Exfoliation Products

Written by Sarah Provost
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Exfoliation products tone, clarify and refresh the skin by gently removing the layer of dead cells that lie on the surface. This exposes the healthier cells below, resulting in brighter skin. Deeper levels of exfoliation can also reduce wrinkles, scarring and discoloration.

Exfoliation Products for Home Use

Anything that abrades the skin, no matter how little, has some exfoliation effect. Such mechanical buffing can be accomplished by a rough washcloth, facial scrubs, sponges, cleansing pads and soft brushes. Facial scrubs, which contain tiny granular particles, are very effective, especially those which are combined with enzymes to loosen and break up the layer of dead cells. Peel-off facial masks also effect some exfoliation, since a lot of the skin debris sticks to the mask and is removed with it.

There are also chemical exfoliation products available for home use. Fruit acids and alphahydroxy acid are common additives to over-the-counter facial creams. There are also stronger products such as Retin-A and Retinol, which are available by prescription. Any chemical exfoliator increases the risk of sun damage, so be sure to wear sunscreen consistently if you are using these products.

Chemical exfoliation products strong enough to reduce fine lines, scarring and discoloration are available in spas and clinics, but not appropriate for home use. These products effectively burn off the top layer of the epidermis, exposing the newer skin beneath. The deeper the peel, the longer the recovery period and the more aftercare is needed to prevent infection.

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