We have returned from our vacations
and the children are back to school. Yes, summer
is over! It's time to put away swimsuits and
put on dressier clothing for the more formal events
of fall. And now that the suntan is fading, it's
also time to refresh your skin's glow for the
new season through a process called exfoliation.
Exfoliation—superficial skin peeling—is
a safe and proven method for removing layers of dead
cells to improve appearance and slow down the aging
process. Since the time of Cleopatra bathing in milk
and wine, this practice has moved from royalty to mainstream
consumers. Signs that your skin might need exfoliation
- dull appearance, no
life or glow
- surface of the skin looks dry
- skin feels thick and rough
to the touch
- blemish marks from recent breakouts
- more wrinkles than usual
There are a variety of techniques
and products used for exfoliation, but the two main
categories of peels are mechanical (scrubs
and chemical (acids and enzymes). The mechanical peels can be as simple
the skin with a washcloth, as thorough as a body
rejuvenation treatment at the salon, or as high-tech as micro-dermabrasion
The relatively harsh ingredients used for decades in chemical peels have
now been replaced by gentler fruit acids, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and
For chemical peels, the relatively harsh ingredients used for decades have
been replaced by gentler fruit acids, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and enzymes.
is a list of some of the most common acids and enzymes used as ingredients
in exfoliant products:
AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids):
Acid – Derived from sugar cane and easily
absorbed, it is excellent for acne or oily skin
cell regeneration. Not recommended for very
sensitive and dry skin.
Acid – Derived
from milk and hydrating, it promotes cell regeneration
and supports cell turnover.
Friendlier for dry skin.
Acid – Derived from apple, it
helps firm and tone, while providing antioxidants to the skin.
Acid – Derived
from grape, it is toning and rich in antioxidants.
Acid – Derived
from citrus, it is antiseptic, has antioxidants and supports capillaries.
Acid / Beta Acid – Derived
from wintergreen and birch bark, it is an antiseptic, drying and
promotes peeling, while supplying antioxidants. Normally
used for acne or oily skin.
Acid – Chemically
related to Retinoic Acid, it similarly supports and improves
the skin, without incurring
the photosensitivity and side effects
Papain – Derived
from the Papaya fruit, it softens keratin and removes
dead skin cells. Safe for sensitive skin.
Pumpkin – It
has high concentrations of vitamin A, Beta Carotene,
Zinc and Salicylic Acid, important antioxidants,
and it also promotes healing.
Bromelain – Extracted
from the Pineapple fruit, it smoothes and polishes
the skin and promotes cellular regeneration.
products designed for salon peels typically have
higher concentrations of active ingredients than
those sold for home use. In fact, some of the home
product formulas are too weak to produce any significant
results. Whether at home
or at a salon, the best results will be obtained
by following professional guidelines, proper technique,
and post-care, and selecting
products with the
Before trying either a mechanical
or a chemical peel, consider the following list
that suggest your
not be ready for
- recent burns
- many capillaries visible (skin
- skin feels more sensitive than
- planning activities with greater
- very delicate, sensitive
If your skin tends to be sensitive,
always try a patch test before using a new product.
after any exfoliation
treatment, your beautiful new skin will be
more vulnerable to environmental
factors including the sun's
UV rays. So, remember to apply protection!
Conscientious, daily use of a sunblock and moisturizer
is an absolute must following a peel.
RETURN TO PRACTICAL WISDOM