Want to give your skin a healthy glow? Learn how exfoliation works to clear pores, tighten skin and boost absorption of treatments and moisturizers—and why it should be a regular part of your beauty routine.
“Everyone needs some exfoliation,” says Kathryn Fairbanks, esthetician at our Berkeley location. “It’s especially important for aging skin because as we age, the skin slows its cellular renewal. So you want to slough that dead skin to create a healthy glow.”
To start with, a system like the Clarisonic sonic face cleansing tool can help by doing a deep pore cleansing every day. “The Clarisonic is super gentle and will mildly exfoliate,” says Kathryn. If you have oilier skin and need more exfoliation, she says, you could even pair it with a serious cleanser like Sanitas’ Glycolic Citrus Cleanser or Lactic Cleanser.
The next level of exfoliation: An enzyme-rich product that offers what Kathryn calls “micro-exfoliation.” “Enzymes digest dead skin, so they’re great for sensitive skin that can’t handle manual exfoliation (such as a physical scrub like Astara’s Daily Refining Scrub),” says Kathryn. Juice Beauty’s Exfoliating Cleanser, for example, includes enzymes from organic pineapple juice, along with nourishing oils like jojoba and avocado. “It’s gentle enough for everyday use, or you could alternate it with another cleanser,” says Kathryn. “It leaves the skin looking glowing and fresh without feeling you’ve scrubbed too hard.” For a twice-a-week treatment, try Sanitas’ Pumpkin Enzyme Mask.
For more intense exfoliation, peels with glycolic and lactic acids help firm and slough skin. “Similar to an enzyme, glycolic dissolves the dead skin, but more intensely,” says Kathryn. She recommends the Astara Exfoliating Marine Treatment once or twice a week.
Similarly, the fruit acids in Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel will digest the dead skin, but penetrate deeper than enzymes. “Both of these will firm and tighten the skin, help reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines and wrinkles, and create a healthy glow,” says Kathryn.
No matter what, the more consistently you exfoliate, the better your other skin care products (especially moisturizers or serums) will work. And the same principles go for exfoliation on the rest of your body—try Alba Hawaiian’s Sea Salt Body Scrub on elbows, heels or anywhere else that needs a little softening.
Talk to a Pharmaca esthetician about your skin type and the exfoliation regimen that will work best for you.