Exfoliation Basics: Are You Getting it Wrong?


Summer skin glow begins with regular exfoliation. It speeds up cell turnover, removing dead cells from the skin’s outer layer. While the skin does naturally exfoliate itself - shedding between 30 and 40 thousand dead skin cells every minute - external and internal factors like aging, environmental stressors, weather, and lifestyle may slow down or even stop the natural process, resulting in dull, flaky looking skin and clogged pores over time. Speeding up cell turnover using either a manual (physical) scrub or exfoliation tool or dissolving skin debris using skincare ingredients is effective in helping you achieve a clear and vibrant looking complexion.


The benefits are many:


· Clearing pores: The accumulation of dead skin cells can trap dirt and bacteria in the pore leading to breakouts. Eliminating this debris buildup helps keep pores clear.

· Softens appearance of fine lines: Removing dry, dead skin cells reveals fresh skin beneath. The new cells remove the dull, “cloudy” effect from skin debris buildup and give you a more youthful appearance.

·Fading dark or “age” spots (photoaging): Dark spots are the result of pigmentation in the upper skin layers. Sloughing off the dead skin layer and helping to speed up cell turnover also helps fade the visible discoloration. It won’t erase the problem but can reduce their appearance over time.

·Improving penetration and effectiveness of skincare products: Dead skin cell buildup creates a sealing effect over the pores, which reduces serums and facial oil’s ability to penetrate and deliver results. Exfoliating primes the skin to better receive these actives to perform as intended.


So, if exfoliation is key to radiant, glowing skin – what can go wrong? A few things actually. Here are the most common mistakes we see:

  1. Over-exfoliating. The epidermis (outer skin layer) uses dead skin cells as a layer of barrier/buffer. If you overstrip that layer, it affects the barrier function which can result in irritation, inflammation, and breakouts.

  2. Forgetting to moisturize. You must hydrate the skin post exfoliation. Always use a skin appropriate moisturizer after you exfoliate.

  3. Exfoliators you don’t think about. There are items you use every day that are exfoliating your skin that you may not be aware of, like coarse terry cloth towels for drying and loofah sponges.

  4. Using abrasive scrubs or brushes. Always use gentle tools and avoid harsh facial scrubbers like cleansing brushes. Face scrubs should feature gentle granules (like our Enyzme Peeling Crème), for example, finely milled oatmeal, silicone balls, or sugar granules.

  5. Using a body exfoliator on the face. Never use a body exfoliating scrub or product on the face. They are usually thicker and may contain higher concentrations of acids or granules that may cause irritation on facial skin.

  6. Layering retinoids and exfoliators. Alternate using retinol/retinoid products and exfoliating products. Use one or the other, not both. Retinol products promote cell turnover as well as exfoliate and stimulate collagen production. Use of both may cancel each other out or cause irritation and inflammation.