The Art of Exfoliation

There is currently much debate about whether exfoliation is a good thing or not. At the recent press launch of our new Macadamia and Papaya Radiance Body Scrub, we discussed this issue with various beauty editors and found that the consensus seems to be that consumers have become fearful of exfoliation due to the sensitivity and subsequent skin complaints that have come from the use of very abrasive and overly potent acid-based exfoliators that over-stimulate the skin. There is also a convincing dermatological argument that the skin already has a natural 28 day exfoliation cycle called keratinisation - in which live cells gradually work their way to the surface of the skin where they become harder, die and naturally shed to make way for revealing new, fresh cells underneath – has resulted in more and more people turning against any additional exfoliation procedures. Furthermore, the top epidermal layer of dead skin cells are actually said to help improve the skin’s barrier function by helping to lock in moisture and limit exposure to the sun and pollution.

However, on the other side of the fence, the pro exfoliation argument is that as you age the rate at which your skin sheds dead skin cells starts to seriously decline and you are increasingly left with more dead cells on the surface and less fresh, dewy cells underneath. The skin starts to become tired and look sallow and dull. By exfoliating you are encouraging the skin’s cellular metabolism and the rate at which it sheds and replaces cells, consequently improving the condition of the skin and returning its natural function to how it may have behaved (and looked!) in your 20’s and 30’s. Regular exfoliation is also said to reduce hyperkeratosis (where dead skin cells block the pores), balance sebum production and improve the absorption of your moisturiser and serums.

We remain a huge advocate of exfoliation and believe it is more a matter of choosing the right exfoliator and applying it correctly so that it neither aggravates the skin nor depletes the skin’s natural barrier.

With this in mind we have created what we genuinely consider one of the very best exfoliators for the face – Facial Glow Radiance Peel and for the body our newly launched Macadamia and Papaya Body Scrub.

Facial Glow was one of the very first products we launched and the reason we think it is so unique is that while it contains stimulating and effective exfoliators such as Glycolic, Malic and Lactic Acids it is also incredibly supportive and simultaneously feeds the skin a hefty dose of nourishment with Olive Oil, Argan Oil, Macadamia, Pomegranate Oil, Green Tea, Manuka Honey, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Apple Serum, Papaya, Cocoa Seed Butter and Vitamin A, C and E. It remains, 6 years on, one of our very best sellers world-wide and the feedback we receive consistently emphasises not only how it makes the skin look dewy, fresh and vital and feel smooth and silky but also most importantly that it doesn’t strip the skin or leave it feeling red, raw and depleted. Exfoliated yes but not inflamed and aggravated - an exfoliator should never leave your skin feeling this way. If it does you may be overly zealous in application or the ingredients are just too harsh for your skin.

We recommend applying a nice thick layer of our Facial Glow to the face before you shower or take a warm bath and leave on anywhere from 3-10 minutes, depending on your skin. If your skin is on the more sensitive side than leave on for no longer than 3 minutes and do not buff. If your skin is quite resilient and has a lot of dead skin cell build up and some sun damage than leave on up to 10 minutes and give the skin a gentle buff, working the micro-spherical Jojoba beads contained in the product into the skin, this will further enhance the exfoliation process and leave the skin feeling dewy and fresh.

mac pap Facial Glow grp

Follow these tips for safe healthy exfoliation:

1.  Avoid using an exfoliator that contains apricot seeds, walnut shells or anything with a jagged surface. Always ensure it is a micro-spherical exfoliator such as Jojoba bead. Using a grainy ingredient that isn’t a perfect circle can cause micro-abrasions and lead to aggravated skin.

2.  Avoid using anything that leaves the skin feeling red, raw and inflamed. If this occurs discontinue use immediately as this is not a healthy skin reaction.

3.  Exfoliate no more than 2 x weekly.

4.  Use a hydrator containing Alpha-Hydroxy Acids such as Glycolic and Malic Acid but ensure your product also contains ingredients that nourish the skin such as Argan or Macadamia Oil.

5.  Very gentle tingling is good, burning or intense tingling is not – in case of discomfort discontinue use immediately.

6.  Avoid deep chemical peels. They seriously disturb the skin’s natural barrier function and numerous complications can occur.

7.  Use a mechanical brush such as the Clarisonic for cleansing daily. This is a highly effective yet gentle way to deeply cleanse the skin without aggravation. If your skin is sensitive than use a muslin wash cloth as a very gentle alternative.

8.  Use a mineral based SPF sun block with an SPF of 30+ to help protect against sun damage which can become more pronounced immediately after exfoliating.

As summer is now approaching it is a wonderful time to invigorate a tired and weary complexion and get exfoliating so don’t be fearful. With the right product and technique you can achieve healthy, luminous skin.