To have a clear and smooth skin, exfoliation is an essential step. It is a beauty routine to be adopted as soon as possible since it allows to eliminate efficiently the dead cells accumulating on the surface of the skin. Thus, exfoliating the skin means freeing the pores to promote oxygenation of the skin and the evacuation of sebum. But that's not all, by detaching the dead cells from the epidermis, the absorption of moisturizing products and cell renewal will be promoted! Among exfoliating products, the choice is varied: natural exfoliating products, synthetic agents, exfoliating accessories or even chemical agents, they can all be used for exfoliation. However, it is necessary to adapt the technique according to the type of skin or the area in question, face or body...
An exfoliant is a cosmetic product with the purpose of eliminating excess dead cells present on the skin; but if you know those little whitish flakes that stagnate on the surface of the epidermis... Because of these, the skin appears drier, devitalized, dull and the pores, themselves, are clogged by the accumulation of dead cells, sebum and impurities. Clogged pores can lead to skin infection and consequently to inflammation, pimples and even ingrown hairs, depending on the area.It is then important to exfoliate the skin to free the skin pores and thus :
How is exfoliation practiced? Face, body, does each part of the body exfoliate the same way? How often should you exfoliate? Oily, combination, damaged or dry skin, same conditions?
Generally speaking, exfoliation is a process that should be done gently while respecting the top layer of the skin, the famous epidermis. Exfoliations that are too aggressive or too frequent damage the integrity of the skin barrier and thus leave the skin more fragile and sensitive to external aggressions... And there are some! It starts with your tap water whose composition and pH are not really adapted to our skin. The climate, whether it's the wind, the cold, the sun, all attack the skin, drying it out and dehydrating it... Not to mention the famous pollution and its batch of dust, impurities and other toxins that the skin absorbs and stores in its pores. This is why exfoliation must always be followed by a good moisturizing, one cannot go without the other!
The face as well as the body need to be exfoliated. And yes cell renewal and dead skin is a process that concerns the whole body. However, between the face and the body, certain distinctions must be made, as the skin on the face is often much more sensitive. It is important to respect your skin by choosing an exfoliating product adapted to the part of the body or face to be exfoliated.
To exfoliate the skin of the face, it is theskin type that you absolutely must consider. This one allows to determine on the one hand the choice of the exfoliant and on the other hand the frequency of exfoliation.
Example of use: make a homogeneous paste with Hamamelis hydrosol and Rhassoul clay. Exfoliate with your hands through a circular massage.
Example of use: mix in the palm of your hand vegetable oil and baking soda. Exfoliate with your hands through a circular massage.
Example of use: mix in the palm of your hand a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of sugar. Exfoliate with your hands through a circular massage or with an exfoliating glove.
Certain parts of the body such as the heels, knees or even elbows react to the daily trauma they undergo. This results in thicker and harder skin... In this case, exfoliation can be done daily until improvement using mechanical exfoliating agents and accessories such as gloves or exfoliating sponges. Pumice stone is also a possible solution, more adapted to heels, used on the skin previously softened and moistened in warm water.
The elimination of dead cells and impurities can be effective via a mechanical process, that is, by applying an exfoliant possessing agranular texture in a circular massage. Mechanical exfoliation reactivates the blood microcirculation thanks to the granulometry of the exfoliant rubbing the skin. In this way, it participates in the oxygenation of skin tissue and cell renewal. The mechanical exfoliants are different depending on the nature and size of the grain. They can come in the form of powders of fruit pits or seeds, salt, sugar, clays, activated vegetable charcoal, baking soda, etc... Mechanical exfoliants can also come in the form of accessories, we think here of exfoliating gloves and sponges.
Skin exfoliation can also be done via a chemical and/or enzymatic action. For so-called superficial peels, chemical-type exfoliants act by destabilizing the adhesion of dead cells to the skin and their cohesion with each other. Thus, their elimination is facilitated. They are generally used for the face.
Peels can be superficial or deeper depending on the nature of the exfoliant used and/or its dosage. However, this process requires several steps: preparation of the skin, peeling in several sessions, and post-peeling. These different steps require the advice of health professionals such as a dermatologist.
Among them, we find vegetable powders, seeds or fruit seeds, clays or ingredients that you inevitably have at home: salt, sugar, baking soda ... These are perfect ingredients, 100% pure and natural, to make yourself a scrub. They can be various and varied and allow all to exfoliate the skin, either of the face, or of the body, or both according to their granulometry.
- Apricot kernel powder
- Rose powder
- Coconut pulp
- Pomegranate seeds
- Almond powder
- Plum stone powder
- Grape powder
- Strawberry seeds
- Walnut shell powder
- Bamboo beads
- Bamboo sap powder
- Maple sap
- White clay kaolin
- Green clay
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Active vegetable carbon
Some will be softer and reserved for facial skin for example white clay kaolin, and others, such as walnut shell powder or sugar, have coarser grains for a powerful body scrub for example.
The criteria to check:
Until 2018, nothing prevents us from avoiding cosmetic products whose name "Polyethylene" appears in the list of ingredients, the famous INCI list.
The famous hair glove or kessa is a glove with a rough surface used to make a scrub, traditionally in the East with black soap. Originally, this glove was made from animal hair, but nowadays it is more made of viscose from plant fibers. Moistened, the horsehair glove or kessa is used as a body scrub preferably or delicately on the face.The one that combines exfoliation and ecology: the Konjac sponge. It is made from the roots of the plant of the same name found mostly in South Asia. It is then 100% natural and biodegradable. It is used both on the body and the face, obviously in a softer way on the facial skin. Konjac sponges sometimes combine clays, vegetable charcoal or natural extracts in their composition.
Fruit acids are molecules naturally found in fruits widely sought after for their chemical skin exfoliating action. They exist in the most well-known form called AHA for Alpha Hydroxy Acids or alpha-hydroxy acids. These are carboxylic acids i.e. molecules that include a carboxyl group (-COOH). The main carboxylic acids, mostly derived from fruits or plants, are :
Obviously, as acids, they allow to rebalance the pH of a solution for example. But it is for their exfoliating property that they are interesting here... The links between dead cells or corneocytes depend on several mechanisms. They are influenced firstly by the links between the corneocytes themselves and secondly by the environment present between the corneocytes called intercorneocyte.
The corneocytes have chemical species in their cell membrane, some of which are negatively charged and others positively charged. Thus, forces of attraction and connection are established between these opposite charges, between the various corneocytes. In the intercorneocyte space, enzymes intervene whose role is to fix the groups, linked to the negative charges, on the surface of the corneocytes. And, finally, it is at this level that the AHAs intervene! They will in fact compete with these famous enzymes. Thus, who says competition, says substitution of the enzymes and who says substitution of the enzymes says zero fixing of the cells between them. The cohesion between the dead cells is weakened, the desquamation is then facilitated! Tada!
AHAs intervene at a second level by influencing the composition of the intercorneocyte space (between the corneocytes). The acidic pH of AHAs dissolves components that serve as attachments between cells. This is another way to detach the corneocytes from the epidermis...
Studies have also demonstrated a certain capacity of AHAs to regulate the hydration of the epidermis. Depending on the acid, water retention capacities have been observed: they have real water-binding properties that allow them to increase the hydration of the epidermis.
Certain scientific studies have highlighted other very promising effects of AHAs, encouraging further studies on this subject. To date, AHAs have clearly played a beneficial role in cell renewal, improving skin elasticity and reducing the brown spots that often appear with aging.
Fruit enzymes are exfoliating agents generally associated with fruit acids. The best known and used are :
Their mode of action? It is the proteolytic action of enzymes that is interesting here. Proteoly-what? If we break down this word it simply means to lyse proteins, that is, to dissolve proteins by the action of an enzymatic agent. Fruit enzymes will then dissolve proteins but, which ones? You know the famous keratin that you hear about at every turn? Well, it's a protein. It largely gives the epidermis and therefore the skin its protective function. The dead cells that we want to exfoliate are filled with keratin. Under the action of the fruit enzymes, the dead cells will lose cohesion and detach one after the other: this is the enzyme-accelerated desquamation.