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  • Regina Thomas


In case you haven't noticed from reading my blog, I'm crazy about exfoliation! What is exfoliation anyway and why should you care? Read on!

Exfoliation is the process by which you remove the top layer of dead skin cells revealing the new cells underneath. In other words, removing the dull, lifeless (literally, it's dead!), yucky skin to allow the bright, firm, healthy cells to be at the surface!

I like to exfoliate my skin two to three times a week morning and night. I refer to the days when I exfoliate as "active days" because exfoliation is like exercise for your skin! Exfoliating prompts your cells to turn over (regenerate) at a faster rate to produce new, healthy skin cells. Exfoliating also promotes collagen production, which helps your skin maintain elasticity and firmness. Additionally, exfoliating leaves your skin soft, reduces fine lines, minimizes pores, reduces blackheads, and can help with acne! I mean, I love exfoliating!

There are two primary types of exfoliation: manual and chemical. Let's review the differences!

Manual exfoliation utilizes small crystals, rough surfaces, and scrubs to exfoliate the skin. Over the counter microdermabrasion products are manual exfoliants as are anything labeled as a scrub. Manual exfoliants are great for clear skin that needs brightening, mature skin that needs rejuvenation, and dry skin that needs smoothing. Manual exfoliation is not advised for acneic skin or skin with Rosacea as it can be too stimulating and cause further irritation.

Here are a couple of my favorite manual exfoliants:

Skin Script RX Retinal Scrub Mask ($43 Fresh Skincare Studio): I got a sample of this product with one of my orders and I'm CRAZY about it! I love that you apply it as a brightening mask and then as you remove it, it scrubs off the dead skin cells! I have very sensitive skin so I was nervous to try this, but I use it three times a week with no problems. It has really helped my blackheads and congestion around my nose!

Actually, I can't think of an over the counter scrub I like...note to self: go buy scrubs to try for an updated post!

Chemical Exfoliation sounds scary, but it's not! Chemical Exfoliation uses fruit, dairy, and plant acids to remove the top layer of skin cells. I know hearing "acid" associated with skincare sounds like a bad idea, but acids (as long as they're gentle) can be very beneficial!

For instance, Glycolic Acid is derived from sugar cane and can break down the layer of dead skin cells that prevents black heads from being released from the skin, it's also great for reducing fine lines over time. Salicylic Acid is made from a willow bark extract and breaks down deposits of oil and debris (blackheads). Lactic Acid is derived from fermented fruits and vegetables or dairy products and it promotes hydration and increases cell turnover so it's great for aging, dry, sensitive, or mildly acneic skin. The key with using chemical exfoliants is to know your skin type and not overuse the products!

Also, chemical exfoliants can be found in many forms including cleansers, toners, masks, and treatments, so be sure not to combine too many exfoliating products!

Here are some of my favorite chemical exfoliant products:

Skin Script RX Raspberry Refining Cleanser ($26.50 Fresh Skincare Studio): This cleanser has glycolic acid and salicylic acid so the glycolic opens your pores and then the salicylic can clean them out! The nice thing is that this is gentle, Skin Script RX also makes a glycolic cleanser, but it is WAY too strong for me. I can use this cleanser two to three times a week as part of my "active days" (days when I exfoliate). It also smells fricking amazing, like Starburst candy haha.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser ($16 Ulta): This is one glycolic cleanser I can use with my sensitive skin, BUT only once a week! It gets really bubbly and it leaves my skin feeling very smooth which is nice. I use this when I'm having troubles with hormonal acne. It's also super concentrated (so is the Raspberry), so it lasts a looong time.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ultra Gentle Daily Peel for Sensitive Skin ($88 Sephora): This product is pretty awesome because it has lactic, mandelic (anti-redness), and salicylic acids in it. I still only use this two to three times a week because I don't want to overdo my exfoliating!

I will say, that for me, this is pretty damn pricey. I'll be trying the Skin Script RX Glycolic Retinol Pads next (they're formulated for hyperpigmentation) and they retail for $22.50!

There are also serums, night peels, and lots of other creative formulas for exfoliating on the market, but I can only exfoliate so much!

I hope this post inspires you to learn more about exfoliating ingredients and to include some exfoliating into your routine! I also challenge you to take a photo of your skin now and another in 30 and then 60 days, I'll bet you'll see a difference!



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