Skin exfoliation is often thought of as an activity that you have to do to keep your skin looking youthful. However, exfoliation is also a natural process for your skin to remove its old cells and stimulate the formation of new replacement cells. In other words, your skin exfoliates itself. Scientists even have a special term for this natural exfoliation process – desquamation.
Desquamation often slows down or becomes patchy. Inadequate desquamation leads to dry or blemished skin. Dry skin looks flaky. Blemished skin may include acne, clogged pores, redness, or skin spots. All of these conditions can benefit from actively exfoliating your skin to give it the youthful, glowing appearance that it should have.
Herbal skin care products are particularly powerful for enhancing desquamation. The key is to use natural skin care products that provide deep cleansing that is non-irritating.
Removing Dead Skin Cells
You may not realize that the outer layer of your skin consists entirely of dead skin cells. You are literally covered with them! Normally they have been dead for at least a month. They form a protective layer against damage by microbial infection and by environmental toxins, including overexposure to UV light. Healthy skin sheds millions of dead skin cells each day. Skin shedding maintains an important balance between this protective layer and the formation of new cells to replace the dead ones.
This natural balance gets off kilter when the shedding process slows down due to external damage or aging. Such an imbalance causes your normally protective layer of dead skin cells to thicken beyond what is necessary, which leads to dull-looking skin. This is when taking an active role in exfoliating your skin becomes important for restoring the cycle of shedding and regeneration.
Exfoliating Dry Skin
By the way, skin may begin drying out before it becomes obviously flaky-looking. A simple home test will tell you whether you are forming surface dry skin cells. Take a small piece of clear tape and rub it gently on your forehead. Once you carefully remove it, take a look for any little pieces of flaky skin on the tape. They indicate dead skin cells that are not being removed fast enough by healthy desquamation.
Exfoliation for removing dry skin cells is particularly important before using rehydrating creams. Rehydrating dead cells would make no sense, so they should be removed beforehand. Winter is the season when exfoliation is particularly important, since skin dries out more in cold air that holds less moisture. Even indoor air can be super-dry when it is heated by a natural gas furnace.
Exfoliating Blemished Skin
Skin cell buildup can clog pores, trap oil in follicles, enable acne-causing bacteria, and cause patchy redness. Any of these conditions benefit tremendously from an active exfoliating program with herbal formulas. A mixture of herbs that cleanse, disinfect, and reduce inflammation will invigorate skin in preparation for applying moisturizing and anti-aging products.
Care must be taken to avoid ingredients that are overly drying or inflammatory. These include mixtures of strong anti-bacterial agents and of inflammatory organic acids. Particularly avoid substances such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA; e.g., glycolic acid) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA; e.g., salicylic acid), since these are strong oxidants. They may temporarily reduce wrinkles, although they do so by inflaming cells to make them puff up to look smooth.
Reversing Skin Wrinkling
As the skin’s natural desquamation slows, the accumulation of dry skin cells creates a wrinkled appearance. This is when herbs that promote the structural proteins, collagen and elastin, in the lower levels of the epidermis can trick the skin into acting young again. Using an all-natural exfoliating formula, such as the Exfoliating Scrub by Jadience Herbal Formulas, followed by Jadience’s Vitality Anti-Aging Serum, is a wonderful approach for doing exactly that.