What is Exfoliation

What is Exfoliation

Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin ( or the stratum corneum). You probably know that our skin cells are constantly renewing themselves, as they move up from the base of the epidermis  (stratum basal)  towards the surface they gradually become older, more keratinised and flatter until they are ready to die and shed away.  These dead skin cells have a tendency to hang around the surface giving your skin a dull, lackluster appearance.

Why should I Exfoliate ?

  • Not only will exfoliation help to smooth, hydrate and decongest the skin it also allows better product penetration.
  • Healthy skin depends on an efficient cell renewal process, this is called desquamation.
  • Stimulating desquamation with exfoliation will trigger cell renewal in the stratum basal and push fresh healthy cells toward the surface, this gives the skin a more plumped, luminous appearance.

There are two types of exfoliation.

Physical Exfoliation, when friction or abrasion are applied cells are buffed away, results vary depending on the amount of friction and the nature of the abrasive used. It’s important to note that excessive abrasion can result in sensitivity.

Chemical Exfoliation,  using active ingredients to dissolve the inter-cellular glue in the lipid barrier. The results and strengths of all chemical exfoliants differ slightly and it is important to use one specific to your skin concerns.

Effective exfoliation for your skin concern.

All skin can benefit from exfoliation, but it is important to know what will work best for your skin concerns and goals. Consultation with a professional skin therapist ( like me ) is advised when choosing a new product.

Sensitive Skin, the barrier of this skin type is often damaged and can be prone to inter-cellular gaps, ingredients can, at times penetrate too quickly leading to inflammatory responses. We need to be cautious and gentle with our choice of exfoliants here, Daily Microfoliant or Daily Milkfoliant are excellent for sensitive skin with a damaged barrier.

Dehydrated Skin, the lack of moisture in dehydrated skin can lead to inter-cellular gaps and moisture evaporation. Here we need ingredients that will take away the old skin cells and stimulate cell renewal so the cells full of moisture can make their way to the surface. The hydroxy acids in Daily Superfoliant are excellent here.

Ageing Skin,  Cell renewal slows down as we age, this means that cells are retained on the surface of the skin for longer getting duller and drier. Ingredients like retinol are invaluable here, not only will retinol exfoliate our skin it will inhibit collagen breakdown too. Dynamic skin retinol serum is the one for this job.

Acne or congested skin, acnec skins produce thicker sebum compared to most skin. This thick, sticky sebum sitting on the skin surface can cause the dead skin cells to cling to the surface and congest the follicles leading to breakouts. Here we need to look at chemical ingredients like salicylic acid to dissolve all the dead cells that are blocking up pores.  You will find salicylic acid in Age Bright Clearing Serum or Breakout Clearing Liquid Peel from our Clear Start line.

Hyperpigmantation, removing the highly pigmentated cells that have accumulated at the skin surface can give the skin a lighter, brighter appearance. Provided your skin has a healthy barrier I’d recommend Rapid Reveal Peel for pigmentation, if it is sensitive or dehydrated start with something like Daily Microfoliant.

Dry Skin, Over-moisturizing of dry skin  will just stick all the old cells together and lead to dull uneven skin and also slow down effective product penetration. Again depending on the health of the barrier with dry skin I would recommend anything from Dermalogica Thermafoliant to Daily Superfoliant or Dynamic skin retinol serum.


How often should I exfoliate?

There is no definite answer here because no two skins have the same needs, again I’d recommend getting advice from a professional skin therapist. However, I would encourage everybody to be exfoliating at least once or twice a week. Little and often is much safer and more effective than aggressively exfoliating once a month.

Check out my full list of Dermalogica exfoliants here and remember to get in touch with any questions you might have.

Thanks for reading





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