Monday, September 17, 2012
Are scrubs really good for all skin types?
Exfoliation is a process of removing dead cells from the surface of the skin and is particularly important to maintain skin health. Human skin normally replaces old dead cells on the surface by new young cells that come up from the deep dermis. Without exfoliation, dead cells tend to get deposited on skin surface clogging pores, thereby producing blackheads and acne. Thus, exfoliation has been practised by cultures from thousands of years ago and this has been the primary method of removing dirt and dead cells from skin to prevent acne and other skin infections.
Exfoliations can be achieved by physical or chemical methods. Physical manouevres involve manually rubbing off the dirt and dead cells by friction. This can be achieved by using scrubs which contain micro particles that with manual rubbing dislodge dead cells from the skin surface. Methods like microdermabrasion practised by aestheticians also rely on the same friction to clear of layers of dead cells from the skin. However, people with acne or inflamed skin actually do not benefit much from such procedures. In fact, they end up with more severe skin rashes and acute acne conditions as a result of excessive skin irritations produced by friction. Thus, scrubs that are popular for use with acne-prone skin (good examples are apricot scrub or walnut shell scrub) actually do more harm than good. Recent inventions in skin care products have replaced manual scrubbing by sonic facial brush that works electrically producing vibrations and users can can choose different brush heads from delicate to less gentler ones to scrub their face. This procedure although produced significantly good results for some resistant (on the thicker side) skin types, has been a disaster on the sensitive skin types. People having acne or more severe skin condition like rosacea should never use sonic face brush, as the most delicate brush can also damage or rupture inflamed skin and exacerbate the acne situation.
It is no denying the fact that in order to prevent acne, exfoliation is indeed needed. However, in case of sensitive skins types or people already suffering from acne or rosacea, more appropriate exfoliant would be the chemical exfoliants. These are often organic acids or enzymes that loosen up the dirt and dead cells stuck to the surface of the skin and wash them away. Some of the commonly used chemical exfoliants are the alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), glycolic acids, salicylic acids etc. Most of them are extracted from fruit sources and hence are less harmful. Depending on the condition and health of the skin, dermatologists sometimes recommend retinoic acid (Tretinoin), adapalene or tazarotene. These agents are gentle and does not require friction but are known to make the skin dry. Using a moisturizer after using these exfoliants have produced better results. However, any product that causes irritation and discomfort should at once be discontinued.T