It probably seems obvious that most organs in the body are quite busy. But would it surprise you to learn that skin -- your body's largest organ -- is also very active? While we don't usually think of it in the same way we would the heart, lungs or kidneys, skin has a big job; it helps protect our bodies from the outside world. And to do so, it must constantly regenerate its own cells. Considering the average adult sheds up to 50,000 dead cells every minute, that's a big job.
While cell regeneration is an important process, it isn't a perfect one. Skin cells that don't slough off remain on the skin and can clog pores. This sometimes leads to skin issues like breakouts and dull appearance. Fortunately, you can help your skin do its job better by exfoliating on a regular basis.
Exfoliating simply involves rubbing tiny particles on your face to scrape away dead skin. These particles can be found in specially formulated face washes and scrubs designed for exfoliation.
Once you've selected a product, follow these tips to make sure you exfoliate in a way that helps, not harms, your skin:
Be gentle. Rough scrubbing can irritate your skin.
If you have normal skin, exfoliate twice a week. Sensitive skin should be scrubbed less often, whereas oily skin can handle more frequent exfoliation.
Consider a non-scrub exfoliant. Some people find exfoliating scrubs to be too harsh for their skin. If this has happened to you, you might want to consider a chemical exfoliant that contains glycolic acid or salicylic acid.
Don't exfoliate everywhere. Avoid the skin around your eyes; it's far too delicate for a scrub or a chemical exfoliant. However, exfoliating your lips with a scrub can help get rid of dry flakes.
Monitor your progress. The goal of exfoliation is to improve your skin. Ideally, it will give your face a fresh glow. If, on the other hand, your skin becomes red and irritated, you're exfoliating too roughly or too often -- or, perhaps, you need to switch exfoliants.
Exfoliation is only one part of a successful skin care routine. To learn more about how to create and maintain healthy, beautiful skin, keep reading for lots more information.
- Bruno, Karen. "Women's Skin Care for Your Face." WebMD. Aug. 10, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 28, 2009) http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/advances-skin-care-9/women-face-skin-care
- Health. "Exfoliating 101: How to Let Fresh, Radiant Skin Shine Through." Feb. 20, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 14, 2009) http://living.health.com/2008/02/22/exfoliating-101/
- Markey, Sean. "20 Things You Didn't Know About … Skin." Discover Magazine. Feb. 6, 2007. (Accessed Sept. 28, 2009) http://discovermagazine.com/2007/feb/20-things-skin/