Winter Skin Hacks: Exfoliation

Hello once again! So, like many of you, I have suddenly found myself with a lot of free time. Meaning I've decided to start writing again, and I will attempt to be more regular with it too!

I have put together a series of posts called "'Winter Skin Hacks". In this series, I will go through everything you need to know in order to keep your skin in top shape this winter. We are all currently dealing with a lot of stress and changes in our every day lives, which can have a negative effect on skin, including work changes/furlough, mask wearing and even seasonal depression. So stay tuned for my weekly skin hacks and remember to sign up to my mailing list to get them delivered straight to your inbox!

First, you might be wondering why I stand out from all the other beauty experts and what makes my advice trustworthy. Well, as many of you know, I am a trained and experienced Aesthetician, and skin treatments are my area of expertise! Even before I owned my own salon, I was a skin care specialist for Carnival Cruise Lines. My tasks included giving skin care demonstrations for large crowds 4-5 times a week, as well as performing electrical and high tech facials for guests. So trust me when I say that skin is my passion.

So- onto this weeks topic. EXFOLIATION! I'm sure we all know that we need to scrub our skin twice a week to remove dead skin- it's been said before. But why do we need to do this? Well, there are lots of reasons to exfoliate, and its not only to get rid of dead skin!

Let's talk about the sciencey bit first.

I can't tell you the amount of times I've seen and drawn this diagram.

Ok so, your skin is made up of 7 layers, but today I'm going to tell you about the first five. This diagram shows those first five layers of the skin. On the top, we have the Stratum Corneum, which is the layer of dead and dying skin cells that sit on the surface. On the bottom, we have the Stratum Basale, which is the layer of new, fresh, plumpy skin cells. The other layers are all skin cells which are basically transitioning from the new to dying stages. So, in effect, this diagram shows the life cycle of skin cells. Cool! You don't need to remember all the names, but here are some things you probably should remember:

  1. It takes around 28 days for the new skin cells to reach the surface and become dead skin cells

  2. Any products you apply will reach a maximum depth of the 3rd layer

What does this mean? Well, it means that when you change your skin care routine, you should always judge if its working for your skin a month later, just to make sure that all of the old skin cells are gone first. (Please bare in mind that if your new products are having a very negative reaction, then don't continue using them for the next month)

It also means that by exfoliating and removing that top dead layer, any other products you apply are going to work much more effectively!

When I explain exfoliation, this is something I always say to my clients:

Imagine putting on moisturiser on top of a pair of tights. This is what it's like when you apply products without exfoliating.

Now, you don't need to go crazy and over exfoliate. Twice a week is a good amount to go on. Any more than that can actually damage the skin and remove something called the Acid Mantle- your skins natural defence layer. This layer actually gets affected when you have a deeply exfoliating facial, such as microdermabrasion, dermaplaning and chemical peels, which is why your Aesthetician will always recommend using a good SPF the days following these treatments.

There are also many different types of exfoliator to chose from- scrubs, enzyme peels, masks, acids... it can all get very confusing. Here is what you should consider when choosing an exfoliator for your skin type.

When choosing a scrub, make sure that the beads inside are perfectly rounded- no sharp edges like the ones you get from salt or sugar scrubs. Jojoba beads are a good example of a rounded scrub. The base should be gel or cream. Try not to get an oily scrub as the oils can block your pores. When scrubbing your face, try to be gently and use circular motions avoiding the eyes.

You can also get enzyme peels and masks. I love these, I think they are slightly better than a manual scrub because there is less chance of missing any areas. Apply an even layer all over the skin and leave for the recommended time before thoroughly rinsing, avoiding the eyes.

After exfoliating, you should always follow with a good moisturiser. I would actually recommend giving yourself a full on facial, including mask, eye cream, serums ect. as the dead layer has just been removed, so all of your products will work 10x better!

Well, thats it from me this week. I hope you've enjoyed the first edition of my Winter Skin Hacks, and let me know if theres any skin concerns you'd like advice with! Until next time,

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