Getting back to younger, vibrant looking skin is not the exclusive realm of surgery. The straightforward process of exfoliation, which removes dead skin cells to allow healthier skin cells to become more visible, can get you there quite nicely. While skin exfoliation is a naturally occurring process, most skin types need some help, especially after age 30 when everything gets sluggish.
Oily skin tends to saturate lifeless skin cells, which makes it difficult for them to fall off naturally. Dry skin allows dead cells to accumulate rapidly, giving skin a dry and dull look. Even sensitive skin types need some form of gentle exfoliation. Rosacea prone skin is often polluted by dead skin cells, deeply encrusted impurities that are resistant to removal by daily cleansing. Any skin that is exfoliated properly will show a dramatic decrease in visible lines and creases as healthy skin cells begin to show through. Most people fall somewhere along the oily-dry spectrum so unless you have perfectly balanced skin (which is next to impossible) some sloughing will go a long way toward revitalizing your complexion. When dead cells and impurities are removed, the skin’s coloring, texture and functioning become greatly enhanced.
Common exfoliating agents include alpha and beta hydroxy acids, retinol, as well as mechanical devices such as microdermabrasion, which is simply a sanding down of the skin that can prep the skin perfectly for additional nuturing treatments. Peels and microdermabrasion were once reserved for the domain of the dermatologist’s office, but there are now a wide variety of home kits available on the market.
At-Home Microdermabrasion Kits
For the mechanically inclined, DDF Revolve 400 Micro-Polishing System features a microdermabrasion and deep cleansing devise that rotates up to 400 rotations per minute. The soft foam head of the device features exfoliating sodium crystals, which rotate against the skin, polishing away imperfections and roughness and promoting even skintone while minimizing the appearance of pores. Reportedly, the system delivers results eight-times better than facial scrubs alone. $95, www.sephora.com.
The Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Peel System is a two step system that works to combine the benefits of microdermabrasion and a mini-peel treatment. Still it’s gentle enough to use two times a week. The system includes Microdermabrasion Treatment with Derma-Crystals and Peel Activator Serum. $26.99, www.olay.com.
Micro Pearl Abrasion Micronized French Pearl Polish with Resurfacing Applicator ($27.99) was developed by Hollywood makeup artist, JoAnna Connell as a preparatory step for applying makeup for the cast of Baywatch. It’s designed to be used for one full week, waiting five days, and then repeating the process. Benefits include reduction in the appearance of frown lines, crow’s feet and uneven skintone. $27.99, www.drugstore.com.
Derm New Facial Rejuvenation System polishes and refines with naturally mined Corundum Crystals. Suitable for normal and sensitive skin types, this system also features a device that massages the microdermabrasion cream into the skin for one to two minutes. The system can be used two to three times a week. As the system polishes and refines it diminishes wrinkles, fine lines and pores and decreases visible signs of aging and sun damage. $70, www.dermnew.com.
Discs, Peels and Scrubs
Kit aren’t the only way to exfoliate and turn over new cells. Some of our favorite at-home treatments are singular products.
Leave it to La Prairie to come up with the ultimate in luxurious sloughing. It’s Cellular Microdermabrasion Cream boasts nothing less than micronized diamonds, fresh water pearls and quartz crystals to reinvent the surface of your skin. And the luxury doesn’t stop with the exfoliants, the treatment base features a nourishing blend of natural botanicals. $255, www.laprairie.com.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel contains over 40 ingredients including five alpha and beta hydroxy acids and retinol. The peel not only diminishes the appearance of wrinkles, but it helps complexion problems, balances oil, tones skin and increases clarity and radiance. It’s a two step process that can be used daily because of its gentle approach. $78, www.sephora.com
Shiseido’s take on microdermabrasion is of the refined sort. Its Bio Performance Super Exfoliating Discs feature one textured cotton side to gently exfoliate and a silk side to softly refine and polish. The result is a two-in one microdermabrasion treatment that’s portable and easy to use. Appropriate for all skin types, the disks are formulated with a blend of yeast and rice bran to promote cell exfoliation. $65, www.shiseido.com
Colbert MD Intensify Facial Discs combine enzyme action with microdermabrasion to promote collagen production while leaving skin radiant and fresh. Depending upon how delicate your skin in, the discs can be used up to three times a week. $50, www.colbertmd.com.
Here’s an exfoliating cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin. Zo Skin Health Offects Exfoliating Cleanser gently exfoliates dry skin cells that trap bacteria while it reduces excess oil, neutralizes free radicals annd even boosts collagen production. This cleanser can be used morning and night by those with oily skin. $45, www.zoskinhealth.com.
Best selling Fresh Sugar Face Polish is almost pure enough to eat. It’s formula is enriched with brown sugar and antioxidant rich wild strawberries that work together to gently dissolve dead skin cells. The treatment, gentle enough to use daily, also nourishes and smoothes skin. $55, www.fresh.com.
A vigorous bio active peel mask, Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, removes dead skin cells to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps fight blackheads and blemishes. Because of its active ingredients, this mask is not recommended for sensitive skin. $55, www.renskincare.com.
The good news is that these programs and products also give you a big bang for the buck. Just one glycolic peel in a doctor’s office can cost more than a kit you can use for eight treatments. Although they won’t deliver the same results, they are ideal to use in-between visits to the salon or doctor to enhance your regimen and prolong the effects of professional clinical treatments.