All life,every single thing in nature, has a rhythm. You experience it in the change of seasons, you see it in the changing tides of the oceans and you observe it in a flower that comes to bloom in the spring. We, as people, also have natural rhythms that keep us functioning. Like the regular beating of our hearts, the flow of blood through our veins and the 28-day cycle of our skin.
What this means is that under that dull, winter skin, a healthy and bright complexion is just waiting to be revealed. And although this cycle occurs naturally, assisting the removal of dead skin brings us a number of benefits. Our key word this season: exfoliation
Let’s break it down...
The outer layer of our skin consists of dead cells that are always flaking or washing off. These are replaced by new cells manufactured by the lower layers of our skin, which move upward and outward. As they do so, the cells harden and die.
This cycle of cell production and replacement slows as we age, ugh, doesn't everything? The chart below breaks down the turnover by age.
Age Turnover Cycle
Infants 3-5 days
19-21 14-21 days
30-40 28-45 days
40-50 45-60 days
50+ 60-90 days
When the outer surface of our skin is made of newer skin cells, our skin feels softer and looks more luminous with less lines and imperfections. You probably know what I'm talking about here…it’s that glow you have after a good facial. By maintaining an average 28-day cycle through healthy lifestyle choices and a regular skin care routine, your skin will appear smooth and more youthful.
Most exfoliators can be divided into two different groups.
Physical Exfoliators Scrubs or polishes containing some sort of particle to physically buff off that top layer of dead skin. This may sometimes include grains, beads and/or micro crystals.
Chemical Exfoliators This type of exfoliator works by dissolving the “glue” that binds skin cells together and to the skin, thus allowing them to fall off. They can also dissolve the dead skin cells themselves. This includes fruit enzymes, alpha and beta hydroxy- acids, and vitamin A, known in the skin care world as retinol.
By the way, chemical doesn’t always mean harsh. Most quality chemical exfoliators have naturally occurring
ingredients, such as lactic acid, which is derived milk or glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar.
A third results oriented group of exfoliators combine both the physical and chemical exfoliators to give your skin a super sloughing boost.
Now you might be thinking things like: “What can I do to help this process along?" "When do I start this skin care routine?" Or, if you're like me, you may even be thinking "Can I buy it in bulk?” The answer to those questions start and end with our key word for the week, exfoliation.
First and foremost, I highly recommend seeing a skincare professional, who can assist you in finding the best exfoliator or peel for your skin and give you specific instructions on when and how often to use it. At minimum, this should be done at the beginning of every season, as much like nature, our skincare needs change.
If you're like me and just want to raid your medicine cabinet right now and get started immediately, please proceed with caution. Over exfoliating or using the wrong exfoliant for your skin type can cause redness, irritation, flaking skin and sometimes even a stinging sensation.
As for buying it in bulk, well I can tell you that as a skincare junkie,there are a few exfoliators that I feel this way about. I literally want to buy stock in the company! If you don't have that investment money set aside, then the good news is that if you choose a product with quality ingredients, a small amount will work wonders. The added bonus is that it will last so long that you will feel like you purchased a lifetime supply of it.
Once you find that polish or peel pad that works best for your skin, start slowly. Start with once a week, gradually working up to 2-3 times a week. Along the way, pay attention to how your skin looks and feels. A nice glowing, pink complexion following exfoliation is normal. If your skin turns the color of your favorite red shirt you will want to dial it back bit. Sometimes you do have to experiment a little to find what really works for you.
Our next post will talk more about the importance of exfoliating, with special focus on your body, hand and feet. Why so much talk? Well, because, you know what comes after Spring…bathing suit season.
THE pearl has everything you need to start your spring cleaning regimen. Find out more now!