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Why you should exfoliate your skin
Impure skin, dark spots and a dull complexion? As time goes by, dead cells are deposited on the surface of the skin, along with sebum and various impurities, including those caused by environmental stresses such as air pollution. So what can we do to brighten up our face or get rid of those annoying spots that appeared after our last beach holiday?
The best treatment is exfoliation, a practice that should be included in your skincare routine for at least 8 good reasons:
- It makes the skin smoother and brighter;
- Lightens skin blemishes;
- Helps eliminate impurities such as pimples and blackheads;
- Increases cell turnover;
- Stimulates collagen production;
- Reduces surface wrinkles (anti-ageing effect);
- Reduces small skin scars (such as acne lesions);
- Improves the absorption of subsequent treatments and, consequently, their effectiveness.
The differences between mechanical and chemical exfoliation
Having clarified the benefits of exfoliation, it’s important to underline that there are two types: mechanical and chemical.
Mechanical exfoliation encourages the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin through a mechanical action such as
- konjac sponge;
These treatments stimulate the circulation and alleviate skin pallor, but are not suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Instead Chemical exfoliation is useful to treat localised hyperpigmentation, and it uses enzymes and acids, such as Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid and Citric Acid, to loosen the bonds of the skin cells in order to remove dead skin cells and impurities.
Compared to mechanical exfoliation, it works in greater depth for long-lasting results and it is more tolerable for sensitive or acne-prone skin.
What is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic Acid, which belongs to the family of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), organic acids of natural origin also known as “fruit acids”, is one of the most widely used exfoliating ingredients in cosmetics, even in the version reproduced in the laboratory by synthesis.
This acid, found in nature for example in beetroot, grapes and brown sugar, has the smallest molecular structure of all those in its family, which enables it to penetrate the surface layer of the skin most effectively.
How Glycolic Acid works
The entire skin surface is covered by a protective hydrolipidic skin film consisting of 95% lipids. Glycolic Acid acts on the upper epidermal layer, weakening the lipid-binding capacity that holds dead epithelial cells together. In this way it produces superficial exfoliation, accelerating cell turnover and giving smoothness and brightness.
Although chemical exfoliation is more tolerable for sensitive skin than mechanical exfoliation, attention must be paid to the % of Glycolic Acid contained in the product and the method of use must be carefully followed.
Products with concentrations of around 5% have a mainly moisturising action, while from concentrations of 10% onwards they begin to have exfoliating properties.
It’s important to know that Glycolic Acid is a photosensitising substance, so it’s preferable to perform it in the evening and, in the case of sun spots, before or after summer.
After chemical peeling, a slight discomfort, skin tightness, redness and tingling may be experienced, but these symptoms tend to disappear gradually over the following days.
The application of Glycolic Acid requires special care of the skin, which first of all needs to be intensely moisturised and, in addition to avoiding direct exposure to sunlight, a high sun protection cream should be applied for several weeks.