Every human has roughly the same number of skin cells as there are people in the United States. That's right -- around 300 million, and every minute we can shed up to 40,000 of those cells, which are in turn replaced by new cells [source: National Geographic]. That means we have the ability to completely recycle our skin once a week.
Exfoliation is a process that helps facilitate this recycling of skin cells. It does so by removing layers of dead skin, so new healthier cells can take their place. Due to the speed at which we shed our skin, it's a good idea to exfoliate a couple times a week to keep your cells fresh.
There are three different types of exfoliation: manual, enzyme or chemical. The most common and easiest is manual exfoliation. You can buy any number of exfoliating scrubs at your local grocery store. They're basically soaps that feel like they have tiny bits of sand in them. When used to scrub skin gently, these granules take away layers of dead skin, but aren't harsh enough to remove healthy skin cells, leaving the outer layer of our body's biggest organ shiny and new [source: 911 Skin].
Some people's skin is too sensitive for manual exfoliation. It can leave them red and sore. If this is the case for you, you might want to look into enzyme or chemical exfoliation. Enzymes are used as catalysts to help in exfoliation. Enzyme exfoliation usually involves some kind of lotion or mask. It helps to facilitate chemical reactions that dissolve dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliation works much the same way, separating dead skin cells so they fall away. Both enzyme and chemical exfoliation are recommended for people with acne [source: 911 Skin].
It's easy to see how exfoliating can help even out your skin tone. Many inconsistencies in your skin may be the result of dead skin cells that haven't been shed yet and exfoliation helps speed up that process. Making sure your outer layer of skin cells is healthy and new will help you look and feel better.
Read on to find out how moisturizing can help even out your skin tone.