Beauty Base – Exfoliation
Exfoliation is the removal of dead surface skin cells, a technique practised for hundreds of years in one form or another. The Egyptians used oil and a strigil to remove skin debris, wine was used as a chemical exfoliant with tartaric acid as the active ingredient in the Middle Ages, and even tree fibres have been used over the centuries as an exfoliant.
The skin constantly generates new skin cells at the lower layer (the dermis) over time as they migrate to the surface (the epidermis) the cells become more acidic. This journey takes about 30 days and during this time the cells die and become saturated with keratin.
The keratinized skin cells are essential because they give our skin its protective quality but these cells are constantly sloughing off to make way for younger cells.
As we age the process of cell turnover slows down. Cells start to pile up unevenly on the skin's surface, giving it a dry, rough, dull appearance. Sometimes the dead skin can cling to the skin surface giving an uneven flaky appearance. To give Mother Nature a helping hand, exfoliation will help to reveal the fresher, younger skin cells below. This shedding of the outer layer unclogs pores, keeps skin clean, minimises blackheads and helps reduce acne breakouts and surface spots.
There are three basic methods of exfoliation.
Mechanical exfoliation – with the help of abrasive materials such as: salt, crushed apricot kernel or almond shells, microfiber cloths, micro-bead facial scrubs, sugar crystals and pumice. Even sponges, loofah and brushes are used for mechanical exfoliation.
Chemical exfoliation is when products with enzymes are involved, such as alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) or betahydroxy acids (BHAS) these chemicals loosen the dead skin cells that are held together, thereby allowing them to shed. An example of chemical exfoliant is a facial peel.
Hair removal - like waxing and wet shaving, this involves removal of hair along with dead skin cells.
With a huge selection of exfoliant products on the market I opted for the new St. Ives Elements, a range of premium facial exfoliators with naturally active ingredients available nationwide and in an affordable price bracket.
St. Ives Elements, offer three unique ways to achieve naturally renewed, younger looking skin:
Microdermabrasion (125ml) – RRP £5.10
Gently exfoliates with all natural micro-fine mineral crystals buffing away to expose a younger looking, refined complexion that glows. Using natural ingredients – camomile to soothe and Vitamin E to nourish – skin is left feeling moisturised, fresh and renewed.
Warming scrub (125ml) – RRP £5.10
Leaves skin with a natural glow as this unique scrub quickly warms on contact with water to relax pores for a luxurious deep clean. The gentle extracts of sunflower and camomile smooth and calm skin as the all-natural exfoliants - sugar crystals and jojoba beads - remove impurities and dull skin cells. This special blend washes away pore-clogging dirt and oil, leaving skin clean, fresh and radiant.
Olive scrub (150ml) – RRP £5.10
Gently exfoliates away dead skin leaving it re-energised, moisturised and smooth. Containing Olive Oil, a premium ingredient often used in body moisturisers to nourish without greasiness, and olive leaf extract, a natural anti-oxidant. The natural jojoba bead exfoliant and mild formulation, allows it to be used often, giving skin a healthy glow like never before.
Not only will your skin’s appearance benefit from exfoliation you will also notice your facial creams working more efficiently because they are treating the fresh new cells. Your foundation will apply more evenly because the skin surface is smoother and if using fake tan you will have a more natural, even colour.
Generally it is recommended to exfoliate a couple of times a week, over exfoliation could dry and irritate your skin leading to premature wrinkles so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Women Talking would like to offer one lucky winner the chance to win a set of the St Ives Elements range of facial scrubs.
To enter answer the following question:
How many times a week is exfoliating recommended?
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