Skin Exfoliation

Written by Serena Berger
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Exfoliation is the process of removing dead cells from the skin's surface. Dead skin cells can make your skin appear dull and colorless. They can also be rough to the touch, and can be partially responsible for whiteheads, pimples, and acne because they block pores, causing oil and pollutants to get stuck and form blemishes.

Cosmetic Exfoliation Products

There are many different cosmetic products which can exfoliate your skin. Some are made for delicate facial skin, while others are made for rougher and thicker areas like knees, elbows, or feet. In some cases, exfoliation is done by tiny crystals which scrub off dead skin. In other cases, chemicals can dissolve or strip away the cells, revealing healthy skin underneath.

You shouldn't run into many problems exfoliating oily or normal skin, but you have to be careful exfoliating dry skin. This is not to say that you shouldn't, because the flakes and dullness which accompany dry skin are often a primary reason you want to exfoliate. Chronic dryness, however, is not a superficial issue--so when you exfoliate, the skin which is exposed will also be dry, sensitive, and prone to being scratched by the exfoliation process. Often chemical exfoliation is kinder to dry skin than exfoliation with crystals.

The extreme versions of skin exfoliation with crystals are microdermabrasion and dermabrasion. Chemical peels like TCA, AHA, or phenol are the extreme ways of exfoliating chemically. All of these procedures are performed by plastic surgeons and have dramatic results (as well as lengthy recovery time, in the cases of dermabrasion and TCA or phenol), but if you don't want or need such an extreme treatment, you can look to the exfoliating cleansers or creams from top brand names in cosmetics and skin care.

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