A few weeks ago I shared some tips about cleaning out the clutter in your skin care drawer. Not only is it wise to toss expired and outdated products, but it helps you to clearly see the important items. Your skin works in a similar way.
If you remember back to your high school biology class- or your child’s science project- you might recall MITOSIS. This important process is how our cells replicate for growth, repair and replacement. As we age, this process slows down throughout our bodies at various rates. But the most noticeable place is our skin.
We can “trick” our skin into keeping that turnover rate a little higher with some encouragement. Exfoliation – or removing the dead layers of skin cells helps to promote a more youthful turnover rate.
Exfoliation can be accomplished with chemical peels, gentle physical ingredient or microdermabrasion treatments. Some women even borrow methods from the guys by shaving to keep their skin smooth and youthful! Whatever your method, it is best to start gently at first.
Until recently, many products included polyethylene microbeads-basically tiny plastic balls. These were a cost effective way to add consistent exfoliation to a variety of scrubs, body washes, even toothpastes. But as you can imagine- that much plastic used in our daily routines added up. In 2015 the US moved to ban the use of microbeads in our product to protect our waterways and aquatic life.
In the past I used products with ground-up pits or shells. While I felt great about using labeled “natural” my skin was more irritated than exfoliated. Those little pieces were pretty jagged and made tiny scratches on my face. I have even seen popular “coffee scrubs,” which would present the same concerns for me. Plus I prefer to drink my java.
Microdermabrasion treatments require a commitment of time and money. Best results are achieved with several sessions with a trained esthetician or dermatologist. Most people require several days of “down time” after each treatment and need to avoid the sun completely. I have seen great results, but in order to keep the results of any skin care – you need to remain consistent.
Personally, I like something I can do at home in under 2 minutes. My current favorite is a sugar and salt combo because it is smooth under a microscope, smells great and removes dead skin to reveal a great glow. You can look up recipes to make your own, but make only what you will use immediately. Without the proper techniques, homemade products can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
For my time and money, I prefer to purchase something I know will be safe to use. I usually use mine 2-3x per week in the shower on my face and treat myself to a good scrub on my hands and feet as needed. It is my first step before faking a summer tan, too. I order it by the jar and it lasts forever. A little goes a long way and I thin it with water to keep it gentle.