Why Do You Need to Exfoliate?

Exfoliating is an important step in your skincare routine, yet many people omit it completely. As a dermatologist in Columbia, Maryland, Dr. Melanie Adams recommends that patients of all ages add regular exfoliation to their skin care regimen. She shares some benefits and tips regarding how and why exfoliating is such an important step for keeping your skin looking and feeling its healthiest at every age.

Exfoliating brings new skin cells to the surface

Approximately every 30 days, your skin renews itself. As you age, this cell rejuvenation process slows down. Washing your face and moisturizing every day are important steps for maintaining a healthy glow, but if you’re skipping the exfoliation step, your skin may not be as vibrant as it could be.

When you exfoliate, you remove the dead cells from the surface of your skin to reveal the younger, fresher cells below. This way, your skin looks and feels more radiant at any age. Without exfoliation, dead skin cells pile up at the skin’s surface leaving the newer cells trapped below. Those dead skin cells not only prevent the newer ones from shining through, but they can also appear as dull, dry patches.

Over time, as your pores become clogged with dead skin, it often leads to blemishes and breakouts. Clogged pores may also prevent your moisturizer from being fully absorbed into your skin.

What exactly is exfoliation and how should you do it?

Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the epidermis (the topmost layer of your skin). Regular exfoliation encourages living skin cells from the dermis (lower layer of skin) to come up to the surface so your skin appears clearer, smoother, and brighter. You can exfoliate a couple of ways: with a scrub or a chemical solution.

Depending on your skin type, its condition, and sensitivities, you may want to use a scrub with smooth, round granules, or a chemical exfoliator that contains an active ingredient like alpha hydroxy acid, which breaks apart the top layer of dead skin cells. Most likely, you’ll need to use one type of exfoliator for the delicate skin on your face and another type that’s specifically formulated for your body.

How often is exfoliation recommended?

For most men and women, exfoliating two or three times a week is best, but it depends on several factors. If your skin is extra sensitive, you may need to exfoliate less, and if it is acne-prone, you may benefit from exfoliating more frequently.

Dr. Adams can help you select the best products and methods for exfoliating your particular skin type. She’ll also advise you regarding the number of times you should exfoliate each week.

Exfoliation has many benefits

In addition to promoting skin rejuvenation and a healthier glow, exfoliation comes with other benefits as well. It can help you age more beautifully, especially if your skin has become rougher and duller looking as you’ve gotten older. Exfoliating can keep you looking younger by transforming your lackluster skin into a softer, more radiant appearance.

Regular exfoliation can help prevent acne breakouts. When you keep your pores clean, dead skin cells and dirt have a harder time accumulating and causing blackheads and pimples. Teenagers and women of all ages who suffer from hormonal breakouts can benefit from the extra cleansing exfoliation provides.

If you have dry skin, exfoliating can help you absorb your moisturizer better. Many people invest in the most nourishing moisturizer they can afford, but if your skin can’t absorb it because of clogged pores, you’re losing out on the full benefits of the product. Additionally, regular exfoliation helps your skin absorb sunscreen so you’re better protected from sun exposure.

If you’re not exfoliating on a regular basis, you should be. Give our office a call or book a consultation online so Dr. Adams can answer all your questions and create a customized skin care treatment plan just for you.

Melanie Adams, MD, PA Melanie L. Adams, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist who has been in private, solo practice since September 2005. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and American Society of Dermatologic Surgery. Her areas of expertise include skin cancer, dermatology of ethnic skin, general dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology.

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