Youthful skin looks glowing and radiant. When the skin quality is healthy, it reflects the light and looks radiant and luminous. Exfoliants increase cell turnover, unclog pores, resulting in a more polished, smoother-looking, and more youthful-appearing skin. Exfoliation is very beneficial because it imparts almost an instant glow, is cost-effective, as well as being easy to perform.
There are two main types of exfoliants: chemical and physical. Hydroxy acids, also known as fruit acids, are the most used chemical exfoliants. There are two types of hydroxy acids: alpha and beta. Glycolic, lactic, and malic acids are the most common alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid is the most commonly used beta hydroxy acid.
Some fruit enzymes such as papain from papaya, bromelain from pineapple, and pumpkin extract have exfoliative properties as well. They have been shown in numerous studies to not only remove the uppermost layer of dead skin cells, but they can also decrease skin scaling and dryness.
Physical exfoliants can consist of microparticles that can cause immediate exfoliation of the uppermost skin layer. These microparticles mechanically slough off dead skin cells and unclog pores.
Here are my favorite exfoliants from head to toe:
Jan Marini Clean Zyme - this enzymatic cleanser contains papain, a proteolytic cleanser obtained from green, unripened papaya. I usually apply this on my dry skin, rub a little bit harder on my T-zone, leave on for 1-2 minutes then rinse with lukewarm water. This instantly leave my skin feeling smooth and polished.
Jan Marini Skinzyme Mask - also containing papain, this mask can exfoliate dull dead skin cells more intensively. I leave this on for about 20 minutes, perfect for when I am taking a long hot bath. After 20 minutes, I rub a little bit of the Clean Zyme and emulsify them together then rinse off. It contains calming ingredients such as antioxidant-rich safflower seed oil and honey. It also smells amazing! Makes me feel like I am really treating myself.
Jan Marini Multi Acid Resurfacing Pads - I am in love with this product! It is an exfoliant with Glycolic, Lactic, Mandelic, and Salicylic Acid. I use this about 3 times a week to get rid of the congestion around my nose and chin, leaving my skin baby soft after. It also has calming ingredients such as aloe, chamomile, and green tea extract, so it keeps your skin calm despite the acids. It comes in a thin pre-soaked pad that you apply on your skin and leave on for 3-20 minutes, depending on your skin sensitivity. As someone with very sensitive skin, I started with 2 minutes the first time I used it then gradually increased. I can now leave it on for about 20 minutes then wash off with cool water.
PRO TIP: when I am done using this on my face, I do a quick swipe on my neck and chest then rub the still wet pads on callused areas of my feet. This leaves them super smooth!
Epicuren Himalayan Superfruit Enzyme Polish - this luxurious blend of Pomegranate, Goji, Bilberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Acai, and Noni makes you feel like you are on vacation in the tropics. It is rich in vitamin C, trace minerals, protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and iron. I use this after cleansing and apply a dime size amount of product over entire face, neck, and décolleté, avoiding the eye and lip areas. Leave on for 2-10 minutes depending on how sensitive your skin is. Then, with wet fingertips, gently scrub in circular motions. Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry.
Nuxe De Miel Deliciously Nourishing Body Scrub - I have always loved the luxurious products from this French brand. This one does not disappoint. This body scrub has honey, sugar crystals, rice powder, and nourishing oils such as argan, shea, borage seed oil, and Vitamin E. It also has fruit acids from tomato and citrus fruits, leaving your skin looking nourished and visibly smoother. Perfect for even patients with Keratosis pilaris, AKA the chicken skin-like texture some patients have on their upper arms.
Baby Foot Original Exfoliating Foot Peel - this is probably one of the most gratifying things you can do for your feet. I like to do this peel a few times a year. This product has 16 natural extracts including lemon, sage, burdock root, chamomile, grapefruit that are scientifically formulated to exfoliate and moisturize at the same time. It also includes a small amount of salicylic acid to soften your feet and induce peeling. It comes in a kit with 2 booties, one for each foot. After I put the booties on, I put socks over them, then leave it on for an hour then rinse off. It takes about 3-7 days for the peeling to start. And when I say peeling, I mean PEELING. It’s truly amazing and gratifying!
One important thing of note when dealing with exfoliants, is vigilant sun protection, especially with increased cell turnover. Furthermore, UV-induced sun damage directly contributes to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which leads to wrinkles, as well as age spots and skin cancers.
As with any skincare regimen, I recommend consulting with a board-certified dermatologist or dermatology Physician Assistant with a thorough knowledge of skincare as well as cosmeceutical ingredients.
Written by: Paula Purpera
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