Out with the old and in with the new; get rid of those dead skin cells with exfoliation!

By GiGi Spencer, L.E.

When assessing the skin I always ask if exfoliation is a part of one’s skin care routine, and am always surprised that some skip this step in their skin care regimens. Most of the time it comes from a lack of understanding of the importance of exfoliation for the care of the skin. I’ll give you the what and why behind exfoliation:

Exfoliation is the physical or chemical removal of loose, dead epidermal cells and debris on the surface of the skin. There is physical exfoliation, which is mechanical removal of surface debris and dead cells from the surface of the skin. Then there is chemical exfoliation, which is the chemical softening of the intercellular adhesives that are retaining dead cells to the surface of the skin. The cells naturally slough from the surface of the skin more rapidly when chemically exfoliating.


The benefits of exfoliation are:

  • softening of the skin
  • enhanced penetration of treatment products
  • better appearance of the skin
  • enhancement of the natural process of cell release

Some examples of exfoliators are scrubs, which are physical or mechanical removal of surface cells and debris, and Enzyme masks which are physical and chemical. AHAs/BHAs are chemical. If you want to step up exfoliation a notch, resurfacing is an option. Resurfacing is physical and or chemical stimulation of the turnover of the cells in the epidermal layer and will stimulate the development of collagen and elastin in the dermal layer of the skin leaving you with more youthful more glowing appearance of the skin that is more even, taut, moist.

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