Exfoliation in cosmetology is a cosmetic technique aimed at improving skin's appearance by removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Removing excess dead skin cells can reveal the younger and healthier-looking skin underneath. Exfoliation is most often achieved through either mechanical or chemical means.
Chemical; Chemical exfoliants include scrubs containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, fruit enzymes, citric acid, or malic acid which may be applied in high concentrations by a dermatologist, or in lower concentrations in over-the-counter products.
Mechanical; Mechanical exfoliants include micro-bead facial scrubs, crushed almond shells, sugar or salt crystals, pumice, and abrasive cloths such as loofahs. These facial scrubs are generally available in over-the-counter products and applied by the user.
Benefits; Exfoliation is also designed to aid rejuvenation of the skin and prevent undesirable conditions such as acne scarring or ingrown hairs.
The term is commonly used as a part of the day-to-day skin care routine. The cosmetic procedures dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are both extreme cases of exfoliation where the surface layer of skin is removed as if by sanding. It is important to exfoliate skin twice a week only, unless it is a daily exfoliator. Be gentle with the skin, do not press down hard, lightly stroke it across the face. Use a gentle exfoliation with smaller grains to prevent irritation, never exfoliate straight after shaving, however it is beneficial to exfoliate the beard to prevent ingrown hairs and it also lifts the beards up, providing a closer shave.