Exfoliation Is Important: Three Primary Types

No matter how flawless your makeup application is, the most important part of your look is the condition of your skin. If you don’t have a good canvas, then you will have a difficult getting a smooth, flawless finish. Exfoliation is a crucial step to achieving clear, glowing skin because it removes dead skin along with debris to reveal the new layer of skin underneath. Exfoliation is typically done once or twice a week, depending on the results desired.

There are three primary types of exfoliation for the skin: manual, enzyme, and chemical. One or a combination of these may be the most appropriate for your skin type, depending on the specific needs of your skin. Manual exfoliation is the most popular, and the easiest to find.

Manual exfoliation involves removing the dead skin cells physically, such as a washcloth, puff, or even fingers. Typically, these exfoliant products have granules such as ground solid ingredients such as almonds or “beads” created with synthetic ingredients. You can often find such things as crystals and even sand in these types of products. Higher end products tend to stick with rounder additives for these, as they tend to not scrape the skin like an ingredient with jagged edges.

Enzyme exfoliation uses enzymes, which are highly specialized proteins, which can help break down the dead cell layer which lays on the top layer of the skin. These can be very useful for sensitive skin types, as they don’t require pressure or friction to work. However, for an enzyme exfoliant to work, it needs to have the correct strength and pH balance.

Chemical exfoliation includes an ingredient such as alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids which help loosen the sebum which traps dead skin against the skin. These are most beneficial for those with oily or acne-prone skin and don’t require pressure or friction to work, although many products combine this type of exfoliant with a manual exfoliant.

Deciding which of the exfoliation methods can often involve some trial and error. Taking into consideration your skin type and sampling the different methods will yield amazing results.

Photo by hdconnelly via Flickr.


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Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites RetrodivasBeauty.com and RetrodivasCloset.com. She is also known as @retrodiva on Twitter. She specializes in drinking large amounts of espresso, shopping, and enjoying social media. In all of her free time she writes for StyleBakeryMom.com twice a week, and does various other freelance gigs involving writing, designing, and generally being awesome. While she believes that success is indeed a job in New York, she currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, two children, and two cats and has hung on to her day job.