The Science Behind Exfoliation

In an earlier article we gave you the 411 on exfoliator types, suggestions and tips to keep in mind—but if you don’t know why it’s so important, you probably won’t bother adding it into your regimen. I know for a fact that most people in my circle are not exfoliating regularly and it’s doubtful that some have even exfoliated once this year, so let’s dive into just what exfoliation is so you can get started today.


Exfoliation, plain and simple, is the removal of dead skin cells from the epidermis. This technique to maintain healthy skin is, according to rumor, to have been created by the Ancient Egyptians who had a concept of exfoliation by applying masks, minerals, and alabaster particles. But there are many more methods and products in modern times that have been developed to cater to the ranging sensitivity of facial and body skin.


Exfoliation is now acknowledged as a vital part of every skincare routine because of the results it provides when done regularly. We shed skin cells naturally, but as we get older we need a little exfoliation to fully remove the dead cells. The glue-like intercellular cement holding the cells together becomes thicker, resulting in a build-up in the layers of skin cells and making the skin-sloughing process harder to accomplish. These dead skin cells need to be eliminated in order for the regeneration of new skin cells – so removal by exfoliation will brush them away, clearing the surface.

Removing these dead skin cells means that you can uncover new ones, which will leave your skin feeling much softer and smoother in appearance.  A manual exfoliation stimulates blood flow, which may leave your skin looking temporarily flushed, but means you will wake up with a more youthful glow to your skin and a smoother texture. Also, the removal of dead skin cells will help to prevent the clogging of pores—meaning less blackheads and breakouts—and because pores appear larger when they are clogged, regular exfoliation can therefore really help in reducing the size of pores too.


Now that you know why you should be exfoliating, here are some final tips (don’t forget, we have a whole in-depth article on the differences in exfoliation types if you need it!):


  1. You can exfoliate your face, body, feet and hands—nearly anywhere you have skin.
  2. Make sure to be gentle, and exfoliate in circular movements. Be sure to not exfoliate too vigorously—you don’t want to hurt or excessively rub at the skin.
  3. Don't forget to moisturize your face and body, both after exfoliation and on a regular basis. The results of exfoliation will last longer and it will
    help to prevent your skin from becoming dry and flaky.