Chemical exfoliation and physical exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells. The newly exposed skin is softer and smoother, making your skin appear younger and radiant.
In the last few years, exfoliation has become very popular owing to its almost immediate demonstrable benefits and the ease and variety of available products. Exfoliation is an effective technique for treating many skin problems.
Different Methods Of Exfoliation
There are two kinds of exfoliation – physical (scrubbing) and chemical (peeling). Both types of exfoliation methods eliminate dead cells to reveal new skin.
Physical exfoliation is available for consumers in a variety of products, such as topical cleansing scrubs containing different types of abrasive solid particulates, mechanical facial brushes, and mildly abrasive cosmetics. Commonly used chemical exfoliants include glycolic, lactic, and malic acids, known as α-hydroxy acids (AHAs), and salicylic acid, which is a β-hydroxy acid (BHA).1
On the other hand, chemical peeling, the most frequent derma-esthetic procedure in the world, is a commonly used procedure that is meant to treat photoaging of skin, deep wrinkles and fine lines, acne scars and to improve the skin vitality, tonus, and texture.2
In a chemical exfoliation, lotions or a peel containing acids are used to brighten the skin and make you look younger. But, certain areas with thicker skin, like your knees and elbows, will require something slightly rough, such as a scrub or a loofah.
Exfoliation For Different Parts Of Your Body
Here, you can learn about the best methods to exfoliate various parts of your body starting from your face all the way to your toes.
According to dermatology experts, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are effective exfoliators. These acids are usually found in moisturizers that are gentle enough for daily use. They are found in higher concentrations in masks or in-office peels. Salicylic acid (BHA) is another commonly used exfoliating ingredient that helps treat acne and is found in cleansers, moisturizers, and pimple spot treatments. For people with sensitive skin, an enzyme-based mask is recommended as enzymes are gentler than AHAs.
However, a new generation of AHAs, called polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), has been found to offer similar effects as AHAs but do not cause the sensory irritation responses that can limit the use of classical AHAs. PHAs are known to be compatible with clinically sensitive skin and can be used after cosmetic procedures. Additionally, most PHAs also possess antioxidant properties.3
Your lips probably have the most sensitive and soft kind of skin anywhere on your body. Since they’re constantly moistened by your saliva, they are almost always soft and smooth. But, certain lifestyle habits and cold climatic conditions can cause your lips to crack and chap.
Using a cleanser, which has 0.5 to 2 percent salicylic acid, to exfoliate the sensitive skin on the lips is recommend. After the exfoliation, it is important to safeguard the newly exposed layer of soft skin by applying a balm or a lotion that is rich in Shea butter.
Apply it at regular intervals and ensure that your lips don’t go dry. And as for those French kisses, keep them away for a couple of days.
3. Arms And Legs
Some people’s skin on the arms and legs have small pink or brown bumps known as keratosis pilaris, more commonly called as chicken skin. They are caused by the circular hair shaft, which ruptures the follicles leading to inflammation and abnormal bumps.4
Though this skin condition is probably the easiest to detect, it is among the hardest to get rid of. But, the application of an exfoliating lotion may help in making your skin in these areas comparatively smoother.
Although acne and pimples occur under similar conditions, the difference is that these bumps occur on dry, sensitive skin, as opposed to an oily skin on which acne occurs. Hence, more gentleness and care is required while exfoliating the skin surface. A lotion with 15 percent glycolic acid, which is the highest available concentration, should facilitate a gentle exfoliation.
4. Elbows And Knees
The elbows and knees are among the roughest and toughest skin you may have on your body. Since the skin is much thicker in these areas, a physical exfoliation works much better than a chemical exfoliation. Once you exfoliate the skin in the shower, gently pat dry with a towel and apply a moisturizer to ensure skin hydration.
5. Palms And Feet
Your palms and your feet have the roughest, toughest, and thickest skin on your body. So, gentleness has no role to play. But, that doesn’t mean you can scrub it with a sandpaper. Many lotions from reputed brands that contain urea in concentrations as high as 40 percent can be great for the skin as they not only exfoliate the skin but also keep it hydrated.
Frequency Of Exfoliation
Although exfoliation is the best method to remove dry skin, your skin dehydrates much faster during winter and exfoliating further dries out your skin. So, if you live in regions that experience very cold temperatures, it is recommended that you exfoliate your face not more than twice a week, especially during the cold season. But, during the warmer months, you can exfoliate your skin twice a week or even every day, depending on your skin type and the kind of product you use.
|↑1||Rodan, Katie, Kathy Fields, George Majewski, and Timothy Falla. “Skincare bootcamp: the evolving role of skincare.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open 4, no. 12 Suppl (2016).|
|↑2||Grajqevci-Kotori, Merita, and Allma Kocinaj. “Exfoliative Skin-peeling, Benefits from This Procedure and Our Experience.” Medical Archives 69, no. 6 (2015): 414.|
|↑3||Grimes, Pearl E., Barbara A. Green, Richard H. Wildnauer, and Brenda L. Edison. “The use of polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) in photoaged skin.” Cutis 73, no. Suppl 2 (2004): 3-13.|
|↑4||Thomas, Mary, and Uday Sharadchandra Khopkar. “Keratosis pilaris revisited: is it more than just a follicular keratosis?.” International journal of trichology 4, no. 4 (2012): 255.|