From as early as the 5th Century BC, the search for eternal youth was an obsession. Most notable is a Spanish explorer from the 16th Century named Juan Ponce de Leon, who popularized the hunt for the mystical Fountain of Youth, due to his desire for enhanced vigor and longevity.
Although Leon never truly found his "fountain", the quest for a magic potion is constantly in motion. From the moment we are old enough to care, we are obsessed with our image. Our skin in particular.
Youth is described by most as a "glow", a sort of transparency that only comes from youth itself. Consider a baby's skin for a moment. Pore-less, plump and just a hint of rosiness in all the right places. With the first sign of aging being a lack of radiance, how do we get that youthful glow back - and better yet, maintain it?
Your skin can shed 30,000 - 40,000 dead cells per minute, naturally. As we age, this natural turnover rate slows considerably and a skins cell cycle lengthens from 14 to 30 days. Think traffic jam of your skin's surface. These dead skin cells are what gets in the way of your radiance. Your moisturizer can not penetrate the skin and be absorbed to do its job. Your makeup looks artificial and mask-like. Skin looks gray, dull and dry.
Exfoliation is simply the removal of the oldest dead skin cells from the skin's outermost surface. Using multiple methods that are both physical and chemical speed up the skin cell turnover rate and provide tremendous improvement in the appearance of the skin.
Physical exfoliation methods involve scrubbing the skin with an abrasive. Microfiber cloths, sugars, salt, facial scrubs, brushes and pumice all fall into this category
Chemical exfoliation involves the use of products that contain acids (AHAs, BHAs) or enzymes that actually work to loosen the glue that hold dead skin cells together. This type of exfoliation is especially recommended for people with acne as it is not recommend to actively "scrub" a breakout as it may spread the bacteria that causes it in the first place.
As a true skincare addict would confess, nothing is like the feel of exfoliated skin. As an artist, I can immediately tell when a client incorporates exfoliation into her regimen. Therefore, I recommend a variety of BOTH physical and chemical methods on a daily basis.
Here are my absolute favorites that I have been using for years and one new treasure recently discovered:
1. Clinique Clarifying Lotion - My absolute desert island product. I have been a devotee for over 20 years. I use this in the morning after cleansing with a 100% cotton pad. It quickly sweeps away the top surface layer of skin to reveal a fresh and clean complexion. My favorite: #4
2. Body Brush- There are many different brushes available. Choose one's whose bristles are made with natural fibers. In circular motions working towards the heart, use on dry skin before showering. Skin is silky smooth and refreshed.
3. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula - A good friend of mine sent me this for my birthday. Within days, my slight acne was clear and skin looked toned and firm with a definite glow. I use my pads at night in lieu of the Clarifying Lotion.
4. Clarisonic Mia - If you don't have one, or something like it, get moving! Your skin will never quite feel as clean without it. Mine has lasted years and although I replace my head every 3 months, it is definitely worth the investment.
5. May Lindstrom Skin The Clean Dirt - Get ready for a treat...Not only is this entire product range handcrafted by May using carefully selected ingredients that are: Organic, wild crafted and cruelty-free, all of her formulas are proprietary, meaning she doesn't outsource. No short-cuts. And it's apparent! This particular exfoliating treatment is like a daily micro-dermabrasion from the best patisserie in Paris!
6. Coffee Body Scrub - This do it yourself recipe totally knocks out any store bought body scrub. Just the right amount of oomph and - bonus - its's 100% Natural and relatively inexpensive to whip up a batch. Click here for my recipe.
What's your favorite way to exfoliate? Share the deets! We all love a new potion.