Is combination skin really a combination? According to the Merriam-Webster…
You’ve heard it time and time again: if you want radiant, soft, youthful skin, you’d better be sure to exfoliate. If you follow Vine Vera’s blogs especially, it’s incredibly unlikely you’ve never heard some variation of this before, and we’ve done our best to explain exactly why this is important on more than one occasion.
But we really can’t overstate the importance of regular exfoliation, so we’re going to do it again. More specifically, though, we’re dedicating an entire article to explaining, in no uncertain terms, exactly why exfoliation is damned important for you to have the best skin you can. Whether you’ve never really bothered with exfoliation or already do it regularly, it is always helpful to remind oneself of why we do the things we do, and how it helps. As such, strap in and keep reading, because we’re about to give you a crash course on the importance of exfoliation.
Exfoliation in a Nutshell
While the full rationale and method behind exfoliation wouldn’t really fit in a nutshell—and why would you want to stuff it in one, anyway? Nuts belong in nutshells, not skincare practices (although admittedly the mental image of a squirrel cracking open a nut to find a tiny book inside with the collected wisdom of exfoliation is certainly an amusing one)—it’s good to get a little “101” explanation in here so we can get our bearings.
Exfoliation is the practice of using a substance referred to henceforth as the “exfoliant” to remove dull skin. The exfoliant is applied to your skin, and either allowed to sit for awhile, or vigorously massaged into your skin (it depends on the type of exfoliant) and ultimately washed off. This practice agitates and removes dead, dying, and damaged skin cells from the top layers of your epidermis, and exposes younger layers of skin underneath, which have yet to be marred by the stressors of daily life, and are therefore much more youthful and radiant looking, and definitely softer and more tender.
Exfoliants come in two varieties: chemical and physical. A physical exfoliant contains little beads or granules that physically rub against the dead skin cells and force them off. A chemical exfoliant contains a compound—like, for example, glycolic acid—that penetrates a few epidermal layers and causes a reaction in your skin that triggers the release of the skin cells in those layers. Ultimately both accomplish the same result, but have pros and cons.
So Why is it Important?
In short, exfoliation is important because skin cells don’t live forever. In fact, hardly any of the cells in your body do. Even if you eat an incredibly healthy, antioxidant-rich diet, the vast majority of your body cells do age and die, and are replaced by new cells, graciously supplied by your body through mitosis, a.k.a. cell division. It’s just how it works.
The problem is that while the natural way of things will eventually shed your dead skin cells, it doesn’t happen immediately or all at once, and is generally a piecemeal process, meaning that without your help, your face will generally remain dull and ashy until you do something about it, and that’s where exfoliation comes in. Exfoliation essentially accelerates what your body was eventually going to do anyway, and does it all at once, leaving you with consistently radiant skin, when done regularly.