In aesthetic treatments, one of the key ways to keep skin healthy and youthful is skin resurfacing. Why is this? And what’s the difference between resurfacing and exfoliation? Let’s reveal…
When we think about skin resurfacing, we probably have visions of dramatic CO₂ laser resurfacing… pretty intense, huh? But skin resurfacing is, essentially, exfoliation – the removal of skin cells – and the intensity can range from a mild, gentle exfoliating treatment to an intense chemical peel or CO₂ ablation.
What is resurfacing aka exfoliation?
Exfoliation is a natural process performed by our skin. Skin cells are created in the deeper layers then they migrate upwards, maturing as they rise and performing their vital functions to keep our skin healthy. When they reach the surface, they die and slough off, and the whole cycle begins all over again.
When we’re young, this skin cell turnover happens at a fast rate, over about 28 days, which keeps the skin looking fresh and radiant.
But as our metabolic processes start slowing down from about age 30, this process of skin cell renewal slows down. It also impacts the rejuvenation of skin cells and the production of collagen, both of which have an effect on the elasticity and appearance of the skin.
This is when we can give our skin a helping hand.
But why do we need to exfoliate?
The reason exfoliation is an important part of the recommended skin care routine is because it is very effective in removing those dead skin cells that can leave a dull, uneven and lacklustre skin tone.
If your skin is prone to oiliness, these dead skin cells can also clog your pores and lead to blackheads and pimples, so exfoliation is also recommended for teens who need to keep their pores clear.
Exfoliation also enhances the absorption of skin care ingredients as it clears away surface debris. Regular exfoliation further stimulates the skin, which increases cell turnover and production of collagen.
Pick your exfoliation
Broadly speaking, we can separate exfoliation into two different categories – physical and chemical exfoliation.
Physical exfoliation removes dead cells from the skin mechanically: this can be by means of massaging a scrub that contains small granules carefully on the skin, using microdermabrasion or a resurfacing laser.
Chemical exfoliation breaks down the bonds between the dead cells and the living skin using a chemical solution (such as a peel), causing them to flake off.
Because exfoliation can have such a noticeable effect on our skins, skin-care professionals (medical and therapists alike) recommend a medical or professional exfoliation, and follow up at home with maintenance exfoliation using a medical skin care range.
Medical skin treatments such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion remove dead skin on the skin’s surface as well as stimulating collagen production in the skin’s deeper layers after the treatment.
Chemical peels vary greatly in strength, ranging from superficial peels to more invasive peels. Skin care therapists are qualified to give superficial peels and medium to deep peels should be performed under medical supervision, as stronger and more aggressive peels exfoliate more deeply. Deeper peels will also result in some downtime as they make cause extreme flaking and redness.
It is very important to have an assessment by a trained professional to determine what kind of peel is suitable for your skin condition and the results you wish to achieve. A skin care professional should also administer the correct chemical peel as not all skin types and conditions require the same level of treatment, and it can be a dangerous procedure if not applied correctly.
Microdermabrasion is a treatment where the skin is gently polished with crystals, lifting dead skin cells off the surface of the skin, leaving the skin smoother, softer and more radiant.
At the Renewal Institute, we offer various skin resurfacing solutions packages, where various levels and forms of exfoliation are combined with suitable and complementary treatments. These are specifically tailored according to your skin and budget requirements, to ensure best results.
To find out more about the different solutions that include exfoliation, or to make an appointment to discuss your particular needs with your aesthetic doctor, visit Skin Renewal on www.skinrenewal.co.za or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).
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