Fact or fiction: Physical exfoliants can cause micro tearing
Exfoliation can be highly effective for getting rid of dead, dull skin. Oily, normal, dry and sensitive skin can all benefit from weekly exfoliation. Have you ever heard the term, baby soft skin? While it is a cute saying, it is also very true. Babies have extremely soft skin because their cell turnover rate is so fast. Their bodies naturally shed the old, dead skin, every few days revealing soft, healthy, beautiful skin. Unfortunately, as we age the cell turnover rate drastically slows down. Children and teens have a cell turnover rate that is around 10 to 14 days, by the age of 30, the cell turnover rate slows down to closer to 28-45 days and around 45-60 days at the age of 40 and it continues to slow down from there. Dead skin left on the skin’s surface can highlight fine lines and wrinkles worsening the look of aging. Physical, mechanical, and chemical exfoliation all aid in giving skin a more youthful rejuvenated look but can exfoliants cause micro tearing in the skin?
Any exfoliant can potentially irritate the skin or cause damage when overused. Physical exfoliants such as scrubs, have undergone a lot of scrutiny in recent years. Some believe that facial scrubs that contain rough pieces like walnut and apricot, are too abrasive for the skin and can cause extreme damage and can leave skin susceptible to acne, infections, and cause signs of premature aging such as fine lines. While it seems like the verdict is divided when it comes to whether physical exfoliants cause micro tearing, a few things are true - some people will experience some form of irritation or damage to their skin when exfoliating. Many people do not exfoliate their skin properly, which can cause damage. While it is true that over exfoliation or improper exfoliation can cause some irritation to the skin, so can many things. Washing the face with a facial towel that is too rough or scrubbing too aggressively with a facial brush can also cause irritation.
Often when people experience any damage to their skin with exfoliation, it is due to improper exfoliation use or technique. Not properly exfoliating the skin can cause redness, irritation or breakouts. Proper exfoliation with physical exfoliations involves first properly steaming your skin. If you don’t have access to a steamer, open your pores by taking a warm shower or running warm water over your skin. When the skin is properly dewy and steamed, take your exfoliant and gently massage upwards in a circular motion before thoroughly rinsing. Another way to avoid skin damage is by not over exfoliating skin. Exfoliating the skin more than twice a week can cause irritation, especially in sensitive or dry skin types. Be sure to massage the skin up to two times a week if you have oily skin, and once a week for dry or sensitive skin.
What do the experts say?
Dermatologists approve many exfoliants including microdermabrasion, which they often perform in their offices. Microdermabrasion is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure performed by dermatologists and estheticians. The microdermabrasion machines used in spas and dermatologist offices, have a wand with an abrasive surface to gently remove dead skin by sanding it off of the skin’s surface. Microdermabrasion works to remove dead surface skin cells, revealing healthier skin over time. At DERMA E, we formulated a Microdermabrasion Scrub that is mirrored after the microdermabrasion treatment performed in dermatology offices. Our award-winning dermatologist recommended Microdermabrasion Scrub is a highly effective exfoliant that helps to achieve spa quality results. This fine-textured crystal blend gently buffs away dullness and smooths the look of fine lines, wrinkles, roughness and acne scars for a healthier, more youthful radiance. Detoxifying Dead Sea Salt plus refreshing Citrus Essential Oils help to immediately soften and reenergize skin for a healthy, smooth texture.
If you have experienced any irritation or redness from an exfoliant, discontinue use until the irritation has subsided. Be sure that you are not over exfoliating, exfoliating improperly, combining your exfoliant with a product with fragrance, or not exfoliating properly for your skin type.