EXFOLIATION...WHAT IS IT?!?
The word exfoliate comes from the Latin word exfoliare- which literally means "to strip off leaves". It's actually fairly simple as it involves removing the older and dead skin cells on the outside surface of your skin and can be done with chemicals or by mechanical means. The Egyptians used wine mixed with tartaric acid as its active ingredient for example, as a type of chemical exfoliation method. Exfoliation has also been used for hundreds of years in most of Asia as well.
THE 5 BEST WAYS TO EXFOLIATE:
This process uses a medium that is usually mechanical for exfoliation of the outermost layer of the skin. There are 2 parts: the materials used like diamond flakes or crystals and then the machine that provides suction to help aid in lifting up the skin. Although the procedure is considered non-invasive and be performed on your own in your home, it is recommended that a licensed professional perform the procedure. This ensures that the procedure is done properly and you will end up with the best equipment the best results!
It's considered to be fairly painless and usually no anesthetics are needed for microdermabrasion. It is however sometimes compared to a mild sunburn type feeling or as though a cat was licking the skin?! Personally, I've never had the procedure done, but I have friends that have and they have relayed that it doesn't feel very wonderful- either during or after the getting it done. The procedure is great for hyperpigmentation, diminishing fine lines, acne, and some scaring!
Some people may experience some dryness, sensitivity to the sun, and very rare bruising that is temporary in the areas that were treated. Very little if any possible side effects of this procedure make it my top choice though- it's highly effective too and the results are truly something that you can see and feel. It's not going to be cheap either in most cases- anywhere from $100-$200 a treatment! :/ You do however get what you pay for with microdermabrasion- results!
These are generally considered to be chemical in nature and can contain: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, fruit enzymes, and citric or malic acid. They can usually be applied in larger quantities and concentrations can be higher as well! AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA's (beta hydroxy acids) can be used to as prime ingredients in these scrubs; these chemicals work by loosening the dead skin cells "glue" that binds them together and allows them to be easily washed away! This method is excellent for those that are acne-prone, like myself and are also safe for daily usage if a mild scrub :)
This tool is just an awesome addition to anyone's beauty arsenal! It's very affordable as well and is 100% natural as it's made from Japanese Konjac fibers of the Konnyaku/Konjac plant. They are usually dark black or reddish in color, due to the plant's natural coloring. They are relatively new in the US, but they've been popular in Japan and many parts of Asia for centuries!
The great thing about this sponge, is that it will provide excellent exfoliation and do it ever so gently! Even those with very sensitive skin can use this product on a daily basis with no issues. It won't scratch the skin, but manages to wash away dirt and oil that are trapped deep into the skin! It will also leave your skin feeling SO soft- you will notice an immediate difference in smoothness and overall skin texture after your first usage with this sponge.
I have one of these sponges and it really has been a great addition to my beauty staples! I hang it to dry on the provided string that loops through the sponge itself. It strangely dries into this hard little black rock-type looking item, but once the water hits the sponge again it fluffs right up into its nice and soft self once again! The only downside about this product is that it's only manufactured in Japan, China, and South Korea. This means you should ensure that what you are getting is originated from those countries or you may not be getting the genuine product.
This may be one of the most painful methods that I have on the list- but it IS also very effective. I would NOT recommend this for those that have sensitive skin as I do. It IS very good for those that are very acne prone or scaring and rough skin texture. Most of us might think of hair removal when waxing comes to mind, but it also removes the uppermost layer of the skin too!
What waxing reveals beneath is softer, fresher, newer skin! You do want to be careful with this method as well, since it can cause more irritation for some and even hyperpigmentation too! This is definitely the opposite result that you are looking for so I would really recommend this option as a result for really acne-prone skin or scaring as I stated above.
This is a newer product out on the market that I recently got the option to try and I wanted to share my thoughts in addition to adding it to my list of top 5 for exfoliation :) One of the main reasons why I wanted Exfolimate to be part of my list is because it really DOES WORK! Now that being said, it's not a cure-all product and isn't perfect...I wouldn't go in expecting this beauty tool to solve all of your skin's acne/breakout and texture issues. BUT, it's a great tool to use in combination with your beauty routine and you will start to see a difference right away.
Firstly, the product does look a little different I will admit. I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at when it arrived. The way that it's packaged I felt didn't really convey what it was or what it did?! I also had some trouble getting it out of the packaging as well and ended up dropping the smaller Exfolimate tool for my face, on the floor- in the first 5 seconds I managed to get it open! Luckily I was on a carpeted area in the house so the "blade" did not get damaged.
The product actually comes with two different sized items: one is a small size for your face and the other is a much larger size for your body. It's ergonomically made to fit in your hand well and I did find that the design was fairly good as I was able to hold the tool quite easily! Both Exfolimate tools come with a cord that can be attached and looped through; this gives you the option of hanging elsewhere while no in use or having from your neck while in the shower for example (as packaging suggests) I wasn't able to use the cord to hang around my neck as both cords provided were the same length and were too short.
I recommend using this tool while your skin is wet, as the instructions also suggested! If you don't, you may notice that you do more harm that good- the tool doesn't properly and smoothly slide over your skin and when it does, it's doing it dry! Imagine shaving absolutely dry with absolutely no aid whatsoever- not even water!
Once I wet my face, I also kept with the provided instructions and used a 90 degree angle while slowly and smoothly sliding across my skin. It's best to do this is in small section of your face and lightly but firmly stretching out the skin when making strokes will keep the tool from "bumping" along and causing irritation. I found this to be the best technique for the tool and seemed to work the best!
After a couple of uses and I was able to get the technique down on how to use Exfolimate, I could really see and feel the difference. I did notice that the tool does cause some slight irritation no matter how you use it, so I do recommend using it at night before you go to bed! As soon as I was finished with the tool, I rinsed it off with warm water and hung it to dry :) Then I followed my usual skin care routine with my toner, serum, and moisturizer and/or nightcream.
What it really does for your skin is open up your pores, help clear away the surface and slightly deeper dirt, and as a result- leaves your skin feeling cleaner, softer, and smoother! Your beauty products and makeup will also go on easier as I noticed this after first using Exfolimate. There's the added bonus of the body tool too! This is perfect for some the difficult areas that are hard to reach and for the areas that are breakout prone.
This tool is SUPER affordable too- and it will probably last forever if you take care of it. I would suggest keeping it from getting banged around very much at all- or let it fall on the floor as I shared above, or you may regret it. This is probably a negative about the product for some, as the blade is not covered at all and exposed to being damaged. If it is damaged in any way, I would throw it out or you might end up with a VERY unpleasant result on your skin! The blade is NOT very sharp in that regards, but putting a nick in this type of tool would leave you with a possible tear or your skin, irritation, or worse!
Overall, I would recommend giving this tool a try! It's affordable, fairly easy to master, and the irritation from this method is much less than some of the other options for exfoliation! The down-time is also much less, with really only a night's rest being needed to "recover" from using the tool. Give Exfolimate a try if you're in the market for an easy-to-use exfoliation option!