self-tanner. "Since self-tanners work by coloring your dead skin cells, exfoliating before using self-tanners gives you a much more even tan," said Dr. Abdullah. "It might fade your self-tanner faster so you have to reapply and it will keep getting more even and more natural," she added. - Email: [emailprotected]

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Apr 29, 2015
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