Q. I know that cellular turnover is important and that I should be incorporating a glycolic face wash or something to that effect into my regime. What chemical exfoliant should I bring into my skin care routine that will help aid in the absorption of all the expensive creams, serums and everything else I use on my skin daily that will give my face a smooth, healthy glow? Thanks, Kelly.
A. Thank you for the excellent question Kelly. I couldn’t agree with you more, exfoliants are the key to promoting a smooth, fresh, radiant glow to the skin. They are also the quickest way to get noticeable improvement in the appearance and texture of skin. I’m always baffled when working with clients and speaking with women only to discover that they don’t exfoliate. When dead skin cells accumulate it can create congestion in the form of clogged pores and pimples. It can also make skin look dull and lifeless. Even to feel skin in need of exfoliation, it feels dry and rough to the touch. Bottom line, everyone needs to exfoliate for the health of their skin.
When it comes to exfoliation people that do it fall into two camps. The first group like a physical exfoliant, they like to feel that the gritty or granular exfoliating product they are using is working to scrub away dead skin cells. A word on physical scrubs, please don’t ever use this.
The second group prefers a chemical exfoliant, a product that utilizes alpha hydroxy acids to refine and exfoliate their complexion. The most common of these acids being glycolic and lactic. These acids are small enough in molecular size to penetrate the top layer of skin to shed skin cells and promote cellular turnover. While everyone can benefit from a chemical exfoliant, those who use a prescription like Retin-A should first consult with their dermatologist before trying an over the counter exfoliant. In addition, while everyone is different, you may experience a “peppery” feeling when first applying alpha hydroxy acid products. This feeling is only temporary and will dissipate quickly. The benefits of a chemical exfoliant are many: acne, age spots, scars, hyperpigmentation, production of collagen and elastin, better absorption of other skin care products, and your makeup will go on smoother and last longer. Here are some of my favorite chemical exfoliants.
Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant- This exfoliant incorporates lactic and salicylic acid to gently remove dull skin. This cream is gentle enough to benefit all skin types. I like to use it when my skin is feeling muddy or looking dull. I also like to use it before I self tan to ensure an even result.
Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 3% Facial Wash- We all have to wash our face, why not make your cleanser do more work? This foaming wash clarifies and improves skin tone and texture. It’s great to keep in the shower, and you may find your significant other using it too…
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha-Beta Daily Face Peel- What can I say about these powerfully effective peels? In a word, they are awesome. I recommend them to everyone because everyone can use them and reap the many benefits. They even make them for the body.
Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel- This organic skin care line harnesses the power of fruit acids to improve skin texture and deliver a glowing complexion. This fresh smelling peel dissolves dead skin cells on contact.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant- If you like a physical exfoliant but want the benefits of a chemical exfoliant this product is the one for you. This rice bran powder releases papain and salicylic acid to sweep away skin dulling debris leaving smooth skin behind. It’s appropriate for all skin types and gentle enough for daily use.