It is perhaps ironical that the skin, while the most conspicuous organ of the human body, does not get as much attention as other “vital” organs. Maybe this apparent oversight can be explained away by the fact that the skin itself is very efficient at revitalizing and repairing itself naturally and without much of a fuss. Skin exfoliation is one such natural process that keeps a women’s skin healthy and ensures a pleasant outward appearance. That said, this process can be affected by a woman’s hormonal changes and also typically slows down with age. Let’s examine the process in more detail and also look at some methods in which one can complement the natural exfoliation process.
Skin cells are generated and replaced all the time. A new cell remains as part of the skin for about one month before it dies. Old dead cells from the deeper layers of the skin migrate to the top layer of the skin (the epidermis) all the time. The skin is naturally accustomed to get rid of these cells soon after they get deposited on the epidermis, and that is what is called exfoliation.
If natural exfoliation does not happen or it takes place at a lower rate than the speed in which skin cells are dying off; a dull, flaky layer of debris cells forms on the epidermis. This layer can make the complexion of your skin appear dull and rough. Moreover, the layer interferes with the natural process by which the skin excretes oil and moisture to keep the skin moist and supple.
A number of aids and procedures have been developed to help in making skin exfoliation more effective. These aids are known as exfoliants and the most common ones are:
- Face and skin scrubs
- Microdermabrasion machines
Facial Scrubs for Exfoliation and Alternatives
Facial and skin scrubs have been used for a long time to exfoliate the skin and restore a youthful look. However, it is advisable to choose your scrubbing agents with care as some (or the way they are used) may cause more damage than the benefits they bestow. Some scrubbing exfoliants such as salt and sugar should be given a wide berth for this reason. Not only do the jagged edges of the particles cause visible scratches on the skin but they are also irritating on sensitive skin.
Dermatologists are now advising that some more gentle alternatives to scrubbing are more effective exfoliants. Beauty brushes such as the Clarisonic Aria are some of the more highly recommended alternatives. The brush is much gentler yet offering more intensive peeling off of dead skin cell debris, dirt, oil and bacteria from the skin.
Handy, compact and battery operated, the Clarisonic is well suited for the busy career woman or student. Independent research conducted by cosmetic companies have suggested that using an electronic cleanser such as the Clarisonic is up to four times more effective than using your bare hands or a facial scrub for skin cleansing. There are several different models of the Clarisonic such as the Mia and the Aria. A discussion of the differences among the different models is beyond the scope of this article – refer to this article written by beauty blogger Linda Olsen for an in-depth Clarisonic review of the various devices.
Microdermabrasion is a one of the more notable skin care techniques to cross over from Hollywood to the mainstream in recent years. What is more, today you do not have to visit an exclusive spa to enjoy the skin transforming magic of microdermabrasion. Today you can buy a home DIY microdermabrasion kit and avoid the trouble and cost associated with having the procedure carried out at a beauty spa or dermatologist’s clinic.
There are two types of microdermabrasion machines you can use at home
- Crystal microdermabrasion machines
- Diamond microdermabrasion machines
Crystal microdermabrasion machines use an ablative procedure to remove dead cells and dirt from the skin. When in operation, the device causes a high speed flow of aluminum oxide crystals which remove debris from the skin’s surface. The tip of the device has is hollow and using a vacuum effect, the blasted debris is sucked into the bowels of the machine. The process is comparable to sand-blasting dead skin cells and dirt from the skin.
Diamond microdermabrasion is an abrasive rather than ablative procedure. This means the machine removes dead cells and other debris from the skin by a process that involves scratching, grating or sanding. This is a procedure that is comparable to smoothing a surface using sandpaper.
There is not much to choose between diamond and crystal microdermabrasion machines as they are similarly priced. Moreover, it is reported that noticeable changes become apparent after about a month of use with either method. The best microdermabrasion machines however offer greater safety and efficacy so it is important to compare different microdermabrasion machine brands before placing an order.